Today is a very exciting day indeed!
While I fumble my way through nutrition and fitness choices with no professional background,
Emily from Sinful Nutrition is a registered dietitian – in child nutrition! She has been blogging and spreading her knowledge and expertise since 2010…
Today, I am so honored to have her take over as guest poster extraordinaire in my little blogsphere! I am so excited to have Emily answer a question that is a topic of debate for me – meeting ones nutritional needs from supplements vs from food…With that – here’s Emily 🙂
My name is Emily, the face behind the blog Sinful Nutrition, which was created to share recipes for healthier and equally delicious alternatives to otherwise ‘sinful’ foods. Sinful Nutrition has now grown to share fitness tips, exercises, and other ramblings of my Nutritionist food-obsessed life.
Shashi has asked me to talk about the difference between supplementing vitamin/mineral s and getting nutrients from whole foods, since I have a background in Nutrition. I think this is a great topic to discuss, so thanks for recommending it, Shashi!
There is a lot of controversy over vitamin and mineral supplements out there today. Many say that it is better to supplement since this form is more absorbable by the body. Or that taking lots of vitamin C will protect against cancer. While supplements have their place in the diet, I’m here to say that those statements are FALSE. Megadoses of certain vitamins do NOT protect or prevent cancer, but can actually cause harmful effects such as diarrhea, fatigue and kidney stones. A healthy, balanced diet can provide all the vitamins and minerals your body needs each day, and then some! Here are some of the benefits that both supplements and whole foods play in the diet.
Now I don’t know about you, but I enjoy eating. A lot. It would probably be the death of me to end up in one of those worlds seen on The Jetson’s, where meals are all in pill form.
That’s kinda how I feel about supplements. Why take a pill when I can enjoy eating a food that has all the nutrients I need? As I said before, a diet with a variety of healthy (and even not so healthy) foods can provide all the vitamins/minerals your body needs. BONUS: Whole foods have even MORE nutrients that are good for you such as fiber (whole grains, fruits, vegetables) and phytochemicals (fruits and vegetables) that may help protect against certain types of cancer and heart disease. Even though I said may protect against cancer, that’s better than the no that is true for vitamin supplements.
Don’t get me wrong, vitamin and mineral supplements can be very beneficial to a lot of people. In fact, 68% of Americans today take a multi-vitamin daily, because they think their diet is lacking nutrients.
You might be better off taking that $7.00 and buying a loaf of whole wheat bread, a bag of spinach, and some apples if you think your diet is lacking nutrients. Also, vitamin supplementation CAN be helpful for preventing diseases such as pellagra, scurvy, and beriberi….what, you’ve never heard of these? That’s probably because they aren’t as prevalent in the US as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure which vitamin/mineral supplements do NOT help prevent or cure.
Here are some instances in which supplements are recommended or could be beneficial:
• Elderly: Those over the age of 50 could benefit from a supplement such as Vitamin D or Calcium since they often have lower amounts of food intake, and their bodies don’t absorb nutrients as well.
• Pregnant/Attempting Pregnancy: Babies need added nutrients such as folate and iron than if
not present in the Mom’s diet can lead to birth defects later on. This is why it is important to take prenatal vitamins and added folate and iron before you are even pregnant.
• Strict Vegans: Vegans who do not consume any animal products may be lacking vitamin B-12,
since it is only naturally occurring in animal products. A supplement would help assure proper nutrition for this population.
• Dark Skin/Low Sun Exposure: Those with darker skin or limited access to natural sunlight
may not be producing enough vitamin D through their skin. A vitamin D supplement would be
beneficial (I take one during the winter months here in New England!)
So here’s the take home messages to sum it all up for you:
– Vitamin/Mineral supplements do NOT protect against cancer
– High doses of supplements can be harmful to the body
– A healthy, balanced diet can provide all the nutrients your body needs
– Certain populations such as elderly, pregnant/attempting pregnancy, and vegans could benefit from taking a supplement.
– Consult a physician or registered dietitian before taking any single nutrient supplement for appropriate dosage.
– I hope this helps clear up any confusion or questions about supplements for you.
Thanks again Shashi, and have a great weekend!
Wow – I had no idea that vitamin D absorption was based on skin tint!
Thank You So very Much Emily for sharing your knowledge and expertise!
Please make sure to check out more of Emily’s interesting nutritional and fitness posts at www.sinfulnutrition.com
Would this information change your use of vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet?
It would definitely be a yes for me!
Have a great weekend Yall and thanks so much for stopping by 🙂