You’ve heard the arguments from whole foods only advocates, and what they say seems to make sense. Why would you take a supplement for something when you could get it from a local, organic whole food instead? Going with whole foods can help you plan healthier meals, feel fuller with fewer calories if done wisely, and supports the local economy. Isn’t this a win-win situation?
In an ideal world, yes, but it’s virtually impossible for almost anyone to get 100 percent of their nutrition from foods alone. Once you start adding in the need for all those minerals and vitamins you’ve never heard of (but which are paramount), you suddenly realize you’d need a 5,000+ calorie per day diet to work it all in. Unless you’re a professional body builder or Dwayne Johnson, that’s not going to work.
A case for supplements
It’s true: Whenever possible, get as many vitamins and minerals as you can from whole foods. However, there’s a caveat. A lot of people have food sensitivities or health issues (such as high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, etc.) that makes it very difficult to get the nutrition they need from foods without upsetting their sensitivities or health issues. Let’s say you want to get in your daily reverstrol, but you’re pre-diabetic and there are only a few places to get this naturally (the skin of red grapes, mainly). They’re loaded with sugar, so what can you do?
Do the best you can given your unique parameters, budget and preferences and then supplement the rest. However, don’t just reach for the most available or cheapest supplements available. Do your research and choose a supplement with no additives and with reviews from independent testing organizations. Many times, you can get all natural ground supplements (turmeric is a great example) that’s basically the same thing as spooning powdered turmeric from your spice cupboard.
Mix things up
Humans are prone to getting into ruts, and that’s never truer than with supplements. Change up what you eat each week so that you’re getting your nutrition from different whole foods each week and supplementing with others. To make sure you’re on track, get an annual nutrition deficiency test from your doctor. Together, you can pinpoint where you need some work and test which foods and/or supplements your body responds to best.
Supplements are just what they sound like: They “supplement” a healthy diet, they don’t replace it. Treat them as such, and the path to health will be much smoother.