© 2011 Nancy Appleton Ph.D. & G.N. Jacobs
Children’s chewable and gummy vitamins may possibly be the worst thing for your child. We’ve been told for years that our children may need the supplements to make up for shortfalls of key nutrients in their diets. Considering how difficult it may be to convince kids to eat their greens parents believed what they were told. The problem seems to be a whole lot of sugar and other sweeteners on the label.
I have long held the position that the last thing anyone wants to do when taking nutritional supplements is to cut the vitamins and minerals with sugar. Sugar affects the precise mineral balance of the body causing the body’s systems to stop working properly. As you may remember from Lick the Sugar Habit and Suicide by Sugar, I highlighted the Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio calculated from the levels on the basic blood test as the most common indicator of a lack of homeostasis. No vitamin, mineral or medicinal herb will ever work for you when you take it with sugar.
As a result, sugar and similar sweeteners have been linked to obesity, diabetes, asthma, diarrhea and many other ailments. So let’s take a look at a random sampling of a few children’s vitamin labels. A few of these ‘healthy’ supplements are eye opening in terms of how much sweetener has been jammed into those tiny chewables. Just so you know, many food and supplement producers will use the legal requirement for a label to list in descending order of quantity using up to four different types of sweetener to create a label that might read like this (Primary Food or Nutritional Item, Sucrose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Maltose, Lactose, Dextrose…) when the real truth in the label is (SUGAR, Primary Food Item…). The first label is thought to sell the product better, because no one says they want to eat that much sugar.
Disney Princess Gummies – The key offenders on this Nutrition Facts Label are many – corn syrup, sugar, grape juice concentrate, modified corn starch, purple berry color concentrate (maqui berry concentrate and sugar), maltodextrin and farther down the list, mannitol. Just so you know, the manufacturer that paid for Disney’s brand likenesses had to pay $2 million to the Federal Trade Commission for false claims of promoting healthy brain and eye development.
Flintstones Complete Gummies – Perhaps these vitamins are less horrible for your children; glucose syrup and glucose being the only recognizable sweeteners found on this particular label. But, any sugar in the mix is the problem.
Gummi King Sugar Free Multivitamins – A vegan friendly line that lists at the top of the label maltitol and maltitol syrup. PETA supports this brand with an endorsement as being animal friendly.
Centrum has possibly the worst offender with their Centrum Kids Complete Multivitamins. This label list has sucrose (sugar), microcrystalline cellulose, mannitol, pregelatinized cornstarch, mono- and di-glycerides, aspartame, cornstarch, dextrose, dried corn syrup, hypromellose, lactose, maltodextrin, medium chain triglycerides, modified cornstarch and tocopherols. Additionally on this label you will find a few chemicals not from the sugar and other sweetener family that also kill you eventually, including sodium benzoate and propylene glycol alginate.
Sodium benzoate is a preservative found in soda that can turn into benzine, a highly flammable carcinogen. Bon appetite! Propylene Glycol Alginate is anti-freeze, typically a sweet tasting, but lethal kissing cousin to alcohol that requires medical attention within minutes. Sometimes HFCS is made from corn with chemicals like glutaraldehyde, an embalming fluid, linked to headaches, burning eyes and asthma. Mercury is also used in the production process and one estimate puts the mercury contamination of HFCS at somewhere between one half and one third of all the produced sweetener.
Lastly, I wanted to remind the reader that sugar alcohols like mannitol and maltitol are sweeteners somewhere between sugars and alcohol that won’t get you drunk, but can still affect your health in many ways including gas, bloating and diarrhea. So before you deal with the recent possibility that the vitamin supplements themselves may be harmful or at least not as beneficial as advertised, we have to get the sugar out of the supplements. Don’t give your kids those Flintstones!