First there were gummy bears. Then along came gummy vitamins for kids. And now, adult versions of these chewable supplements have hit supermarket shelves.
As well as gummy multivitamins, you can find specific nutrients like vitamin C, D and calcium in gummy form. There’s no question they taste better than normal vitamins – but how do they compare nutritionally?
Because the make-up of supplements differs between companies, it’s tricky to generalize. However, if we zone in on gummy multis, they tend to come out second best. “Compared to standard multi-vitamins, which offer all you need, gummy vitamins don’t have as wide a spectrum of nutrients,” explains Kellie Bilinski, Dietitians Association of Australia spokesperson. Another big difference? Some gummy multis on the market are significantly lower in (or missing entirely) key nutrients such as zinc and calcium.
But according to experts, the main concern with gummy supplements (whether it’s a multi or specific nutrient you’re taking) is the sugar content, with many packing up to one teaspoon per serve. Then there’s the risk of forgetting it’s a supplement, not a snack, you’re chomping. “A few extra gummies now and then won’t hurt”, says pharmacist Jennifer Reinhold. “But when you start regularly consuming them in large quantities, you could essentially overdose on fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, since they can’t be flushed out through your urine like water-soluble vitamins C and the B vitamins.”
So, when is it okay to go for gummies? If you doctor or dietitian has advised you need to take a supplement to correct a deficiency, or if you’re keen to cover your nutritional bases by taking a multi, but can’t stand the though of normal pills. In these cases, gummies will ensure you’re getting your daily dose. Of course, when it comes to nutrition, there’s no substitute for a good diet, but in the real world, our fridges aren’t always heaving with kale, tofu and blueberries. So if there’s a way to help you boost your health, were all for it.