Nearly 70 percent of children’s multivitamins come in gummy form. While this may make them appealing to kids, that may not be a good thing as hundreds of parents rush to the emergency room each year with children who ate the whole bottle.
We have been asked many times over the years why we don’t make our children’s vitamins in a gummy form because “kids don’t like ours.” First of all, just like all of our products, we hold our children’s supplements to very high standards (which gummies cannot meet), and second, they really shouldn’t be seen as candy or a treat. Give them with a meal, don’t make them a treat or a chore.
Very few people truly understand how difficult it is to make a children’s chewable vitamin that is complete, palatable, low in sugar, and without any artificial sweeteners or flavors. There are many companies that provide products with some of these characteristics, but very, very few have the whole package.
The easiest way to make them taste better is by adding more sugar or artificial flavors and sweeteners. In order to satisfy our own philosophy and that of most of our customers, we do not use artificial sweeteners or flavors. And, we keep the sugar content to an absolute minimum at about 0.75 grams per tablet.
What makes this most difficult, and what sets us apart from the vast majority of other children’s vitamins, is that we add higher amounts of magnesium, calcium and other minerals. And, we provide trace minerals like selenium, manganese, copper, chromium, and molybdenum that aren’t found in most competitors. If they are important for adults, why wouldn’t they be important for children?
Here is something you probably won’t hear anywhere else. But, the primary reason most children’s chewable have lower and less complete mineral dosages is because they taste NASTY. Covering the flavor without adding tons of sugar or artificial ingredients takes some talented food scientists.
I distinctly remember sitting around a table in the lab many years ago before a reformulation. In front of us were little plates of mineral raw materials that we each had to taste. The purpose was to determine which of the minerals was resulting in the bad flavor we were attempting to overcome. I can tell you from experience that it is a minor miracle the Usanimals taste as good as they do with the level of minerals and the restricted flavors and sweeteners we use.
Gummies, on the other hand, typically contain 2 or more grams of sugar per gummy. And, even if they are providing natural flavoring, they are never as complete in nutrients, especially minerals, as the Usanimals. The next time you are at the store, or looking online, compare the label of the Usanimals to different brands of gummy vitamins and you’ll see what I mean.
We’ve always said food first to get your recommended daily dose of vitamins, but the reality is that most diets are deficient in many areas. And, in many ways, nutrition is even more crucial in children that are actively growing and developing.
Yes, we could make the Usanimals taste better, put them in a different form, or simply leave out the nasty tasting nutrients. But then, who would we be? Everybody else.
About the USANA Usanimals: http://bit.ly/ChildrensBestNutrition
About the Author:
Russ Barton earned his MS in Nutritional Science from Brigham Young University in 1993 where his research emphasis was analysis of individuals who successfully maintain a significant weight loss. He has a BS degree in Zoology with a minor in chemistry also from Brigham Young University (1988).