Hyderabad: Nutritional supplements were being picked over the counter and consumed. Most of these products were passed off in the local gyms, and by fitness trainers and marketing agents trying to achieve sales targets.
According to clinical dietician Dr M. Gayathri, “Before taking any nutritional supplements or nutraceuticals it is very important to consult a medical practitioner. Dietary supplements are not intended to treat or cure diseases. Nutraceuticals are given to prevent or treatment of a disease.”
They were medicinal foods playing a role in maintaining wellbeing, enhancing health, modulating immunity and thereby preventing as well as treating specific diseases. But if a person was found to take a balanced diet, there was no need to depend on these kind of supplements.
Experts point to a number of such supplements. Soya protein was a substitution of animal protein with vegetable protein. It was found to lower risk of chronic heart disease as it was said to have micellar content which allowed absorption of lipids by fibre and other substances. Soya nuts were found to reduce hypertension in post-menopausal women. But they were to be taken only after evaluation by doctors who recommended the person to a nutritionist. These foods were not for all age-groups. In a recent case, a 16-year-old was prescribed high protein supplement whereas it was found that the diet already had enough intake of protein.
A senior nutritionist on condition of anonymity explained, “We have too many unregulated centres which are counselling people on intake of different foods for maintaining health. In normal practice, we find that people have been counselled by gym instructors, so-called nutritionist on WhatsApp groups and also weight loss clinics which are guiding on how much and what to eat.
“These unscientific methods are inviting more trouble to the body. The age of the person, eating habits, co-morbid conditions and also metabolism has to be evaluated before recommending a change in the diet.”