What’s in Those Squishy Things?
Many children have difficulty swallowing pills and capsules. Whether it’s vitamins, minerals or medications, the varied sizes and textures sometimes cause a gag reflex. As a result, many parents look for alternative forms of vitamins, so their children can still benefit from supplements or medicines. The same is true for older adults and even some parents. A few vitamin supplements and medications are available in liquid or powder form, which greatly helps with swallowing. Then there are the multivitamins in “gummy” form, like a gummy bear. These are marketed as being more fun, tastier, and easy to consume. 2016 research shows gummy vitamins account for 7.5 percent of the 6-billion-dollar multivitamin market in the United States, and are purchased for children and adults alike.
Gummy Bears in Sheep’s Clothing
What makes gummy bears so tasty and fun? They usually contain some gelatin, a little flavoring, and a whole bunch of sugar – usually high fructose corn syrup. Gummy vitamins are basically sugar, with a few vitamins thrown in. For example, you can take one ordinary tablet to get 1000 milligrams of vitamin C. To get the same amount with gummy vitamins, you’d have to eat eight of them – along with all the extra sugar they’re made with.
Not only that, but gummy vitamins by volume have a higher price. An average bottle of vitamin C costs $30 for 300 tablets. A typical bottle of gummy vitamins (with a mere 125 milligrams of vitamin C in each gummy) is about $7 for 80 tablets. The upfront cost sounds decent, right? But don’t forget, you need to consume 8 gummies each day to get the same amount of vitamin C. Thus, the $30 bottle of tablets lasts nearly 10 months, but the $7 bottle lasts only 10 days! In effect, you need to buy almost $210 of gummy vitamins to last the same 10 months!
Granted, some companies are now offering sugar-free versions of their gummy vitamins, but they still are generally packed with fillers and additives, offering very low amounts of vitamins per serving. And vitamins are the reason why people take them in the first place, not sugar!
The original idea of gummy vitamins was to get children to take their “medicine,” but a healthy diet is a much better way of giving bodies what they need. Teach kids how great fruits and veggies are for snacks – and better for their teeth, too! If they need an increase of certain vitamins in their diet, look for chewable versions or a powder to mix in their drinks or cereal. Whatever alternative you choose, make sure to read the information label so you have a better idea of how much of the various ingredients your child is receiving.
Another avenue of assistance for anxious parents is the Placerville Dental Group. We have ideas on healthy alternatives to gummy vitamins, and how to get the most out of your diet — as well as out of your teeth. Give us a call, or schedule an appointment online. We’re glad to help your maintain your teeth and gums without the gummies!