Supplementation verses substituion. What is best, when is it best?

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Forums Supplements, Cycles, and Vitamins Supplements Supplementation verses substituion. What is best, when is it best?

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    Profile photo of Doug Hampton
    Doug Hampton

    This is too important that just cant be talked about enough. Too often people rely on pills, supplements, and drugs to replace real food. Lets break it down simply and finally address supplementation verses Substitution

    Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. So depending on your situation and your eating habits, dietary supplements may not be worth the expense.

    Whole foods offer three main benefits over dietary supplements:

    •Greater nutrition. Whole foods are complex, containing a variety of the micronutrients your body needs — not just one. An orange, for example, provides vitamin C plus some beta carotene, calcium and other nutrients. It’s likely these compounds work together to produce their beneficial effect.
    •Essential fiber. Whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes, provide dietary fiber. Most high-fiber foods are also packed with other essential nutrients. Fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can help prevent certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and it can also help manage constipation.
    •Protective substances. Whole foods contain other substances important for good health. Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain naturally occurring substances called phytochemicals, which may help protect you against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Many are also good sources of antioxidants — substances that slow down oxidation, a natural process that leads to cell and tissue damage.

    Who needs supplements?

    If you’re generally healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, you likely don’t need supplements.

    However, the dietary guidelines recommend supplements — or fortified foods — in the following situations:

    Women who may become pregnant should get 400 micrograms a day of folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, in addition to eating foods that naturally contain folate.
    •Women who are pregnant should take a prenatal vitamin that includes iron or a separate iron supplement.
    •Adults age 50 or older should eat foods fortified with vitamin B-12, such as fortified cereals, or take a multivitamin that contains B-12 or a separate B-12 supplement.
    •Adults age 65 and older who do not live in assisted living or nursing homes should take 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily to reduce the risk of falls.

    Dietary supplements also may be appropriate if you:
    •Don’t eat well or consume less than 1,600 calories a day.
    •Are a vegan or a vegetarian who eats a limited variety of foods.
    •Don’t obtain two to three servings of fish a week. If you have difficulty achieving this amount, some experts recommend adding a fish oil supplement to your daily regimen.
    •Are a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during your menstrual period.
    •Have a medical condition that affects how your body absorbs or uses nutrients, such as chronic diarrhea, food allergies, food intolerance, or a disease of the liver, gallbladder, intestines or pancreas.
    •Have had surgery on your digestive tract and are not able to digest and absorb nutrients properly.

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