Balanced diet vs. Supplements. Or both?

March 27, 2009 at 11:31 am Leave a comment

The market for supplements is booming, with 40% of us popping a pill everday to keep ourselves healthy (from the National Diet & Nutrition Survey),  and approximately £300m being spent on them every year – but certain experts are questioning the effectiveness of getting our nutrients from supplements rather than in whole foods.

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An article I recently read in Top Sante said that, “According to health experts, supplements can’t match the way nutrients are delivered to us in food. Research revels that when individual nutrients are given in supplement form, they’re often less effective at promoting health than the combination of nutrients in whole foods – possibly because supplements are not as easily absorbed by the body.” No actual health experts were cited, but a quick search on google did come up with a few websites and articles that said the same thing (along with hundreds of websites selling supplements!).

The funny thing is, the people who take supplements tend to be those who have a balanced diet as well – that is certainly the case with my friends and family. They are the generally health conscious, who care about their bodies and understand the need for vitamins and minerals. I can’t imagine those who live on Turkey Twizzlers regularly pop down to Holland & Barrett to stock up supplements?

So all in all, balanced diet is better than supplements – and dietary changes should be number 1 on the priority list before popping pills. Some simple guidelines would be eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg, having at least 10ml of GOOD OIL a day for your Omegas (obviously!), getting plenty of protein etc etc. Tastier than pill popping too. Then again… with a busy lifestlye eating a perfectly balanced diet is not always possible (however much we strive towards it!) so if supplements help even just a little bit, why not?

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