Should I switch to soda with vitamins?  My coworkers have started drinking that new cola with extra nutrients, raving that it’s healthier than regular soda.  I’m a cola drinker too, so I’m wondering if these health perks are legit.

Unfortunately, getting critical nutrients isn’t as simple as swigging a fortified soda.  The reason: The acidity in carbonated beverages begins breaking down those vitamins and minerals (including zinc, magnesium, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C) within 24 hours of manufacture.  And when the beverage isn’t refrigerated—as on supermarket shelves—these added nutrients break down at an even faster rate.  By the time consumers drink the soda, the nutrition values listed on the container (which are required to be accurate only at the time of manufacture) can be off base.  That said, it’s fine to enjoy this beverage for what it is: a refreshing soda that may (or may not) deliver a minor health bonus.

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