4 Reasons to Choose Whole Foods Over Supplements

The supplement industry is a billion dollar industry and shows no signs of slowing down. Chances are if you have some sort of ailment, there’s a pill for it. For some reason people like the ease of supplementing nutritional pitfalls with a pill. 

Some folks see it as a way to protect against illness. However, despite advertising gimmicks, taking a supplement isn’t a substitute for a nutritious diet. 

Supplemented Vitamins & Minerals Could be Harmful

Many people have a mindset that “more is better.” In the case of  antioxidants, this is especially true. We’ve heard so much about how antioxidants are effective  at warding off oxidative stress and cellular damage. We’re quick to find a way to add them to our diet, and it’s usually in pill form. 

Antioxidant vitamins and minerals include: Vitamin A, C, E, as well as the mineral selenium. There are also supplements like COQ10 aand alpha-lipoic acid. However, studies indicate that taking these vitamins in pill form isn’t always a good idea.

For instance, research suggests that taking Vitamin A in a supplement form can lead to lung cancer in smokers. It was also believed that taking Vitamin E could help prevent heart attacks, instead it was found that taking Vitamin E in a supplement form lead to increased risk of stroke.

Selenium intake is important to monitor. At a certain dosage, selenium can actually be toxic. If you also get selenium in your food it’s important to determine whether or not you actually need a supplement for it. 

Calcium supplements are another example. Some studies show that taking calcium in a supplement form can lead to a greater risk of developing kidney stones. 

Your body will have a hard time using it

A supplement is only good if your body is readily able to use it. For instance, Folate is a good example. Folate is an essential B-vitamin for cell repair and growth. Lower levels of folate can result in birth defects referred to as neural tube defects in pregnant women. To help prevent these defects, foods like flour and bread contain a synthetic form of folate called folic acid.

However, 30% of our population has an enzyme variant that makes it difficult to convert folic acid into folate. If not prevented, folic acid can build up in your tissues and may lead to various health conditions. The best, natural way to get your much-needed folate is to eat green and leafy vegetables.

FDA Who?

Most of the time, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and supplement manufacturers don’t get their approval before developing and marketing them.

The only time the FDA steps in is when the company is sued for something, mainly because of side effects. So what you read on a label, may not be what you’re getting. Manufacturers try to cut costs and even use fillers that aren’t on the label.

Decades ago, independent agencies found dangerous substances in supplements such as heavy metal, and various contaminants. What’s even worse is that some of these supplements don’t actually contain what’s listed on the label and some have ingredients that aren’t supposed to be there.

You’re missing out a lot

Supplements are limited since you’re only getting one very specific vitamin or mineral. Meaning, if your diet is poor then you may have to buy another to fill the gap.

When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, you get hundreds of vitamins and minerals in their natural form. These components work together better than being taken in an isolated pill form.

Conclusion

In some instances, a supplement may very well be necessary. Vegans for example,  may need to take a vitamin B12 supplement since this particular vitamin isn’t found in vegetables. It can also be tough to get enough zinc, iron, and calcium if you aren’t eating meat or dairy.

Another example is people that are undergoing a restricting their calories, where they have to take supplements to fill in their body’s vitamin and mineral requirement.

Lastly, people that are experiencing health conditions or pregnancy require extra nutritional support that they can’t get from their diet alone.

There is a place for supplements, however they shouldn’t be used to replace a healthy diet. They are created for a purpose, to literally supplement your natural food intake.

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