What started as candy – think gummy bears and gummy worms – has been rebranded as healthy. There are gummy vitamins marketed to both kids and adults. They're quite tasty, which explains their recent boost in popularity. But are gummy vitamins actually doing you any good?
All vitamins are unregulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not review any dietary supplements (vitamins, herbal supplements, weight-loss aids and similar products) for safety or effectiveness. While the FDA rigorously checks medications and drugs for safety, vitamins get a free pass. That means the manufacturer is responsible for making sure their products are safe. Problems with safety and quality are common for dietary supplements, including those bought online. I recommend supplements that are United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified, which means they went through voluntary tests of purity and safety.
Check the sugar
Gummy is made of gelatin, which is tasteless. Sugar is added to make gummies taste super-sweet. Often there are 3 to 5 grams of sugar in each gummy vitamin. Children should have no more than 25 grams for their entire day. Adult women should also stay below 25 grams of sugar a day, and 37.5 grams is the limit for men. That means one little gummy can contain 20% of your daily sugar! Look for these ingredients on the label: sugar, glucose, corn syrup, sucrose or fructose.
Compared to regular multivitamins, gummy vitamins usually have fewer vitamins and minerals per serving. Nutrients are sometimes sprayed on the gummy as a thin coating. That means the amount found in each gummy can vary. No gummies are a complete multivitamin, so a balanced diet is still key.
Are they even necessary?
The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend vitamin supplements for kids. Similarly, research for adults finds no “overall benefit from taking multivitamin/mineral supplements.” Ouch. Eating nutritious foods throughout the day – rather than trying to get all your nutrients in one shot – is the best approach.
Our conclusion? If you're choosing gummy vitamins, remember they aren't a substitute for a balanced diet. Check how much sugar is included and look for supplements that are USP verified. The best thing for your body is to get your vitamins and minerals from a healthy diet filled with fruits and vegetables.