Gummies: They’re hot, hot, HOT. Killeen’s feeling skeptical about the trend, while Abigail’s on board. Do gummies have a rightful place in your vitamin cabinet? Join the debate and see if you’re swayed. Special Guest, Erin Stokes provides her insights as an ND, and Killeen shares a story to prove just how real the gummy craze has become.
[00:00] [background music]
Announcer: [00:00] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
[00:07] Welcome to Episode 14 of "That Supplement Show." Today, Abigail and Killeen are here to talk about gummies. MegaFood happens to have recently released their first line of gummy vitamins, but this episode is hardly a commercial. Instead, it's a debate
[00:19] Killeen stands as an unwavering supporter of team tablet, while Abigail tries to woo her over to team gummy. Find out why Abby thinks gummies deserve to be as popular as they are, and hear from our resident naturopathic doctor on the matter.
[00:32] Oh, and let's not forget about the seven‑day gummy cleanse. Is that for real? Killeen has the details. Stick around as we chew on the topic of gummies as a delivery method for supplemental nutrition.
[00:42] [record scratch]
Killeen: [00:42] Hi, Abigail. What's new?
Abigail: [00:44] Hey, Killeen. Things are good. Actually, especially good at this moment, because I'm about to enjoy my little afternoon pick‑me‑up.
Killeen: [00:50] What do you mean? I know you're not a coffee drinker.
Abigail: [00:53] I am not, but I am a gummy taker.
Killeen: [00:55] That really surprises me. I guess then again, this you talked about those fried Oreos in episode three, I learned that even a kale lover like yourself does have a sweet tooth. I think when I see uber healthy eaters like you, I completely forget that.
Abigail: [01:10] Today, I have made it my goal to convince you, Killeen, that gummies are not synonymous with the dark side, and that they can actually be good for you. I think it comes down to quality, as well as the fact that there is, believe it or not, a need for the actual gummy format.
Killeen: [01:24] It does feel like chewable form vitamins have been around forever. I guess that's because for me, as a child of the '80s, they have been. They hit the scene in the '60s, and they were first called chalks, before taking the shape.
[01:37] Therefore, the namesake of everyone's favorite Stone Age family near the end of the decade. Chalks make sense, because they're kind of chalky, right? They're more crunchy than chewy. They were never that appetizing to me.
[01:49] Anyhow, I guess that's why in the late '90s, that's when we saw the first official gummy form vitamin. This was also for kids. I'm guessing it was much more palatable. The brand is still around today, but it's only been in the last decade that adult gummy vitamins have come onto the scene.
[02:07] I should say that "come on" is an understatement. We're really in the midst of midst of a gummy explosion here. In fact, at the end of this episode, I'm actually going to share a little story about how even a juicery turned to the biteable bear as a delivery format for a new cleanse.
[02:24] A cleanse, seriously. Can you believe that?
Abigail: [02:26] That's actually really crazy, and I can't wait to hear about it. I'm very intrigued by them. I want to know more. [laughs] You also made up a good point. It brings us to a really good distinction. It's about today's discussion, whether it centers on kids' gummies or adult gummies.
[02:40] Kids' have been around for a long time. As you mentioned, it's really the last decade that we've seen adult gummies explode on the scene. We are going to focus today on gummies that are designed for adults, because gummies really do make us think of kid vitamins.
[02:56] That's, like you said, why we have them in the first place. There was really a need for a desirable, really easy to ingest option for kids.
Killeen: [03:03] Because it's hard to get kids to take their vitamins. I get that.
Abigail: [03:06] Then as that trend of adult gummies proves, us big kids want an easier and tastier way to take our vitamins, too. I've got a statistic for you. 40 percent of American adults have trouble swallowing pills. That's approximately 100 million people.
Killeen: [03:22] When you put it like that, I can see why the craze is real. Call me a purist, but I just don't think those 100 million people had a good coach when it came to learning how to swallow tablets. My kids were gummy consumers as preschoolers when they were very little.
[03:37] I found that naturalish gummy, the best one I could find. I'd be lying if I said I didn't sneak one myself here or there, because they were absolutely delicious. I can still remember exactly what they taste like. I was really determined to get that extra little bit of sugar out of my girls' diet.
