The majority of adults in the United States take a supplement. A supplement includes: vitamins, minerals, herbs, protein powders, shakes, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and the list goes on and on!
Do we really need to be taking these? In my opinion, yes, many of us can benefit from a multivitamin, vitamin D or even a protein shake, for example. However, supplements are just that…a SUPPLEMENT. They do not replace food. Some experts think that if you are eating less than 1600 calories on a daily basis then you can likely benefit from taking a dietary supplement. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement can insure your body that you are meeting your needs to develop muscles, proper neural function, maintain energy levels, preserve bone and all the other physiologic functions your body performs on a daily basis. Very few of us need a multivitamin that provides greater than 100% of the daily recommended allowance of any nutrient. Again, these supplement your diet. If you are choosing mostly whole, unprocessed foods then you do not need a powerful multivitamin. In fact, high levels of vitamins can enhance the disease process, including some cancers.
Let’s look at protein powders/shakes. There are so many on the market! Most active people can benefit from a protein shake for breakfast, pre- or post-workout. The scary thing about protein powders is that many of the most widely used are loaded with toxic metals, artificial sweeteners, colorings, dyes and other random chemicals that can harm your body. If you are going to purchase a protein powder, why not choose one with added nutrients? My favorites are whole food powders that are made of real food and free of metals, dyes and other chemicals, such as Vega One or Amazing Grass Raw Reserve. There are some great ready-to-drink products out there as well. My go to is Orgain 25 gram protein.
Much of the food we are consuming is so processed that it isn’t “real.” Chicken breasts at some restaurants are hardly made of chicken breast at all, but chicken parts and chicken flavoring molded into the shape of a breast. Some experts believe that if more than three meals per week are eaten out, you are lacking nutrition and too many chemically processed foods are being consumed. You are what you eat!