Monday, September 8, 2008

Again: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. -MP

You all know how I feel about "nutritionism," right? And isolated-vitamin pushers? In case you don't, I consider most vitamin-of-the-month club news to be clever marketing and cringe when I share a meal with someone who a) notices that I haven't ordered a dish with meat and comments/questions me about it, then b) tells me about the importance of protein and iron with no study to source and c) then offers their expert advice on which vitamin/supplement I should be taking.

Anywho... Baltimore Sun reporter Kelly Brewington wrote an article last week about the $9.7 billion dollar vitamin/supplement industry in the U.S. ($ total from 2007) and what advice, if any, may be worthwhile. To give you a few highlights:

- There isn't enough evidence against the practice to tell people to stop taking vitamins but there also isn't really enough to tell people to start taking them.
- Many experts agree about the benefits of Iron for women at childbearing age and calcium and vitamin D for post-menopausal women.
- A lot of the "evidence" can be biased because the vitamin-takers are already leading a healthier lifestyle.
- The bottom line however, is that eating whole, healthy, local and seasonal foods and exercising will serve your body better than any vitamin/mineral supplement.

Check out the article at:,0,4530283.story

*Note: This post of course reminds me of a devastating fact about one in seven children in Africa either going or being born blind from a Vitamin A deficiency (that I will have to look up to report and source properly). I mention this because I'd like to point out that I understand the devastating consequences of a limited diet in certain parts of the world and in no way intend to diminish the importance of a balanced diet. What I am blogging about, and what Kelly Brewington is reporting about, is the supplement industry targeting the health-conscious market in America: a supposedly undernourished yet clearly over-fed population.

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