In my last entry I talked about the term ‘natural’ in relation to nutritional supplements and then made some comments on a whole food multivitamin supplement which a reader asked me about.
This particular supplement was marketed in a very clever way to stress the importance of taking only a natural supplement with natural “whole food” ingredients.
If you read my comments you will see that product is nowhere near as good as it claims to be and because of the huge amount of vitamin C it contains it offers consumers very poor value for money. And some of the “whole food sourced” ingredients it promotes actually do not occur naturally so there’s a nice example of bending the truth to say the least.
Today I thought I would stay with this ‘whole food’ theme.
Another reader (Deb) contacted me early this year and asked my opinion on whole food supplement formulas. You can find her question on the ‘Your Questions’ page at nutritional-supplement-truths.com
So here is a reduced version of my answer to Deb.
Whole foods, fruits and vegetables in this case, are chocked full of crucial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and micro nutrients including potent, disease conquering phytonutrients, a number of which scientists have isolated and many which they believe they don’t know about yet.
Eating whole foods is absolutely the way to go and for a large part of the population there is a need to eat A LOT more –
particularly raw vegetables. Studies show that people (especially adult females) avoid the dark green vegetables in particular. (These are key anti-cancer promoters! )
I eat ALL my vegetables raw. (75% of my entire diet is raw!)
That’s because a extraordinary bio-scientist in Australia explained to me the necessity of this. This amazing lady has a near perfect record of curing cancer in people who seek out her help as well as all kinds of other diseases and medical conditions (all of which stem from nutritional and lifestyle factors!)
So putting aside the extensive on-going debate about the extent to which cooking your vegetables destroys crucial enzymes and nutritional content, I recommend you eat your fruits and vegetables raw.
So, to the question at hand:
SHOULD WE TAKE IN WHOLE FOODS THROUGH SUPPLEMENTS?
Most people under 50 today know about the importance of eating fruits and veggies (and those over 50 always knew) but they don’t want to eat them – certainly not in sufficient quantity. They’ve been cajoled and lured by food scientists/manufacturers/marketers over many years to enjoy the taste of fat and sugar.
But now there appears to be a magic bullet that people, who know they’re not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, have wished for, for so long.
A way to take in enough of those boring fruits and bland tasting vegetables by simply swallowing a whole food pill or three while still continuing to consume nutritionally poor diets full of great tasting (but nutritionally deficient) processed and junk foods.
And whole food supplement manufacturers are playing on this for all they can get.
Unfortunately it’s just not that easy and here’s why.
You would have to be swallowing handful after handful after handful after handful of these whole food vitamin supplements each and every day to be getting the equivalent nutritional value that comes from eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
To take whole foods in supplement form is simply not a practical solution for health conscious consumers!
When preparing a whole food (fruit or vegetable) to be an ingredient in a supplement, the water must be removed by either spray or freeze drying.
After the water is taken out you are left with an amount that is between 1/10 th and 1/50th of the original food mass.
In other words if you had a supplement containing 500mg of a freeze dried whole food then that would be equal to between 2.5 – 5 grams of the real fruit or vegetable.
To put this in perspective, an average sized banana is about 125 grams. So, our 500 mg supplement provides the gross weight and nutritional value of only about 1/25th to 1/50th of a banana!
About one small bite of the banana!
To get the equivalent of one normal size banana you would need to take from twenty five to fifty whole food supplements (500 mg tablets/capsules).
See what I mean?
And I won’t bother to get into the other negatives involved in the preparation of whole food ingredients, like sterilization, milling and distribution times.
Ask yourself why would you bother to purchase a whole food supplement when one decent meal will give you the equivalent nutritional value as about one month’s supply of the supplement.
Think about the cost difference!
And keep in mind that the example above involves only one bite of one type of fruit.
You need a WIDE spectrum of fruits and vegetables daily to take in all the various nutrients you need for good health and to avoid nutritional deficiency based disease.
The Bottom line:
Whole Food Multivitamin Nutritional Supplements SHOULD NOT Be Used As Any Kind Of Substitute For Eating Fresh Vegetables And Fruits!