Pure Amino Vodka not impressing health experts
Zero sugar, no carbs and 100 per cent natural — it's not the way your average ready-to-drink alcohol is marketed.
Aimed at fitness fiends, Pure Amino Vodka is the latest venture from Ultimate Body Transformation personal trainer Dene Flude, but health experts are wary.
Released last week, the 5 per cent alcohol sparkling vodka drink is pitched as a healthier alternative to traditional booze.
The Auckland trainer already sells an amino-acid based ice-cream and powders aimed at athletes. Amino acids are essentially proteins that can help recovery.
Flude says he wanted something he could drink on the weekends that wasn't laden with sugar. "I love to drink and socialise. It's hard to go to the alcohol store and find something that isn't full of sugar."
He says clients also lose results because they drink sugar-laden drinks over the weekend.
Massey University public health senior lecturer Dr Andy Towers says the drink is "not necessarily anything new", given there have been alcoholic energy drinks on the market before.
However, this drink is slightly more novel because it uses taurine instead of caffeine.
But at the end of the day it is still alcohol, Towers says.
"To be honest, I would still put them in the same package. There might be slight differences in the amounts of sugar, [but] this is not a health drink.
"It's like a bullet coated in icing sugar — it's still a bullet," Towers says.
Pure Amino Vodka is sugar-free but tastes sweet, which could lead consumers to seek out other sweets, says dietician Sarah Elliot.
"This is this the reason we don't like [diet] soft drinks, because it's doing nothing to curb those sweet cravings."
Added amino acids reflect that New Zealand is "a little bit obsessed with protein", says Elliot. The amino acids in the drink are easily absorbed in a regular, balanced, diet, she says. They are found in vegetables, legumes and red meat.
Flude says he prescribes amino acids for clients who work out with him, and the water content helps stave off dehydration, and therefore hangovers.
I tried to figure out what Pure Amino Vodka tasted like — it had a similar mouth-filling sweetness to what I finally pinned down as h2go's sparkling water with raspberry.
It's slightly fizzy, somewhat light and certainly comparable to the well-loved RTD brand Long White, and I would probably drink it on a summer day. It has a slight medicinal taste, as does h2go's water, but it's not necessarily the worst thing I've tasted.
However, I'm a lager lout and I don't know if that will ever change.