If you’ve become more aware of the state of your health and are currently trying to improve it lately, then chances are you already looked up various nutritional supplements online and checked their possible benefits. But do you really need them?
Does Your Diet Really Need Nutritional Supplements?
Nutritional supplements, or the idea of taking them, aren’t new at all. Statistics show that more than half of Americans take one or more of these pills either daily or on occasion. It’s not just in the U.S. either since the pills are also popular in Europe.
Do you really need them or will you be better off looking the other way?
For many people, such as the elderly, breastfeeding babies and pregnant women, adding supplements make sense since these are the type of people that usually take the pills to help mitigate their nutritional deficiencies. In fact, experts said that mitigating nutritional deficiencies is where these supplements are “best utilized.”
“Anytime somebody is missing major food groups, the first question is, can we target the missing nutrients with food? If not, then we would look into a supplement,” Melissa Majumdar, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said.
Because of this, eating and maintaining a healthy diet should come first before you even think about taking nutritional supplements, especially if you’re relatively healthy. These pills, after all, are just supplements and not substitutes for a diet that’s high in both fruits and vegetables.
“There are some data that support benefits of certain supplements on specific outcomes, but many recent systematic reviews are concluding that, for most supplements, we have insufficient quality data to allow us to make strong recommendations,” Martha H. Stipanuk, a James Jamison
professor of nutrition emeritus in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, said.
Furthermore, too much of these dietary supplements (such as high doses of vitamins and minerals) can also be a bad thing and can even lead to adverse side effects.
So all in all, following an already healthy diet (combined with exercise) means that you’re most likely getting the nutrients you need and taking a supplement is unnecessary, except if you’re a person who really needs it.