Vitamins, supplements are no replacement for a balanced diet

Roughly 90% of American adults do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but many are trying to make up for it by popping pills.

According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, 75% of U.S. adults take a dietary supplement of some kind. Multivitamins, many people believe, are a one-step way to get the nutrients they need.

But new research suggests that vitamins and supplements may not be enough to keep you healthy.

Nutrients consumed via supplements do not improve health and longevity as effectively as those consumed through foods, according to the study. While getting the right nutrients in the right quantities from food was associated with a longer life, the same wasn’t true for nutrients from supplements, says study co-author Fang Fang Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.

“For the general population, there’s no need to take dietary supplements,” Zhang says. “More and more evidence suggests no benefits, so we should go with what the dietary recommendations suggest to achieve adequate nutrition from food, rather than relying on supplements.”

 

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