A patient of mine was offering Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins with Omega 3 Fish Oil and Vitamin D to her 5 year old and 3 year old. These supplements have Oprah’s seal of approval, as well as a supportive quote by Dr. Mark Hyman. This is confusing, since this vitamin resembles a sugar coated gumdrop.
Yes, they contain sugar; but I’ll get to that in a moment…
Are Gummy Vitamins Harming Your Kids? Reading a great post on Clean and Lean Revolution
Yesterday I was asked to review a supplement by one of my patients. She has been giving Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins with Omega 3 Fish Oil and Vitamin D to her 5 year old and 3 year old. If you look these up on Amazon, these supplements have Oprah’s seal of approval, as well as a quote by Dr. Mark Hyman, “Their delicious gummies make getting your supplements an easy, palatable and eco-friendly experience.” This is an interesting statement made about a vitamin that resembles a sugar coated gumdrop. Yes, they contain sugar; but I’ll get to that in a moment.
I like these supplements because they include fish oil and vitamin D. I like them because they have the methylated version of vitamin B 12. But that’s where it ends. These vitamins contain folic acid, instead of folate. Folate is the form that we naturally find in the foods that we eat (like dark leafy greens and foliage) and folate is the form that is utilized by the body. This vitamin also includes vitamin E in the alpha tocopherol form. Multivitamins should have a mix of the different forms of vitamin E. A clue that you are taking a good supplement is that it has ‘mixed tocopherols’ listed on the label (this means that the supplement includes a mix of the different forms of vitamin E).
What I really don’t like about this supplement is that it contains 1.25 teaspoons of sugar per dose. I realize that this sounds insignificant BUT IT ISN’T. If you offer this vitamin to your children year round, this seemingly insignificant amount of sugar adds up to 4.5 pounds of sugar in one year. If we give our children 4.5 pounds of sugar in one year from a supplement alone, can you imagine the load of sugar that can occur from all the other foods that they are eating?
Would you go to the silverware drawer, pull out two serving teaspoons and fill one with a vitamin and another with sugar and feed this to your child? Of course you wouldn’t. I know that parents are trying to do a very good thing by offering their kids a supplement. They care about their kids and they care about their health. They also want their kids to not put up a fuss about taking them and I get it. I imagine that when most people read the label of this vitamin, they assume that the added sugar is insignificant. But, it’s not. We also need to consider that, with the addition of 4.5 pounds of sugar a year, that we are really negating some of the good that can come from offering our kids a good multi-vitamin.
Smarty Pants Gummy Vitamins do come in a ‘no sugar added’ version. This version has ½ teaspoon of sugar per dose, which adds up to 2.25 pounds of added sugar annually. It also has an alternative sweetener in it called Lo Han. This is also known as Monk Fruit. This ingredient may sound natural, but during the manufacturing of Lo Han, a polyester resin is used called divinylbenzene –this compound consists of a benzene ring bonded to two vinyl groups. It is related to styrene. I don’t recommend giving this ingredient to your children every day.
Think about the connection that you are making with candy and a healthy vitamin, each and every day. This is not an idea that you want to foster.