Thursday, December 21, 2006

Why Does Viactiv Calcium Contain Sugar?

This supposedly healthy supplement wallops you with excess sugar

I enjoy participating in product surveys and personal evaluations of the latest products because I feel like it gives me the ability in some small way to influence what actually comes to the marketplace. While I am the first to admit that I'm not your "normal" person when it comes to evaluating most food and health products because I am livin' la vida low-carb, it most certainly gives me great pleasure to represent those of us who are attempting to live a healthier lifestyle.

Recently I was asked a series of questions about whether I took vitamin supplements or not. HA! Ya think! Of course, as many of you know I take a big handful of pills daily (no prescription drugs, mind you, just supplements!) ranging from a multivitamin to calcium, Co-Q 10 to fiber, fish oil tablets to chromium picolinate and much more!

Yes, I LOVE my supplements and wouldn't think of living another day of life without them. Even if they're as useless to me as a placebo, the fact of the matter is they make ME feel better about my health. And that's all that matters.

When the survey company realized I qualified for their survey about supplementation, they asked me if I would be interested in giving them feedback about a specific product that they would mail for me to try--VIACTIV! Was this some kind of joke? I had never thought much about this particular supplement because it has a slogan that states "Active Nutrition for Women by Women."

Ooooookay, since I'm not a woman, why would I take this supplement? Perhaps that was the purpose of having a male survey participant taking this product to see if they can branch off into the other half of the market to increase their portion of the revenue pie so to speak. Fair enough and I was happy to give them my HONEST feedback. They ALWAYS get that!

So the package arrives in the mail this week and they ask me to stop taking any multivitamins, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and Calcium supplements immediately and replace it with up to 3 of the Viactiv Calcium Milk Chocolate Soft Chews daily instead. The allure of this product is that you can enjoy a delicious way to get your calcium without the "big chalky pills" that are generally associated with calcium supplements.

There's no doubt in my mind that getting adequate amounts of calcium is important for anyone and everyone living a healthy lifestyle. Some people can get enough of it in their diet, but others of us choose to bump that level up with calcium carbonate supplements. So why not do it using a tasty chocolate soft chew, right? Sounds logical enough.

Well, there was just one problem with the Viactiv: the list of ingredients! As I do with ANYTHING I put inside my mouth these days, I turned to the nutritional label on this "healthy supplement" product to see what I would be ingesting. I immediately got completely bug-eyed at what I saw and decided right then and there that there was no way on God's green Earth I would be taking these Viactiv chews for my calcium intake.

Why? Read my response to the survey people today:

"The first ingredient is corn syrup.

The second ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup.

The fourth ingredient is sugar.

Three out of the first four ingredients are what I consider poison for my body. I am not diabetic, but I am on a healthy lifestyle change where I avoid sugar and corn syrup to keep my body weight low and my blood sugar regulated."

That's right, this health supplement is LOADED with sugar, corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup! EEEEK! Why don't they just tell people to grind up their calcium pills and melt them in the microwave on top of a Snickers bar instead?! It would be just as healthy for them as these soft chews and they'd still get their calcium by golly. Sheeez!

You know, these are the kind of products that make me just wanna hurl when I see them because they fool people into thinking they are doing something GOOD for their bodies because after all "it has calcium in it so you are helping your bones" or they market it as "for those people who care about their health." GAG ME! When the product has as much sugar in it as Viactiv Calcium Milk Chocolate Soft Chews do, then it is anything BUT healthy in my book.

Being the helpful person that I am, I suggested to the survey people that the makers of Viactiv need to consider an alternative to their product that DOESN'T contain sugar. Hmmm, that's a thought!

"Perhaps Viactiv would consider making a sugar-free version of their soft chew vitamins made with sucralose, acesulfame potassium, erithyritol, and/or oligofructose instead of sugar and corn syrup. Just avoid using the sugar alcohol maltitol because it can cause an unpleasant laxative effect.

