May 2009 Issue

Keys To Good Health: Why Whole Foods Have The Edge Over Supplements

A 2008 survey by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a Washington, D.C.-based group representing supplement makers, revealed that 64% of American adults now take dietary supplements. Yet, headlines this past year proclaimed little measurable health benefit from B vitamins, vitamins C and E or multivitamins. What to do? Giving up supplements may not be the answer, especially considering the low-risk diet insurance a daily multivitamin/mineral provides. The smartest nutrition move may be shifting your diet toward whole foods, which provide combinations of important nutrients the way nature intended. The lesson? Donít subtract supplements, add whole foods.Are Supplement Benefits a Bust? The latest study to question the benefits of supplements appeared in the February 9 Archives of Internal Medicine. After eight years of following more than 160,000 postmenopausal women in the Womenís Health Initiative, researchers could find no evidence that multis had any influence on the incidence of common cancers, cardiovascular disease or death from any cause. Even oft-lauded antioxidant supplements seem to be losing their luster. The Physicianís Health Study II, which followed more than 14,000 male physicians for 10 years, found that supplementing with vitamins C and E did not reduce the risk of prostate cancer, cancers in total or major cardiovascular events. And the Womenís Health Study, which evaluated nearly 40,000 female health professionals for 10 years, showed that vitamin E supplements did not prevent cardiovascular disease or cancer.

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