Take supplements only if necessary

Supplements or whole food – which is good for health? Opinion varies from person to person. As many are always looking for the magic pill or the secret powder to help them reach their fitness, weight loss, or performance goals, there are people who believe nothing can be equivalent to whole food. This disparity has led to certain myths which need to be clarified.

“Mostly nutritional supplements are recommended for children, pregnant women and old people. In India, people generally suffer from micro-nutrient deficiency,” says Charu Dua, chief dietician, Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital.

“A majority of population suffers from deficiency of Vitamins A, B12, D and Iron. To bridge the gap one needs to take supplements in the daily diet. Supplements are recommended only after checking the blood report of the patient,” she says.

The first thing that comes to mind is whether ‘dietary supplements are harmful’?"

Supplements have high nutritional value and they should always be taken in appropriate quantity,” says Mukta Vasishta, head of department nutrition and dietetics, Sir Gangaram Hospital. “If supplements are taken in excess, without the recommendation of the doctor, then it can lead to even kidney damage.”

She cautions that one should never take the supplements on their own and before taking any supplement one should always consult a nutritionist or a doctor.

People, quite often, consume supplements to reduce weight. Manjari Chandra, consultant therapeutic nutritionist at Manjari Wellness says, "Losing weight is a challenging task that requires determination and will power to succeed. No type of dietary supplement has ever been shown to directly aid in fat reduction. In fact, quite the opposite is true.”

“Many dieters think of weight loss pills as an easy and hassle-free way to lose weight that will allow them to continue making unhealthy lifestyle choices. However, this assumption is completely false. There is no pill, powder or supplement that can be a substitute for healthy eating and physical activity. The health benefits of exercise go far beyond weight loss, and healthy eating fuels a healthy body,” she says.

According to her most supplements have simple carbohydrates and less soluble fibre making their glycemic index high. On the other hand, whole food like legumes, whole wheat, brown rice that have complex carbohydrates, bran enriched with nutrients which provides more satiety and keep the blood sugar and triglyceride levels in check
are recommended.

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