[03:55] By five years old, they were swallowing tablets just like me. I'll admit, it took a lot of practice. It took a lot of special tactics, and a lot of bribery, too. I have a whole method developed, and maybe we should talk about that some other time.
[04:10] Anyhow, I recognize that especially for a child, the act of swallowing anything with mass is completely counterintuitive. We're always saying, "Chew your food," or, "Don't swallow that." They go to put some little hard object in their mouth, and we freak out.
[04:23] It doesn't make sense when it's suddenly like, "Here, take this hard, little thing and swallow." That seems like something that's just not instinctual. If kids have trouble with that, it doesn't surprise me that some people struggle, and probably have always struggled with that sensation of trying to get something down your throat.
[04:43] I think it's a good skill to have, and I do think it can be mastered. Not everybody's going to put in that time or effort. Now, for me, the benefit is not only a little less sugar, but that without any kid gummies in the house, I am not tempted to eat all of them.
Abigail: [05:00] I hear you. That's why I think we should talk about another reason some folks turn to gummies. That is this notion called pill fatigue. This was like a light bulb going off moment for me, because I've had this feeling before, but didn't quite know how to articulate it.
[05:17] Pill fatigue is those days that you can't imagine taking any more of your supplements. It's a byproduct of taking a daily number of medications, supplements for this long period of time. After a while, the stress, the monotony of that turns to this hard‑to‑place feeling of pill fatigue.
[05:34] I tongue in cheek say the phrase like, "I can't even," when it comes to this. There's days I look at my pill case. I know it's going to take me, like, four seconds to take my morning vitamins. I know they're great for me, I love the products, but I just can't even.
[05:48] I can't do it. I don't want them that day. At that point, when you've got pill fatigue, the idea of swapping out maybe my daily D3 at that point, with a little pick‑me‑up treat, that really sounds delightful.
Killeen: [05:59] Like this afternoon pick‑me‑up you're referring to right now?
Abigail: [06:02] Mm‑hmm. The one I'm having right now is a ginger B12 gummy.
Killeen: [06:06] Oh, the inside of my mouth just prickled a little bit when you said that.
Abigail: [06:09] You know, you're more than welcome to try one, Killeen.
Killeen: [06:11] You are tempting me. I get the pill fatigue. That's something I hadn't considered. Honestly, my girls are only taking, they take a tablet and a capsule each day. They're not at that point yet. I take a few more. I space them out.
[06:25] I could see how if, let's say, I felt like I had to add another, I might start to get a little tired of that same, just the chore of taking a tablet. It's not really something that we look forward to. It's just something that we do.
[06:39] I'm feeling very tempted, but I'm not going to promise that I will try one just yet. I'd first like to bring on our friend, naturopathic Dr. Erin Stokes, into our little debate. I'd like to hear what she thinks, and especially in regards to potencies between the nutrients in, let's say, our tablet and the nutrients in a gummy.
Abigail: [06:58] Let's call her up.
[06:59] [phone rings]
[06:59] Dr. Erin Stokes: Hello, this is Erin Stokes.
Abigail: [07:05] Hi, Erin. It's your friends Abigail and Killeen, over from That Supplement Show. How are you today?
[07:09] Dr. Stokes: Good. I'm so glad you called. I'm looking forward to talking with you.
Abigail: [07:13] Awesome. We're having a bit of a debate today. I'm trying to convince Killeen that not all gummies are evil. We're hoping you might be able to weigh in on the situation with us.
Killeen: [07:24] Evil's a strong word, Abigail.
Killeen: [07:27] I'm a little skeptical. I thought, who better than you, Erin, to come into the conversation to either support Abigail, or maybe be on the skeptic side with me? What do you say?
[07:43] Dr. Stokes: I'd love to talk with you about this. I have to say that I was definitely initially on the skeptic side when it came to gummies. Being a naturopathic doctor, really focus on food first. Then understand that supplements are there to help the gaps in the diet.