I'm sorry I could not participate in the survey, but the thought of eating all that sugar was quite repulsive to me. Come up with a sugar-free version and I'm ALL OVER IT! :) THANKS!"

Wanna know what's ironic about all of this? Guess who the parent company for Viactiv is? It's McNeil Nutritionals! Does that company ring a bell with anyone? Come on, think hard. Okay, I'll let you off the hook because you won't believe this when I tell you.

McNeil Nutritionals is the same company that makes, markets, and manufactures the most famous artificial sweetener available today--can you believe it's SPLENDA?! Isn't this so ironic that the same company behind Splenda feels the need to load up their "healthy" vitamin supplement product with sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup?! UGH! What's wrong with this picture?!

Get a clue, McNeil Nutritionals! Start making Viactiv with a Splenda/ACE-K blend and I betcha it'll taste just as good. But even better than that is it will be much healthier for people who are livin' la vida low-carb and diabetic, too!

Don't you wonder sometimes whether these big companies think at all?

Why don't we express our concerns and make our suggestions about Viactiv directly to McNeil Nutritionals by using their contact page. Let them hear from YOU! :)

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Blogger Science4u1959 said...

If they would ditch the sugars and add (oh evil of evils) fat to it (coconut oil, anyone?) it would even be effective!

12/22/2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Lady Atkins said...

The reason you list is the same reason I haven't bought this supplement.

12/22/2006 12:50 AM  
Blogger Calianna said...

"Why don't they just tell people to grind up their calcium pills and melt them in the microwave on top of a Snickers bar instead?! It would be just as healthy for them as these soft chews and they'd still get their calcium by golly."

Actually, it might be even better for them to take them ground up in a Snickers bar.

I couldn't locate an ingredient list for the Viactive soft chews to find out, but if they don't have a significant source of fat in them, the calcium in them won't be well absorbed anyway.

The website had this to say in the FAQ's:

"The calcium in VIACTIV®
has been clinically demonstrated to be absorbed as well
as the calcium from low-fat (1%) milk."

They might as well have said that you'll absorb precious little of the 500 mg of calcium in these things, if they're comparing the absorption level to 1% milk, because you can't absorb any calcium if you aren't consuming enough fat!

But hey, they'll sell well, because they're in a form that resembles candy.

12/22/2006 7:18 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Great points, everyone! Wanna know how much fat is in this "healthy calcium" supplement? A HALF a gram! That's it!

Here is the ingredients list:


There's a total of 20 calories per bite and 4g carbohydrates each with 3g sugar each! It's amazing how they can get away with calling this "healthy." UGH UGH UGH!!!

12/22/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger joyceej said...

Wal-mart has a sugar free version of the chocolate Calcium. It is good.


12/22/2006 10:24 AM  
Blogger BillyHW said...

But Jimmy...don't you know that sugar is low in fat!!?


12/22/2006 11:17 AM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Half a gram of fat, and six times as much sugar. The idiots! I wouldn't be surprised if they would get one of these moronic "heart-healthy" stickers from the AHA on it, too - hey, it's low-fat, after all! And it has added vitamins, too! Wow. Synthetic vitamins, no doubt - just as useless as the calcium that won't be absorbed anyway.

12/22/2006 1:22 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Actually, BillyHW, sugar is fat-FREE! Blech!

12/22/2006 8:10 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey JoyceeJ,

Is that a Wal-mart brand or Viactiv? If it is the latter, then there was NOTHING about it on their web site. What are the sweeteners? Now I'm curious!

12/22/2006 8:11 PM  
Blogger joyceej said...

The brand is Spring Valley. It is sweetened with Sucralose. The ingredients are Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Calcium Carbonate, Cocoa with other natural flavor, Palm Kernal oil, mono and diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Vitamin D3, Phlloquinone (Vitamin K). I guess the fats are not the best but no sugar.

12/27/2006 11:09 AM  

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