I get most of my vi­ta­mins from pills. Will this do me any harm?

Men's Health (Australia) - - Ask Mh - ED

While your faith in science is ad­mirable, it would be none­the­less naive to sup­pose that we have reached the stage at which food is in­ter­change­able with tablets. How­ever, it ap­pears that you are not alone – re­cent re­ports show al­most half of us take vi­ta­mins daily, with sales now out­strip­ping that of painkillers. What you need to know is that there’s a very good rea­son they’re called “sup­ple­ments”. Pop­ping a mul­ti­vi­ta­min with your plate of chips is no re­place­ment for a proper meal.

Aside from their lack of di­etary fi­bre, kilo­joules and fats, syn­thetic nu­tri­ents are not utilised by your body quite so eas­ily as those from whole­foods. “Some pills dis­in­te­grate too slowly for your body to fully ab­sorb the vi­ta­mins,” says nu­tri­tion­ist James White.

How­ever, us­ing tablets as a daily top-up can be a sen­si­ble strat­egy. “I see sup­ple­men­ta­tion as an in­surance pol­icy,” says White. “They’re a nu­tri­tional safety net for when you run into nat­u­ral de­fi­cien­cies – vi­ta­min D, for ex­am­ple, can of­ten be hard to ob­tain through food and sun­light alone.”

So, if your diet isn’t mea­sur­ing up, keep pop­ping (only as rec­om­mended, though). Just con­sider tak­ing a de­tour to the meds via the fruit-and-veg aisle.


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