[08:02] Acknowledge the important role that supplements have, but I wasn't a true believer on gummies. I just felt like they were probably unnecessary, that they made supplements seem like candy. I have to tell you, Killeen and Abby, my position has shifted over the years.
Abigail: [08:22] Interesting. Can you tell us how?
[08:23] Dr. Stokes: I think I realize that there's the ideal, perfect world. A lot of us are trying to do our best, eat our best, and supplement where necessary. I just realized that for some people, you needed a little more incentive to supplement those gaps in the diet.
[08:42] We know that there are real gaps. There's real nutrient deficiencies that are happening in our country. Again, food first, but I'm also here to help dispel the myth that we can get everything we need from nutrition.
[08:56] First of all, as talked about earlier, nobody's perfect. Secondly, there is real data that shows soil degradation, and that fruits and vegetable, as amazing as they are, and still a top choice, they're not as nutritious as, say, in our grandparents' era.
[09:13] There's all kinds of evidence, including nutrient deficiency facts around nutrients such at vitamin C, B12, and vitamin D, where millions of Americans are not getting enough of these key, important vitamins.
[09:27] It's like, well, what do we do? If there's people that can't or won't take supplements, sometimes, we have to make it a little easier for people to do the right thing.
Abigail: [09:35] That's a good distinction, Erin. One of the things that Killeen and I were just talking about is the fact that an estimated 40 percent of US adults have difficulty swallowing pills. We have real gaps in the diet, but for those individuals ‑‑ and that's about 100 million people ‑‑ traditional supplements, tablets, may not be a viable option to fill in those gaps.
[09:56] What are those people to do? That's where I think gummies can really foot the bill.
Killeen: [09:59] I have a question there, too. When it comes to these nutrient gaps that we have, and the fact that this is a very real problem, a gummy's just not the first thing that comes to mind for me. When looking for a gummy, what kind of nutrient potencies can you expect to see?
[10:15] Can you expect to find a gummy that actually has the same amount that there might be in a tableted form? Are they going to less? What's the case there?
[10:23] Dr. Stokes: That's a good question, Killeen. I think it depends on the gummy. It is possible to get fairly meaningful potencies in a gummy. For many people, Abby, you talked about 40 percent of people have a difficult time swallowing tablets.
[10:41] Then there's a whole additional group of people that maybe can swallow tablets just fine, but they also run into pill fatigue. They may, say, take their daily multivitamin, and that's really covering their bases, but they might want to supplement more of a certain nutrient, whether that's vitamin B12 or vitamin D.
[11:00] A gummy can be a great way to do something like that. Especially, all gummies are not created equal. I think that's an important point to note. I think gummies have evolved, like many things have over time. They've gotten better.
[11:18] At first, I put them all in this category that was like, it's not really serious. It's not serious supplementation. Not to mention, it's a lot of added, extra sugar, when really, most Americans need to be looking at reducing sugar in their diet.
[11:35] Then when you take a closer look, there are better gummies out there that aren't that high in sugar. For some people, a gummy is a great way to actually ensure that they're going to do it every day, that they're going to take it every day, they're going to be compliant.
[11:50] A long‑winded answer, Killeen, but I think it depends on the gummy, and it depends on what you're utilizing it for.
Killeen: [11:58] That makes a lot of sense. What do you think that people should be looking for in a gummy, beyond what we just...?
[12:06] Dr. Stokes: Definitely low sugar, as low in sugar as possible. Anything as close to natural. I was just reading an article about, what does natural even mean? It's lost its meaning. I think when I'm talking about natural here, I'm talking about more natural ingredients, such as natural sugars, low in sugar.
[12:28] I prefer pectin, if possible, as opposed to gelatin. You're going to need something in there to help create that gummy. Not having a lot of artificial colors or flavorings. Just like with anything else, you want to leave out those artificial colors, flavors, sugars.
[12:49] Then free of allergens. We want to make sure that the gummy doesn't have a common allergen, such as gluten, dairy, or soy in it. There are ways for gummies to be a choice that works for people. That's what I think it's all about.
Killeen: [13:07] Thanks, Erin. That's a really good list of what to look for in a gummy, specifically on what gummies maybe should not contain, or what we might not want them to contain. Now, how about more about what the gummy is? What do we actually want?
