In 2009, Americans spent $26,700,000,000 on supplements.
And the appeal of vitamins and dietary supplements is understandable. Commercials, magazines, advertisements and even your local health store personnel would have you believe that all supplements contain the healthiest ingredients carefully combined to prevent and even cure your health problems. Should you be skeptical of supplements? Should you take supplements over real food?
One of the most common reasons people use supplements is to fill gaps in their diet. While supplements can help, especially if you are lacking a particular nutrient in your diet such as people who don’t eat meat or are on strict diets to lose weight, they don’t give you the license to eat junk.
So, given a choice – should you choose food or supplements?
In general, your body can absorb nutrients from their natural source better than a pill or powder. Eating a healthy diet particularly packed with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein provides the vitamins and minerals your body needs plus a wide range of other health-promoting substances like fiber and antioxidants. By eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods you are ensuring better health and reducing your risk of chronic disease.
Supplements such as multivitamins can aid in helping you meet your nutrient needs but you don’t want use them as the only way to fill nutrient needs in your diet. Eat a varied, nutrient-packed diet to meet your dietary needs and utilize supplements only when necessary as your body will have an easier time absorbing the nutrients from foods.