Gummy vitamins, those colorful, candy-like chewable supplements, are soaring in popularity and not just among children.
While gummy vitamins were originally marketed to kids, adults are now their primary consumers. In fact, you can find gummies that are marketed containing multivitamins, vitamin D, probiotics, immune support nutrients, collagen and fish oil to name a few.
While gummy vitamins are used to support health and wellness, are gummy supplements actually healthy?
Gummy vitamins are typically made from gelatin, corn starch, sugar, water and natural and artificial colors and flavors. Gummies labeled as vegan, containing no animal products, may contain carnauba wax, pectin and agar instead of gelatin.
Gummy vitamins are a soaring $6 billion industry, expected to grow by 50 percent over the next five years. With about 30 percent of the population reporting difficulty swallowing pills, gummy vitamins offer an alternative to hard-to-swallow tablets. While some vitamin supplements are available in powder, non-gummy chewable and liquid form, gummies are often favored for their taste and texture. In addition, gummy vitamins tend to be easier to digest, causing less nausea and upset stomach, compared to traditional multivitamin tablets.
While gummy supplements may be easier to consume and more palatable, there are some downsides to gummy vitamins.
Here are some important considerations when choosing gummy supplements:
Gummy vitamins often contain added sugars.
Gummies can contain half a teaspoon to two teaspoons of added sugar (2 to 8 grams) per serving. While this might not seem like a lot of sugar, gummies can contribute to overall excessive sugar intake, especially when one or more gummies are consumed daily. When choosing gummy supplements, read the supplement facts label for added sugars and choose accordingly.
Taking excess doses of gummies may pose a health risk.
While gummy supplements are touted for better taste, this can come with unintended consequences if consumed in excess by either children or adults. Overconsumption of gummy supplements can increase one’s risk of mineral and vitamin overdose, especially fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which can be stored in the body and lead to toxicity. It is important to follow the recommended dosage of supplements, particularly gummies.
Compared to conventional supplements, gummies can fall short nutritionally.
Gummy vitamins often contain fewer nutrients than conventional vitamins. Gummy vitamins have a shorter shelf life compared to other supplements, resulting in less potency over time. Also, gummies often contain fewer nutrients and lower doses of these nutrients. This means that gummy supplements, which may cost just as much or more than regular supplements, likely offer less nutritional value.
Ultimately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review and approve dietary supplements before they enter the market. As with conventional supplements, look for gummy supplements that have been third party tested.
Ideally, get as much of your nutrition as possible from food. When choosing a gummy vitamin, opt for products with less added sugar and stick to the recommended dosage.
LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations. She can be reached by email at [email protected].
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