[13:23] Looking over here at Abigail's MegaFood gummy, we don't want to talk too much about MegaFood's new gummies today. Obviously, that is indirectly why we're here. What are they all about?
[13:37] Dr. Stokes: What I love about our MegaFood gummies is they check the boxes for all of that list of what they don't have. They are lower in sugar. They have natural sugars in them. Most importantly, they're addressing some of these nutrient gaps by having B12, D, vitamin C.
[13:55] Then they have a featured farm fresh partner for each one. This is really exciting, particularly for the gummy line, Killeen and Abby, because the farm fresh partner is able to come through the gummy in a whole different way than it can in a tablet.
[14:13] We see it a little bit more in our powders, where you can really smell and see the farm fresh foods. Let me tell you that gummies are exciting. For example, that B12 ginger, with that delicious Kauai organic ginger that comes to us from Hawaii, you can really taste it. I feel like it's created a bridge to our farm partnerships.
Killeen: [14:35] Erin, you're making me really hungry right now. If I wasn't tempted before by Abby, I'm certainly tempted now. [laughs] I think that that helps clear up what to look for in a gummy, if one is going to go the gummy route.
[14:49] Which is exactly why we called you, and I really appreciate that. For anybody listening who wants a little more info on those MegaFood gummies, just visit megafood.com/podcast. Look for this episode on gummies, and we'll make sure there's a link in the show notes.
Abigail: [15:02] Talk to you soon, Erin.
[15:03] Dr. Stokes: All right. You have a great day. Talk soon.
Killeen: [15:05] Thanks, Erin.
[15:05] Dr. Stokes: Bye.
Killeen: [15:07] Bye.
Abigail: [15:07] I'm always glad we consult Erin. I think speaking of consulting a naturopath, I wanted to note that those handfuls of supplements that I very dramatically mentioned that I take earlier are taken under the recommendation of my naturopath.
[15:19] Even with things like a gummy, it is important to make sure you're not getting too much of a good thing.
Killeen: [15:24] I'm glad that you mentioned that, because I was imagining you with your handfuls of supplements. That takes a little bit of guidance.
Abigail: [15:30] I have a penchant for drama.
Abigail: [15:33] Erin did share some really tips on what to look for in a gummy, and how, for those with difficulty swallowing tablets, they really can provide an alternative that ensures they're helping fill their nutrient gaps.
Killeen: [15:43] I really appreciate that perspective. It got me thinking about when a gummy might actually be appropriate in my life. I don't struggle with swallowing tablets. My routine is down to a science, but you worked with me in the office for a few years. You know about how I like a little afternoon snack break myself.
Abigail: [16:01] I do know it well. It's especially because you always had the most enviable smoothies every day.
Killeen: [16:06] Sometimes, they actually were probably a little sad. I put a lot of kale in there, and at least they looked bright, green, and pretty. On a good day, I'd also have some nut butter in there for protein, and some fresh fruits, all kinds of good stuff.
[16:19] In the past, I've always enjoyed adding MegaFood's daily nutrient booster powder, the daily energy specifically, which has beet root and B12. It's this alternative format of a supplement right there, powder into your smoothie.
[16:35] I'm starting to connect the dots here with why gummies are an important piece of the puzzle. Now, with my new son at home, I'm working with my home office. Because I can't do coffee that late in the day, because I'm looking for something around two or three o'clock, I'm stuck.
[16:53] I can't run my blender. The little guy is napping, and that just wouldn't be good. It's the convenience factor. I need some convenient way to get that little energy burst to power me through the rest of the day.
[17:09] I'm thinking a serving of that B12 ginger gummy could be a really sweet treat to enjoy alongside my smoothie, or on those days when I can't make a smoothie, just all on its own, with maybe a piece of fresh fruit.
[17:20] It provides energy support, and then it satisfies that desire for a tiny bit of sweetness, which I do always have.
Abigail: [17:27] See? There you go. I think that's the great example of why that concept of adult gummies really appeals to so many of us. You brought up those infamous fried Oreos earlier in the conversation.
