Lawyers and a consumer advocacy group are suing The Coca-Cola Co, accusing the soft drinks giant of deceptive marketing on its VitaminWater drink.

VitaminWater is marketed as a healthy alternative but each bottle contains 33g of sugar, which may raise the risk of obesity and associated health problems, such as diabetes, allege the complainants.

A lawsuit has been filed in California by law groups Whatley Drake & Kallas LLC and Reese Richman LLP, in co-ordination with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the groups said today (15 January).

Patrick Sheehan, lawyer for Whatley Drake & Kallas, accused Coca-Cola of "deliberately deceiving" consumers.

"This is a ridiculous and ludicrous lawsuit," said a Coca-Cola spokesperson today, accusing the CSPI of "grandstanding" in order to gain publicity.

The lawsuit follows a warning to Coca-Cola from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December, regarding the firm's Diet Coke Plus drink, which contains added vitamins.

FDA has told Coca-Cola to change its the product's name and said that adding functional ingredients to carbonated soft drinks was "not appropriate". Coca-Cola has disputed the FDA's findings.