Should I give my picky eater multivitamins?—Anonymous
I am a vitamin skeptic. I’ve written about it before, and it’s a topic of some of my research. Most of my complaints relate to the claim that, as adults, vitamins can make us healthier. This has very little support in the data. People who take vitamins typically also undertake all kinds of other healthy behaviors, and it’s extremely difficult to separate the vitamins from everything else.
I could go on at length about this, but it’s a bit tangential, so I’ll hold back.
On the particular question of a picky kid, the answer is likely no, unless your kid eats an extremely restrictive diet. People do need some amount of many vitamins. For example, if you do not have enough vitamin C, you get scurvy. Scurvy is terrible (as you would know if you read as many books about Arctic exploration as I do), and if your child’s diet is so restricted that they aren’t getting enough vitamin C, you should supplement. But the thing is that vitamin C is in a ton of different foods — meat, tomato sauce, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes. Lemonade! A similar message goes for other vitamins. And you don’t need an infinite amount of these, so it isn’t a case of more is better.
Bottom line: If what you mean by picky is your kid will literally only eat white bread, you might need to supplement. But if you mean they do not seem adventurous, multivitamins are unnecessary.