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Nutrition: DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

COMMON SCENARIO:

As I strive to achieve my weight loss and weight management goals, I want to do my best through getting most of my nutrition through whole foods.  However, I have heard so many mixed reviews about dietary supplements and which supplements may be worth taking.  I go into a vitamin/supplement shop and spend money on numerous products that sound great, but I’m not 100% convinced they are “doing” anything for me.

TRUTHS:

    1.  Under the Dietary Supplement Health Education Health Act (DSHEA) dietary supplements ARE NOT approved by the FDA.  The purity, safety or effectiveness is not regulated.
    2. The US government DOES REGULATE foods for ingredients, additives, manufacturing practices, safety, and packaging.
    3. The only way a supplement would be removed for purchase is if the FDA shows the product is “unsafe”—usually this occurs if numerous people are experiencing unhealthy side effects.  Example:  Ephedra has been banned for years due it its ability to increase the risk of strokes, cardiovascular events, seizures and more.  However, it took over 10,000 complaints to remove ephedra based products of the shelves—think Metabolife.
    4. Read the label closely.  Watch the video 😉

It can be easy to believe that “more is better”, but this is not the case.  Typically, the only way we could become toxic in a particular vitamin or mineral is if we take too much of in the supplement form.  For example, there are adverse side effects if one takes too much Vitamin A (especially from supplement form) due to its ability to store—Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin.  Those that need supplementation are typically those that have a certain health condition (e.g., untreated Celiac Disease), those that remove particular foods rich in specific nutrients (e.g., one that decides to become vegan) or those that are trying to achieve a particular goal (e.g., whey based protein powder post-workout to aide in recovery).

 THINK FOOD FIRST

A well-developed meal plan will safely and efficiently give you the nutrients and energy you need.  There is still so much we don’t know about particular whole foods—shoot, I receive emails every week including studies that are telling me about certain phytochemicals or antioxidants in cherries, beets, blueberries, kale, the list goes on… at the end of the day these WHOLE FOODS are what we need to be consuming.  Not one pill or “blueberry powder” can supplement the power of the whole blueberry or food.  Start thinking about the QUALITY of your diet based in whole foods over the quantity of certain nutrients coming from supplements…this will keep you out of the confusing supplement aisle and more time in the produce section.

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