Diet-to-Go Blog
  1. Do You Really Need Vitamins and Supplements?

    I don't know about you but whenever I see TV commercials that show active men and women looking all smiling and happy because they take vitamins or supplements... well, I start to feel bad about the fact that I do not choke down such things on a regular basis.

    I usually make a mental vow to start taking a daily vitamin. The new gummy ones for adults are especially attractive to a kid at heart like Mr. Bad Food.

    But after watching a recent Good Morning America report that basically says most people can get the vitamins and minerals they need from a balanced diet, I am rethinking my beliefs.

    After all, the Diet-to-Go low-fat meal plan that I have been enjoying for the past year meet the guidelines of major health organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.

    These delicious meals are properly portioned and balanced to give me what I need to get healthy and maybe even lose a little weight while I do so.

    So if the GMA report is true, why are so many people plunking down so much money -- about $20 billion a year -- for vitamins and dietary supplements?

    According to industry data, about half of all adult Americans take a daily multivitamin. So are we frittering away our money by doing so?

    Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' senior health and medical editor, says that for most people, eating a well-balanced diet from all the food groups is the best way to ensure you get the vitamins you need.

    Besser doesn't take vitamins and he doesn't recommend them for his patients who follow a well-balanced diet and aren't in any particular risk groups.

    Mr. Bad Food doesn't want you to stop taking vitamins or supplements -- especially if you've been urged to do so by your doctor. But what you can do is to make sure your daily diet is well-rounded so you are getting the nutrients you need to be healthy without supplements.

    Two groups that should consider vitamins: pregnant women and the elderly. The best bets: Folic acid, vitamin D and calcium.

    Folic acid is vital to a baby's early development.

    "If you're in the child-bearing age, you need to take folic acid," Besser said. "It's really early in pregnancy that you need to have those high levels of folic acid.

    "Start taking it now and take it through the period where you may have children."

    Vitamin D is essential for bone health and we become deficient as we age. The good news: Many people get enough vitamin D through normal sun exposure.

    "Vitamin D is extremely important," Besser said. "I am convinced about the importance of vitamin D in your bone health."

    As we age, our skin loses its ability to make vitamin D. So if you're older or live in a northern climate where the sun isn't a daily visitor you may need more vitamin D.

    Besser said it's not a bad idea to combine calcium with your vitamin D.

    "When you mix calcium and vitamin D, that's when you get those strong bones," he said.

    Sorry gummy vitamins... Mr. Bad Food will stick with his beloved Diet-to-Go meals to get his daily vitamins and minerals!

    Author: John McGran

    Archived posts 2009
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