Killeen: [17:37] You're so right about infamous, right? I think we use those as an example all the time. Love it.
Abigail: [17:44] They are delicious. [laughs] I think it was in that same episode where we were talking about our relationship with food. We used words like cheat day and guilty pleasure to describe foods that maybe don't nourish our bodies, but they do nourish our souls.
[17:59] I don't want to pontificate about gummies too much, but I like to think they're a fun way to do both. They feel like a treat, because they are, but they do also support your health.
Killeen: [18:08] Good word, pontificate. I want to take a moment here to say something, too. I always position myself as being pretty green, conscious, healthy, and all that good stuff, but I have ice cream cone every single night.
Killeen: [18:24] It's just really important to say that, because I am a real person. I love Instagram, and I see really powerful looking people. It's like, man, they are powered by plants. Yes, they are. Maybe they have less ice cream than me. I don't know.
[18:45] The point is, we see people, and we sometimes assume that they are perfect all the time. We've had this conversation, too, of better, not perfect, is a really great attitude to adopt. Yeah, I have sugar. It is OK, and I'm OK with it.
[19:01] Some people can't. That's a different story. I can handle a little bit, and I relish it. I think this gummy thing, like I'm warming up to it. [laughs]
Abigail: [19:11] I appreciate the confession, Killeen. It will stay in this safe space.
Abigail: [19:17] No one else will know.
Killeen: [19:19] Next to fried Oreos, I feel like I'm eating an apple or something. I think it's a good time to roll the track of today's sponsor message. Stick around, listeners, because after this under‑a‑minute message, I'm going to tell you the story I promised earlier on this cleanse offered by a green juicery turned gummery? Strange.
[19:40] I'll give you my final thoughts on gummies, too. Here's that word.
[19:43] [background music]
Announcer: [19:44] Today's episode is brought to by, um, MegaFood's new gummies, of course. There's an art to making gummy vitamins, and we appreciate the craft. As you learned today, MegaFood gummies are made with real food, sourced from family farm partners, and added vitamins to deliver a range of healthy, promoting compounds.
[20:00] They contain no high fructose corn syrup, gelatin, added flavors, colors, or preservatives of any kind. Farm fresh foods give these gummy vitamins a distinct real food flavor and natural color. Go ahead, taste the difference.
Killeen: [20:11] This story doesn't actually start with the juicery I mentioned. I actually starts with a candy company called Sugarfina, that specializes in gummies and chocolates, hard candies, stuff like that. The company claims to be born from a love story. So sweet.
[20:27] On their third date, the then‑future founders of Sugarfina watched "Willy Wonka" together. Much like you expressed earlier, Abigail, they thought, "Why should kids have all the fun? Why do kids get the good stuff? What about the adults?"
[20:41] They set out to find the best candy makers in the world, and wanted to source the most exotic treats they could find. I couldn't find how long this company's been around, but I think it's fairly new. A few years ago ‑‑ I'm guessing is what put them on the map ‑‑ one of their candies was called the Rosé All Day gummy.
[20:58] Maybe some of our listeners have heard of it, because those gummies sold out in two hours, crashed their website, and the wait list to get these boozy little bears grew to over 18,000 people. That's a crazy wait list.
[21:14] Just as a side note, they don't actually give you a buzz, because the alcohol is burned off in the candy making process. Just wanted to mentioned. They were still that popular, even so. I read that they were every bit as refreshing as a glass of rosé wine.
Abigail: [21:28] I will confess to having had tried those gummies. [laughs] I wasn't flocking within the two hours they came out, because I heard about them through the grapevine. I have tried them. I'm scrolling their website now as you were talking.
[21:40] I'm seeing tequila gummies, bourbon bears, and pale ale pint gummies shaped like actual pints of beer. The selection that they have is insane. Then this must be what you were talking about, the green juice gummies. They're really a thing.
Killeen: [21:55] They are really a thing. I'm going to quote the story from Forbes Magazine on how those green juice gummies came to be. This is what they said.
