Recently Centrum introduced a new type of vitamin to their very long list of multivitamin supplements. Now normally in this blog, we only review Rich Foods and Poor Foods, with the emphasis on food, but as this new vitamin appears in the grocery stores and is sort of a vitamin/food hybrid we thought it fair game.
Introducing Centrum Flavor Burst. Here is what Centrum tells us about their new chews:
“New Centrum Flavor Burst is a uniquely delicious, chewable adult multivitamin supplement with an essential vitamin core, great-tasting outside and chewy inside.”
Who wouldn’t want to eat health-promoting candy chews? You get to eat four grape or mixed fruit candies and take your vitamin all at the same time, sound great right? Well, we have some good news and some bad news for you.
First the good news: Yes, you do get to eat four candy chews daily.
Now for the bad news: They’re total c*#p!
Look, we sorry for the expletive, but we aren’t going to sugar coat the truth the way they sugar coat these vitamins! We’ll first examine the POOR FOOD ingredients, and then we’ll examine the POOR formulation of this “multivitamin.”
Step One: Examining the POOR FOOD ingredients.
Here is the label from the centrum bursts.
Ingredients: Sucrose, Corn Syrup, Water, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Choline Bitartrate, Maltodextrin, Acacia. Contains < 2% of: Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Beeswax, Biotin, Blue 1 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Calcium Pantothenate, Carmine (color), Carnauba Wax, Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3), Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Folic Acid, Inositol, Lac-Resin, Lecithin (Soy), Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Iodide, Pregelatinized Corn Starch, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Titanium Dioxide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Zinc Sulfate. Contains: Soy.
First POOR FOOD ingredient: sucrose aka table sugar. Well, as if it isn’t bad enough that in the last twenty years, we have increased sugar consumption in the U.S. from 26 pounds to 135 pounds of sugar per person per year (more than one-third of a pound of sugar per person per day), now Centrum is adding it as the primary ingredient to there vitamins—The one thing many individuals are taking everyday to stay healthy!
As you may remember, in Naked Calories, we discussed how, “Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body. It can cause chromium and copper deficiencies and blocks the absorption of calcium and magnesium… In fact, even slightly elevated blood sugar levels can weaken your immune system.” Why would anyone choose to promote their health by taking a multivitamin than robs them of those very same vitamins and minerals?
Second POOR FOOD ingredient: Corn Syrup aka sugar from corn, most likely from GMO crops – 86% of corn is GMO. Hmm…we guess that the sugar alone wasn’t quite sweet and syrupy enough for Centrum? Not only is corn syrup every bit as bad for us as sugar, corn is depleting micronutrients in a different way. First, the farming of corn leaves a huge carbon footprint. This is because corn is cultivated in a monoculture system, meaning that the land it is grown on is used for corn cropping alone. This type of farming destroys the soil and depletes it of available micronutrients. By depleting our soil, which depletes our minerals, corn syrup is an Everyday Micronutrient Depleter (EMD) quietly stealing essential micronutrients form everyone on the planet.
Now to the remaining POOR FOOD ingredients:
As a reminder, POOR FOODs are more than just foods that contain Everyday Micronutrient Depleters (EMDs) of which we only mentioned 2 above (sugar and corn syrup).
We define POOR FOODs as highly processed foods that are low or void of micronutrients, decreasing one’s micronutrient-sufficiency level, and often contain sinister EMDs alongside numerous other problematic ingredients.
In fact, in RICH FOOD, POOR FOOD we identify over 150 POOR FOOD ingredients that can put your health in danger. So what other common POOR FOOD problematic ingredients are busting in your mouth with every unhealthy chew of Centrum Flavor Burst:
Maltodextrin: either GMO corn, or wheat gluten (Can you say Wheat Belly?)
Blue 1 Lake & Blue 2 Lake: artificial colors that are banned in Norway, Finland, and France, and have been shown to cause brain cancer and inhibit nerve-cell development.
- Carnauba Wax: often used to shine automobiles – MMM… Turtle wax!
