Supplementation is both a simple and complex subject. But one thing is clear: you cannot mediate the damaging (and overweight-promoting) effects of a nutrient-poor diet with the use of supplements.
Theoretically, if you are eating the way your body is designed to eat (nutrient-rich), you shouldn’t have a substantial need for supplementation. Amy Lanou, Ph.D., reporting on an interview with T. Colin Campbell, Cornell’s lauded nutritional biochemistry researcher, top health researcher and Nutrient Rich Advisor, shares the following:
“All too often, scientists, health and fitness experts, and individuals like you and me get excited about the potential healing action of a nutrient, like an anti-oxidant or another natural substance and revise our lifestyles to incorporate this latest finding into our personal quests for health. More often than not, the clearest path to success seems to be to take a pill or potion that has a high concentration of this desired active substance. But our bodies, our systems for digestion, absorption and metabolism were designed to utilize nutrients in the amounts and combination provided in food. And foods are made up of thousands of different health-giving substances that are not in supplements, substances that work better together to deliver their health-giving gifts. It would seem that there is some wisdom behind the design of the original ‘packages’ for these nutrients.”
And Joel Fuhrman M.D. agrees: “It is critical to recognize that all dietary supplements are supplements to, and not substitutes for, a healthful diet. You cannot make an unhealthy diet into a healthy one by consuming supplements.” At the same time, Dr Fuhrman endorses supplementation to address widespread practices that make a couple of nutrients unusually hard to come by. “Some people require more of certain nutrients than others. For example, it is not uncommon for some people to need extra vitamin D, or extra B12, even when their diets contain typical amounts of these vitamins. This is especially true regarding vitamin D because of the depletion of the atmosphere’s ozone layer and subsequent increase in skin damage from the sun. Because of this, many people practice sun avoidance and wear sunscreen, which decreases their vitamin D production.” – Joel Fuhrman M.D.
But here’s the trap: diet purveyors who are actually promoting nutrient poor diet and then encourage you to “make up the difference” with nutritional shakes, pills, powders and other potions are concerned primarily with their business model – not your health.
They promote their foods and supplements by saying or implying that they’re “nutrient rich,” but the bottom line, as you’ll discover at nutrientrich.com, is that nothing could be further from the truth. The animal foods industries, such as the beef board say their foods are nutrient rich, but essentially they are nutrient poor. And this isn’t necessarily a vegan site, we’re just calling it the way we see it.
Whole foods that are plant-based in their natural state are nutrient-rich. Animal foods are rich in some nutrients but as a whole they are nutrient poor.
You can actually see the nutritional profiles of foods in the support center.
“People have been trained to look for a magic bullet to offset all their destructive habits and fix the resulting bad health. One superficial solution for 70% of people in the USA is to take supplements of vitamins and mineral blends. These concentrated mixtures enter our bodies by way of pills, nutrition bars, “health” drinks, and cereals. “Vitamania” intoxicates the modern world. Vitamin users are more likely to be female, older, better-educated, affluent, non-smokers, light-drinkers, frequent-exercisers, and to consume diets lower in fat and higher in fruits and vegetables. Vitamins are organic compounds that cannot be synthesized by the human body and therefore must be consumed to prevent serious illnesses. Fruits and vegetables are the main sources and primary manufacturers of most vitamins (11 of 13 known vitamins are synthesized by plants – D comes from the sun’s actions on our skin and B12 from bacteria). Plants are also the most direct source for minerals – all of which originate in the ground and enter into living systems through the roots of plants – and then into animals. Unfortunately, only 20% to 30% of the people living in Western populations consume the 5 or more servings recommended daily of fruits and vegetables. The elderly, alcoholics, and those with chronic illnesses are also at higher risk of suffering real deficiencies. But the solution is more plants, not pills. Even your local supplement salesperson readily admits fruits and vegetables are the ideal sources of these essential nutrients…BUT, they add, “because of our depleted soils these sources are now inadequate and therefore supplements are necessary.” John McDougall M.D.
Listen to the experts like Joel Fuhrman, M.D., and John McDougall M.D. T. Colin Campbell and other Nutrient Rich advisers if you want expertise on what you should do, as there are situations where supplementation is justified. And there are many. Don’t get hung up on this issue and major in minor things or be an idealist. Unless we’re talking toxic consumption of supplements, do what you’re situation calls for in a mutual decision between you and your physician with the help of a blood test if necessary.
That said, I am telling you that no supplement (or battery of supplements) can replace the abundant, perfectly-proportioned and optimally-packaged vital nutrients contained in nutrient-rich foods – the winning combination’s that satisfy our appetites, fuel and strengthen our systems and enable our bodies to run as they should (naturally shedding excess weight in the process).