Three years ago, when the vitamin industry shifted to chewables, adults kicked their tasteless vitamins goodbye and settled for the delicious taste of gummies or gummy vitamins. Many people have replaced the natural vitamin C and D they get from fruits and veggies with these easy to swallow multivitamins.
Multivitamin pills have taken a bit of a back seat as gummies now account for $1 billion out of the $41 billion supplement market in the United States, which is more than 25 percent increase from 2015, according to IBISWorld, a research company. But, are these gelatin-based, fruit-flavored gummies better than regular supplement pills? Well, the answer isn’t as clear cut as you’d imagine.
The growing popularity of gummy vitamins has shifted from a 5-year olds daily supplement. Adults now make up to 80% of the gummy vitamin market. The shift is, in part, a result of pill fatigue. Adults, 45 and older, who rely on several supplements a daily find gummies easier to chug down than the regular supplement pills.
Gummies do an excellent job at masking the acrid taste of regular supplement pills, thanks to the amount of sugar pumped into them. Most doctors believe that depending on nutrients in sugary form is a bit worrisome. Most gummies for adults and kids contain at least one or more grams of sugar per gummy. This is similar to candies like Sour Patch Kid, that has 1.8 grams of sugar.
Packet recommendation for most gummies advises users to take two or three a day to get the full benefit of the nutrients—this means unnecessary sugar intake. This is quite like taking Halloween candy every day for a year. With childhood and adult obesity on the rise, nutrients must be organic and unprocessed, not sugary candy.
Kim Larson, a registered dietitian, told the New York Times that most people might be tempted to eat gummies like regular candy and "end up overdosing on vitamins” particularly on gummies that are fat soluble, this can lead to a bunch of problems if taken for a prolonged time.
In a study by ConsumerLab.com, a supplement-testing company, results found that gummies were manufactured with lower quality than with multivitamin pills, gelcaps, and tablets.
Across five brands of gummies sold in the United States and Canada, four of the five gummies contained too much folate, or vitamin A. ConsumerLab.com found that these ingredients were far more than what was listed on the label and that the folate levels in some brands exceeded the safe daily limit established by the Institute of Medicine.
Because gummies are difficult to produce, most companies spray the nutrients on. Extra amounts of vitamins are then added again due to the degradable nature of vitamins.
Essential Nutrients Missing
One of the prices to pay for their sweetness, is that most gummies do not contain all the essential vitamins most supplement pills have.
According to the Institute of Medicine, we need 13 vitamins and 12 minerals from our diet, fortified foods, or dietary supplements. Multivitamins are sort of an insurance policy to make sure we’re getting all the right vitamins in.
Vice.com examined 37 brands of gummies and found that Centrum MultiGummies for Adults does not have about 10 of these vitamins and minerals. NatureMade Multi Adult Gummies and vitafusion Multivites lack 9 of them.
Smarty Pants Adult Complete doesn’t have vitamins B-1, B-3, and K, as well as the minerals iron, magnesium, copper, selenium, and chromium. In their study, Vice.com found that none of the 37 gummy brands was a good substitute for a regular multivitamin tablet like Centrum, One-A-Day, or similar brands.
Lisa Drayer, a nutritionist, and author of The Beauty Diet, told Teen Vogue that "If you have a balanced diet, I generally don't recommend multivitamins as a get-better-quick tactic—or even as part of your daily routine.” According to Drayer, gummy supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and usually contain fewer amounts of vitamins, unlike chewables or tablets.
Christy Maskeroni, a Miami-based nutritionist, stated that “This basically means that a company can claim that the product carries x,y,z vitamin, and mineral but there is nobody testing the product before it goes on the shelf.”
With the addition of sugars, colorings, and other filler compounds in gummies, manufacturers find it difficult to add the necessary vitamins and minerals.
So, Vitamin Gummies or Pills?
Gummy vitamins are great for people who have a nutrient deficiency, absorption issues, or increased nutrient needs.
Also, picky eaters and kids who find it difficult to consume the right amount of nutrients would find gummies as a better and safer alternative. However, eating too much can lead to vitamin or mineral toxicities.
According to Jonathan B. Levine, New-York-based dentist, the syrup, sucrose, and gelatin in gummies can stick to your teeth, which can be lead to the demineralization of those pearly whites."That's three grams of refined sugar or carbs, the enemy not just of your teeth but your body too.
If you must take them, make sure you're brushing and flossing properly immediately after," Levine said. Unlike pill supplements, gummies are not strictly regulated, so with that in mind, choose low sugar brands that have with third-party certification from such groups as NSF International,
Unlike pill supplements, gummies are not strictly regulated, so with that in mind, choose low sugar brands that have with third-party certification from such groups as NSF International, United States Pharmacopeia (USP), Informed-Choice, ConsumerLab.com, or the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG).
And if you can swallow the pill supplement, stick to them because they are the better and safer alternative.