Dad fumbles around in Mum’s bag, before waving a shiny pack in my face.
“Want one?” he asks with a grin.
My response is automatic. I stretch my palms out eagerly. He hands me not one, but three Scott’s Vitamin C pastilles and in a matter of seconds, they are down my throat and I’m ready for them to magically make me healthier and stronger.
Actually eating the equivalent oranges and grapefruit for that dose of Vitamin C? Um, no thanks. These tiny globules of sugary goodness are more than enough to keep the doctor away, right?
Well, as it turns out, not exactly.
While they are friendlier on the taste buds and eyes (especially in cute little animal form), each one contains about one to two grams of sugar. As for the actual amount of vitamins you can expect to absorb, The New York Times estimates that eight gummies are necessary for you to get the same amount you would from a proper 1000mg pill.
If that on its own doesn’t sound alarming enough, the fact that we tend to think of them as ‘good candy’ leads to potential overdoses. Anyone who has tried these can admit they’re guilty of popping a few more into our mouths simply out of boredom, or whenever we are in need of a little boost. According to Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, a New York-based dentist, “these gummies contain glucose syrup, sucrose and gelatin” – three ingredients which may possibly lead to the demineralisation of your teeth.
The saying “too much of a good thing” also rings true in this case.
Consumer Lab, which has run tests on such gummy vitamins, claims that manufacturers often add more than the listed amount, which leads to some products having a much higher concentration of these vitamins. They have also acknowledged that sometimes, these minerals and vitamins are merely sprayed on a candy base. It seems like it is hard to strike a balance when it comes to making these faux-nutritious treats…
So what can we do to nourish our bodies the way nature intended?
Well, recent studies have proven that healthy people who already subscribe to a balanced diet do not stand to gain from taking multivitamins. While it may take slightly more effort to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and incorporate them into your meals, your body will thank you for it. Multivitamins are generally safe to take as supplements, but we should probably steer clear of their gelatinous versions and stick to good old pills and tablets instead.
Gummy vitamins may never disappear completely, seeing as they made up 7.5% of the whopping $6 billion multivitamin market in the United States in 2016. However, we can try to resist the temptation to reach out for this quick fix which may not be good for us and choose to honour our bodies with a sure bet instead – by booking more sweat sessions on GuavaPass!
That rush of feel-good endorphins you get after a good workout will be sweeter than a gummy vitamin, I assure you.
Now, time to get rid of my parents’ Scotts Vitamin C stash…