Are there better options than bags full of vitamins and pills?
One-third of Americans (and an even higher percentage of Canadians) takes vitamin and mineral supplements each day. Reasons include:
1. Our new understanding of the body's requirements for particular chemical nutrients. For example, Vitamin C helps reduce free radical damage in cells. It's easy to take Vitamin C in capsule form and to assume that it will give you the same benefits as a glass of orange juice.
2. Our food supply is not as nutritious today as it was in the past. This is due to large-scale farming which focuses on quantity, shelf life and profit rather than quality and nutrition.
3. Our modern lifestyle makes eating a balanced diet more difficult. Increased stress has also boosted our need for certain nutrients.
We now assume that a vitamin pill will fill in these ‘gaps’ in our nutrition. It may seem like a simple solution, but they often don't do enough. And sometimes they just DON'T WORK. Why is this?
A report in the December issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes that the formula for optimal health isn't in the supplement aisle of a health-food store but in the FOOD AISLE. The American Dietetic Association is the largest organization of professionals that deals directly with your diet. It also has access to the most data and research in the field. So why do they state that foods are better than supplements?
5 Reasons To Use a Food Based Approach
1. Vitamin supplements are limited to what is written on the label. If it lists 20 chemical isolates, that is all you get. In comparison, every whole food has thousands of different micro and macro nutrients. This is why the better (and the more expensive) the supplement, the more factors it has in it. But the best supplements are whole foods. An orange, for example, has not only vitamin C but bioflavonoids, beta-carotene, folic acid, fibre, magnesium potassium and many other valuable nutrients.
2. Foods contain nutrients we don’t fully understand. Nutritional science is still young. Each day it discovers new phytonutirents which have profound influences on the body. More importantly, nutritional science is only just discovering the relationships between the various nutritional factors: how one factor influences another and how different ratios of nutrients affect the body. The ‘facts’ of nutrition may change tomorrow, so why should you depend on them today?
3. Each person has UNIQUE nutritional requirements. These requirements will change over time and in different environments. If you take this into account and try to prescribe isolated vitamins and minerals it becomes very complicated very quickly. The ‘gaps’ are constantly changing. You would need expensive professional help to pinpoint the best nutrients for your body. And they can only determine what your body needs at a single point in time while your needs will change from one day to the next.
4. The body absorbs foods best. Mere decades of nutritional research cannot compete with millions of years of natural evolution. The body evolved to eat real foods. Isolates found in artificial supplements are poorly absorbed and are often eliminated by the body before they can be used. Many isolates are not recognized by the body as food, and may even be interpreted as toxins. Although certain higher quality supplements offer superior absorption, again, they usually do so just because they are closer to real food. Unfortunately, they still can't compare with whole foods. Why not give your body what it deserves and eat food instead of pills?
5. Foods have LIFE. There is something about the aliveness of food that makes it instinctively attractive. Fresh food is always more attractive than leftovers. People have recently discovered the value of raw foods. This value can be measured in terms of enzymes and specific nutrients, but also in qualities that are harder to measure like energy and vitality. All of these qualities are important for our physical and mental well-being.
Health with Real Foods is the Wave of the Future:
Right now, it is easier than ever to embrace whole-food based nutrition. New knowledge is helping people along this path to health, and we are here to share it with you. Many grocery stores are stocking a greater selection of high-quality foods in their organic sections and new supplements are emerging that are based on whole foods. Some of these supplements will have higher quality and value than the dead pills of the past. But they still imitate what nature has already perfected.
I don’t know one person whose life has been radically changed by buying a bottle of vitamins or pills. I do know thousands whose lives have become healthier and more energetic by changing their APPROACH to food.
This approach involves eating more whole, fresh, raw and organic foods as well as eating them in the proper combinations. These are the principles we teach individuals in our various programs that help them achieve healthier lives.
To be fair, the American Dietetic Association did recommend that a few isolated groups could benefit from targeted supplementation. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with certain health conditions, and elderly adults may need to fill dietary gaps. But if you are in one of these groups, many of these gaps (like higher iron intake for women) can also be achieved with whole foods. One just needs to know what to eat, and to be motivated enough to want to improve their health.
And there’s the rub. It's hard to know where to look and to put in the effort to make healthier choices. It's so much easier just to take a pill—one that contends to solve all of your nutritional problems. But it isn't that easy. Sometimes the harder road is the wiser one; it is the road to better health.
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Edited by Michael Fisher
Copyright © Randy Fritz You are welcome to share this article with anyone who you think may benefit from this information as long as you give credit to Real Food for Life by including the link to the home page www.RealFoodforLife.com or the direct link to this post.