In an article published this week under the title “Gummy Vitamins Are Surging in Popularity. Are They Healthy or Just Candy?” WSJ reporter Alex Janin highlighted many of the drawbacks of the gummy vitamin format.
Article harps on potential drawbacks
Those include gummies formulated with too much sugar and too little of the bioactives. Conversely, because gummies “tend to break down faster than their drier counterparts,” in Janin’s words, they can contain significant overages of ingredients. Janin seemed to imply that as a result consumers, especially children, might end up ingesting too much of a given bioactive such as melatonin.
Janin quoted Caroline Susie, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as saying, “A lot of them are glorified candy.” This another of the well-worn quotes that are repeated by dietitians and physicians when opining about supplements. It’s akin to the oft-cited claim that, because of poor absorption of nutrients in the bloodstream, most supplements do nothing beyond creating ‘expensive urine.’
Janin also said that,“gummy vitamins are more likely to have quality issues than tablets and caplets,” an assertion attributed to Dr. Tod Cooperman, who heads the testing and consumer information company ConsumerLabs.com.
CRN: Gummies provide important benefits
Andrea Wong, PhD, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, said the WSJ article didn’t address the benefits that gummies bring to the table, except in the most general, tepid terms. The relatively minor issues of sugar consumption and the slightly elevated risk of tooth decay need to be balanced against the fact that Americans fall short in a wide variety of important nutrients, which might raise the risk of much graver health issues.
“Gummies can be a helpful option for those who have difficulty swallowing pills, are looking for more innovative delivery forms, or just don’t like traditional tablets and capsules. Consumers are encouraged to carefully review labels for nutrition information to help them select the products and the serving amounts that best suit their needs. Dietary supplement labels provide clear directions for their use and purpose, including the amount that should be consumed,” she said.
“Government research shows most Americans do not get all the nutrients they need from food alone, and supplementation is a critical tool to help meet these needs. Additionally, specific nutrient requirements at different life stages, under particular health conditions, or those taking certain medications, may necessitate the use of dietary supplements. Having a wide range of delivery forms available for consumers to choose from allows more access to essential nutrients and other beneficial ingredients that are important for optimal health,” Wong added.