Food ver­sus pills

Can a pill ever out­per­form real food for bet­ter nutri­tion? Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion finds out

Men's Fitness - - Contents - Words Joel Snape

This ad­vice from food writer Michael Pol­lan, au­thor of The Omnivore’s

Dilemma, is short, mem­o­rable and – on the face of it – pretty sen­si­ble. Twinned with a cou­ple of his other di­etary com­mand­ments – “Don’t eat any­thing your grand­mother wouldn’t recog­nise” and “Don’t eat any­thing you can’t spell” – it’s be­come the go-to ad­vice for any­one who wants to keep eat­ing healthy and easy. But is it really that sim­ple?

For one thing, there’s com­pelling ev­i­dence that “real” food isn’t as real as it once was, its nu­tri­tional value leached out by se­lec­tive breed­ing, fac­tory farm­ing and over-pro­cess­ing. For an­other, pills and pow­ders have never been more ad­vanced, and the best ones har­ness decades of sci­en­tific re­search into best-prac­tice nutri­tion to help you top up on nu­tri­ents that are nearly im­pos­si­ble to get else­where.

And as a man in­ter­ested in fit­ness, your needs are likely to be a bit dif­fer­ent from those of the more, shall we say, couch-lov­ing gen­tle­man. So based on the ev­i­dence, do you need sup­ple­ments in your life? Can they ever be bet­ter than the real thing? And might the day come when you can live on them ex­clu­sively?

“Eat­food. Not­too much. Mostly plants.”

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