Vitamins are essential for the growth and development of children. That is why many parents provide their children with supplements like gummy vitamins.
For some parents of picky eaters, gummy vitamins serve as a fail-safe which provide children with the vitamins and minerals their growing bodies need but lack due to their eating habits. At the surface level, it may seem like a win-win situation for parents and their children.
But are gummy vitamins healthy for kids?
According to many health experts, the negative side effects of these supplements can outweigh their promised benefits.
For starters, gummy vitamins are loaded with sugars. The sugar in these supplements may make them palatable for children. However, the excessive amount of sugar in these vitamins can harm your child’s dental and overall health. Some of these vitamins contain as much as a teaspoon of sugar. The recommended amount of sugar for children is just six teaspoons.
And because these vitamins taste like candies, your child may be tempted to consume more than what is necessary. That is dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, your child is consuming more sugar. And second, he may be exceeding the recommended dose of vitamins which can harm his body.
Finally, gummy vitamins can cause the same damage to your child’s teeth that other sweet treats can do. Pop a few of these supplements and you’ll notice that these are chewy and sticky. When these vitamins cling to your child’s teeth, his risk of developing cavities increases.
In most instances, vitamin supplements are unnecessary for kids. However, there are a few instances wherein a child can benefit from supplements. For example, if your child is breastfed, he will need more iron and vitamin D in his diet. Or if your child is a picky eater, supplements can fill in the gaps in his diet.
If you must give your child vitamin supplements, opt for a chewable tablet instead of a gummy vitamin.
Check the label of each brand. Specifically, look at the sugar content and presence of other artificial ingredients like dye. Choose a brand with less sugar and fewer added ingredients.
Finally, remember that the best source of vitamins and minerals are food. Make sure that your child eats a well-balanced diet consisting of meats, fruits, veggies and other wholesome foods. It would also be beneficial for you to encourage your child to become more adventurous and try different types of foods beyond his favorites.
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