Kids and "Hidden" Sugars

Monday, December 22, 2008

I just sent this letter to the makers of Emergen C:

Hello- I wanted to express my disappointment that fructose is the first ingredient in a children's supplement. It seems that with all the knowledge of how harmful white sugars are your company could have come up with a better alternative like agave or rice syrups .

As an adult, I can make my own decisions about how much sugar I take in daily (though it would be nice to have fructose replaced in all your products). My son depends on me to make those decisions for him. If I did my research correctly, the amount of sugar in one Emergen C Kids is a little over a teaspoon. Adding an extra teaspoon of sugar per day in a little body does not seem like such a wise choice.

As a mom, I'm doing my best to make sure he gets the best, healthiest start possible. He has a cold right now and I was going to start giving him your new supplement to see if it would help shorten the cold's duration but changed my mind after reading the ingredients. I like Emergen C and am using it myself to try and ward off my son's chest cold but again, children and adults process sugar differently.

What's the point of trying to get our children healthy just to give them sugars? Fortunately my son is not overweight and has no dietary issues. But not everyone checks labels carefully. It's a shame that parents who are trying to do the right thing for their kids might be harming them unknowingly. I hope this is an issue the company will be working on in the future. Thank you.

What do you think? Not too harsh, right? I know it's hard to avoid all sugars but am I wrong to feel that it shouldn't be the first ingredient in a supplement? I'll admit I didn't check the label before I started using it. My mom takes it whenever she feels a cold coming on or people at her office are sick and says it works well for her.

I've been following suit and was excited to see that Emergen C had a new line for kids. I went on the website to request a free sample (oh yes I did!) but then read the nutritional information and changed my mind. He's not "sick enough" to be dosed up on cough medicine.

At this point I'm trying to keep the cold from getting worse and hopefully make it shorter. I've been giving Drama Kid Hyland's instead of the emergen C but would love to know if you've found a good supplement or cold shortener for your kids.
(photo from Google Images)


  1. I think the letter is great. We need to get these companies to cut down on the high fructose syrup!

  2. That is a great letter. I am amazed how many products that are touted as "healthy" have sugar as one of the first ingredients.

  3. I'm amazed at the stuff people give their kids. I saw a nine year old drinking a Monster with his brown bag lunch on a field trip. I can't believe a mother gave that to her kid. He probably used it to wash down his ADD meds. Okay a little snarky of me, but really what was she thinking? My 16 year old brought one of those home once, and he got an earful from me.

  4. Great letter! Right on point.

    You're one of many smart moms taking notice of the ridiculous amount of high fructose corn syrup in our kids' food. I bought a can of tomatoes for sauce the other day and HFCS was one of the higher ingredients in that! But in a vitamin supplement? That's insane!

    I'll definitely be looking at EVERY label now. Good job!

  5. I use Zicam swabs at the first sign of a cold and it works really well for me.

    When my kids were little I gave them nothing for colds, except making sure they had lots of water and rest and acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fevers. Cough and cold medications do nothing--you can't give a child a high enough does for it to be effective.

  6. Cat- Not snarky, just an observation LOL!

    Mommy B- I try. We could be healthier but sugar in vitamins is just ridiculous.

  7. Excellent letter!

    HFCS is in everything! Bread, tomato sauce (like Mommy B mentioned). I've made our home HFCS free, and it's crazy the things we can't buy anymore. That's why I love Trader Joe's so much.

    Besides that, though, it's INSANE that it's in a children's supplement! What on earth were they thinking? Hopefully your letter gives them the kick in the butt they need to make some positive changes.

  8. A. Kudos to you for sending a letter to the company instead of just talking/complaining about it with friends. You are a change-maker, that's obvious. I love it when individuals express their thoughts to companies.

    B. I thought the letter was great - concise, thorough, and professional. Keep us posted if you receive a response.


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