- Soy Lecithin: GMO Alert again – 93% of all soy crops are GMO.
- Modified Corn Starch: starch from a likely GMO crop – 86% of corn is GMO.
- Pregelatinized Corn Starch: need we say GMO again?
Titanium Dioxide: has recently been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B Carcinogen “possibly carcinogen to humans. (read more)
Now, we aren’t sure what the scientific term for the list above would be, but we are going to call it a POOR FOOD Pit! The Centrum Flavor Burst should be renamed the Centrum Flavor BUST!
Now, you might think, after looking at that ingredient list, that taking a Centrum multivitamin pill might be a better option, but upon looking at the ingredient list (which, if you haven’t guessed yet, is what we want you to focus on) you will see a plethora of POOR FOOD ingredients, including: modified food starch, artificial colors, corn starch, maltodextrin and sucrose – even in their pills!
And to make matters worse they have added BHT. In RICH FOOD, POOR FOOD none of the foods we choose as certified RICH FOODS will have any of those POOR FOOD ingredients. Especially BHT!!! BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene) is similar to BHA (butylated hydroxanisole), which is listed as a known carcinogen in California and is banned in Japan, England, and many other European countries. Watch out for BHA and BHT in products like butter, meats, chewing gum, dehydrated potatoes, beer and yes, even some multivitamins, like Centrum, sold in the United States.
Now, let’s get back to those candy chews (Yes, we will call them what they really are) and examine the second half of the story – the POOR formulation of this daily multivitamin.
Step Two: Examining the POOR formulation.
Let’s start with the fact that the tagline for Centrum is “Complete from A to Z.” We have all heard this, right? Well, we guess they weren’t talking about this sugar-laden stepchild, because Centrum Flavor Burst is missing almost as many essential vitamins and minerals as it contains. While it does still have vitamin A and zinc (A to Z – get it?) it only contains 10 vitamins (vitamin A, C, D, E, B5, B6, B7, B9 B12, and choline), 2 minerals (zinc and iodine) and inositol (a vitamin like substance). But, where is vitamin K, B1, B2, or B3? Or how about the other essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, manganese, molybdenum and chromium? I guess the brilliant folks over at Centrum figured that term “essential” as in “essential micronutrients” was just a suggestion. And forget about any beneficial accessory micronutrients such as lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, boron, silicon, vanadium, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, carnitine, quercetin or grapeseed extract – they are nowhere to be found.
Next there is the issue of the quality of the micronutrients they are using. While most people rarely, if ever, turn over their multivitamins to see what source of specific micronutrients is being used, research has found that in many cases there is a difference in absorption and utilization between different sources. For example, in the case of vitamim B12, it is generally accepted thatmethylcobalamin is superior to cyanocobalamin, and in the case of vitamin E it has been demonstrated that natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl) is superior to synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopheryl). Centrum Flavor Burst contains the inferior sources for both of these vitamins.
Lastly there is the issue of micronutrient competition. For those of you who have read Naked Calories, you know that this is an issue that is very near and dear to our hearts. In short, science has known for some time that certain vitamins and minerals are antagonistic, or in other words competitive with one another for absorption. So, when they are taken together, as with an all-in-one daily multivitamin, the competitive micronutrients can block or even negate one another,resulting in lowered absorption and reduced benefit to the multivitamin taker . In the case of the Centrum Flavor Bursts a total of 7 out of its 13 micronutrients have a potential competition (54%).
When you put all this information together, we hope you can see why we feel Centrum Flavor Bursts deserve to be highlighted as a POOR choice. While we feel everyone can benefit from a well-formulated multivitamin that will help them fill in the nutritional gaps between where their healthy diet leaves off and where micronutrient sufficiency is met – in our opinion you should steer clear of this Centrum Flavor Bomb.
Curious about where you may fall on the micronutrient sufficiency spectrum? Take our FREE 50 question quiz and find out.
Do you want to see how your multivitamin or one that you are considering stacks up using the ABC’s of Optimal Supplementation Guidelines?