Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dietary Supplements vs Food: What's the Difference?

Supplements seem to be the new thing nowadays.  You see advertisements of them everywhere, whether it is on TV, the flyer for your local CVS, or in your Food Network magazine.  The supplements advertise containing a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals, and are convenient because you can just pop one in your mouth and you are on your way.

The question you may be thinking is: are supplements really as good as their nutritional food counterparts?

The answer is: Yes, and No.  Supplements are good for you if you are having trouble getting a particular nutrient into your diet.  (Example: Calcium).  But, supplements should not be used as an excuse to eat whatever you want.  Some people have the thinking of "I take supplements to get my vitamins, so I can eat whatever I want for the rest of the day."  

That is a BAD way of thinking.

Supplements do contain Vitamins and Minerals, but not calories which fruits and vegetables have.  Calories are essential because our body burns them for energy.  Fruits and vegetables also contain things like antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help your body defend itself against disease.

Bottom line: Use supplements as a means of helping you get the vitamins and minerals you need, not as a substitute for healthy eating.

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