New Sodas Boast Vitamins and Minerals, but Are They Really Healthy?

Could your favorite soda be a health drink in disguise? The makers of Coke and Pepsi say yes.

The lucrative cola wars -- consumers buy $68 billion worth of soda every year -- are spawning a brand-new, calorie-free beverage that the soda makers say are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Is this just a marketing ploy or are these drinks really a healthy choice?

Soda consumption has been dropping recently as people look for healthier options, including fortified waters and green tea beverages.

So Coke and Pepsi are getting into the game with their own version of "sparkling beverages" -- Diet Coke Plus and Pepsi's Tava.

"It's sort of I think an unusual strategy for these companies. They are trying to distinguish themselves, you know, put themselves into this health category and distance themselves from this idea that they're responsible for the poor health of the nation," said Wall Street Journal reporter Tara Parker-Pope.

Same as a Vitamin?

Soft drinks are in the crosshairs of America's war on fat, and the beverage industry is getting savvy. Coke and Pepsi are following the lead of 7 Up Plus by pumping vitamins and minerals like niacin, magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B and chromium into their drinks.

Some health experts say the benefits are minimal.

"We're only talking about 10 percent of just a few vitamins so that's not going to allow us to help us meet our daily needs in the same way we would meet our daily needs with a multivitamin," said Lisa Drayer, a dietitian and the author of "Young, Slim and 30."

Drayer does concede that they're better for you than the originals, which are loaded with calories and sugar.

Will these skinny sodas sell big? Analysts say it will all come down to taste.

"If they believe there's added value to it, or added nutrition, then that's all the better and they'll gravitate to that product. But taste is everything," said Parker-Pope.