"[22:05] The idea for green juice gummy bears surfaced last spring as an April Fool's prank that the Internet refused to believe was just a joke on our current trend‑obsessed food economy." Isn't that the truth? "Sugarfina fielded an unprecedented amount of calls from potential customers wanting to actually purchase green juice‑infused candies, and the idea started to become a reality."
[22:27] Paraphrasing here, it was an April Fool's joke. Just like, "Haha, gummy cleanse." People were like, "Yeah, that sounds great." [laughs] Sugarfina continues on to say, "We loved the idea of gummy bears inspired by the juice trend, but we had no idea it would be so in demand."
[22:43] They called up their LA neighbor, Pressed Juicery, and they had a ton of fun collaborating with them on the recipe. Now, you can get a seven‑day cleanse ‑‑ this is tongue in cheek, of course ‑‑ packaged in seven little shot style bottles filled with green juice gummies.
[22:58] There's actually a bit of A and C in these, but they're still positioned as candy, not as vitamins, which is important to know.
Abigail: [23:04] All the same, I still might just have to try them.
Killeen: [23:06] I know what to get you for your birthday now.
Abigail: [23:09] Back to the topic of this podcast, Killeen. What is your gummy verdict? Willing to come over and play on team gummy every once in a while?
Killeen: [23:17] I can't believe I'm saying so, but yes. I think you convinced me that gummies are not all bad. I will potentially enjoy the occasional gummy from time to time. Here are the takeaways that I have from our conversation.
[23:31] For one, gummies aren't meant to replace anything. They're like a little bonus. Tablet takers can keep on keeping on, but just maybe enjoy a little supplement nutrition in gummy format every so often, if you desire. If you're someone who can't or won't swallow pills, then it's really nice to have options.
[23:49] Two, speaking of options, the market today caters to our innate yearning for options. We want options, so the market delivers. For those of us who've shied away from the gummy format, because we don't want artificial colors, flavors, or a boatload of sugar, it's possible now to seek a better gummy. A better gummy, you shall find.
[24:11] There are so many to choose from, and there are some that are definitely doing it right, so to speak. First, I'd say make sure your gummy is made by a company that you trust. Then second, read the label. You can believe what's on the label, because you trust them. Then just make sure that there are considerations.
[24:29] Like for me, being vegetarian, I want to make sure my gummy doesn't have gelatin. Pectin's a great option. Then enjoy the recommended serving size. Don't eat the whole jar at once. That's maybe what candy is for, and maybe not. [laughs]
Abigail: [24:43] Resist the urge.
Killeen: [24:45] My last takeaway, that I just have to say, is that MegaFood's new gummies are just so MegaFood. Of course, you can see those little flecks of real food in there. It's just, if we were going to make a gummy, this is the gummy that we were going to make.
[24:59] Of course, the flavors are bold, unique, and memorable, just like MegaFood is. I love the packaging, too. It's so different, and yet it's still reminiscent of everything the company has always been. Pretty great. I am pretty sold on that vitamin.
Abigail: [25:14] I knew you'd warm up to the idea. I chuckled, too, because after hearing that green juice gummy store, I think there's a greens gummy in the works for MegaFood's next gummy launch.
Killeen: [25:25] Which makes me think you better keep those away from your kale‑eating cat.
Abigail: [25:29] Oh, my gosh. No kidding. We can also add sweet potatoes and red peppers to that list.
Killeen: [25:36] Your cat eats better than my kids do.
Abigail: [25:38] All right, Killeen. You're going to have to do it now. Have a gummy.
[25:41] [background music]
Killeen: [25:41] All right, don't mind if I do. Until next time, Abigail.
Abigail: [25:44] Talk to you soon, Killeen.
Killeen: [25:45] Bye.
Announcer: [25:46] This podcast is brought to you by MegaFood, keeping it real, making vitamin and mineral supplements in New Hampshire since 1973. Committed to making products that use real food from family owned farms to make a real difference, they've produced some of the most effective and far out supplements available today.
[26:01] Fresh from farm to tablet, there's no psych about it. MegaFood is as real as it gets. Do yourself a solid, and catch them on the flip side at megafood.com. If you have a moment, leave a review on iTunes, and let us know what you think. We'd love to hear from you.
[26:14] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.