Today I was browsing a local health store and seeing what market is looking like from the perspective of the customer. Among all the products one in particular caught my eye, which was an own brand high strength vitamin C product, claiming to be a generous 1000mg delicious vitamin C supplement. I had a look on the label expecting to see the usual stuff – vitamin C (obviously), magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide (these are often needed in the manufacturing process, and are biologically inert). You can imagine my surprise when I see a whole host of ingredients.
There are over 10 ingredients in this product, which is pretty shocking in itself – but the first ingredient is sucrose (sugar).
Labelling law requires ingredients to be listed in order of weight, which means that there is more than 1g of sugar in this product. Its not a massive amount, and by itself it will cause no damage, but if you think about it, it makes more sense to call this vitamin C supplement a sugar supplement (which ironically is what scientists use as a placebo in drug trials) instead of a vitamin C supplement.
It is a small saving grace that vitamin C is the second ingredient on this product is actually vitamin C hurray!, but a couple of ingredients down the line we see another sugar – fructose! Fructose is very sweet, much sweeter than sucrose, and really gives you a ‘lovely’ sweet taste.
Not the end of the world in itself, and the sugar itself isn’t going to hurt anyone, however, this is a very sweet product, and it tells our brain we are going to get calories and energy (which the brain loves). When this energy doesn’t arrive, the brain gets annoyed and craves sugary foods, and go and snack on chocolate, or crisps – anything to give us that influx of energy. (For more info on how this works check out my article here.)
So in short, this pill is a sugar pill, which can induce sugar cravings but does give you some vitamin C – not what I would call a health supplement.
Image courtesy of pio1976