Whole Food Nutrition vs. Synthetic Vitamins which is healthier? Ever since I can remember my mom has been a health nut. We have always taken nutritional supplements and eaten organic food as much as possible. Over the years of taking vitamins supplements, I didn’t notice a change in my health. I did notice when I ate whole foods I felt better than when I ate chemically manufactured fast food. The fast food made my stomach burn. I can also remember not eating meat until I went to school. I think that vitamins are a waste of money. All they do is make my pee turn yellow. Whole food nutrition, which consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds and nuts, is the only way to live. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that protect us from chronic diseases. Compared with people who consume small amounts of fruits and vegetables, those who eat more generous amounts as a part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic disease (“Fruit”). Americans want to believe in vitamin and mineral pills. We spend an estimated $10 Billion on them in 2008, according to the Nutrition Business Journal (“One a Day”). Major health organizations for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease all advise against supplements in favor of healthful diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Unlike pills, those foods contain fiber plus thousands of health protective substances that seem to work together more powerfully than any single ingredient can work alone (“One a Day”). Eating whole food is the safest way of getting nutritional support for our bodies and immune system. Since food is not a pill, over dosing is never a problem. Over eating can be a problem, causing weight gain and other health issues. On the other hand over dosing on vitamins can be toxic if taken in high doses for a long time. For instance, beta-carotene can increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers. In addition, a government surveys found that more than 11 percent of adults take at least 400 units of vitamin E a day, a dose that has been linked to heart failure, strokes, and increased risk of death (“One a Day”). There are foods that provide nutrients that our bodies need instead of having to swallow so many expensive pills. There are foods that provide natural energy for our bodies, foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans. People who want to spice up weight loss add cayenne and other spicy peppers and salsas to their diet. Studies show that very spicy food temporarily increase that rate which fat is burned (“Total”). So instead of taking a fat burning pill, eat fat burning foods. Here is so information on how to spot whole food. Look for foods as close to their natural state as possible. For an example think of the continuum from whole apples to applesauce to cider to apple juice. Be sure you can identify the real food in a product. If you can’t tell what the original source is, then a product has probably strayed too far from its natural state. Experts believe that nutrients likely act differently when they exist in the unique combinations that occur naturally in foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds contain a virtual symphony of vitamins, minerals and fiber that likely work together to shore up health and help protect against chronic disease. When you ingest whole food instead of a single nutrient, it’s like walking through an entire forest rather than looking at a single leaf (Palmer). Vitamins have lost their sheen, and there are more doubts than ever about taking them in pill form. Large doses of single vitamins aren’t a good idea, the benefit is doubtful, and some can cause harm (“Vitamins”). It’s so funny when I walk into a vitamin store and the sales associates run up and offer all the latest vitamin supplements that help this part of the body and that keep you from contracting this disease. I wasn’t looking for vitamins in the first place. I go to vitamin shops for protein powder. Here are some other reasons why I’m not interested in beefing up on vitamin intake. The Physician’s 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 Women’s 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 (Palmer). Scientist believe that folic acid protects the body from developing cancerous tumors by repairing errors in DNA. Yet too much may actually nurture the growth of tumors once they form. What’s important to note is that this delicate balancing act is mostly a problem with supplemental folic acid, the form of the vitamin added to supplements and fortified foods. Not with foliate, the natural form of the vitamin found in foods. Whole foods first! Manufacturer’s of vitamin supplements make us think that food doesn’t have all the nutrients we need. So they push vitamins for all kinds of things to make us healthy, so they like us to think. After researching, I have found out that B vitamins don’t prevent heart attacks. Vitamin E doesn’t benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamins A, C, and E do not offer any cancer protection. But nutrition experts say that getting crucial nutrients from food, when possible, is better than popping pills. The American Dietetic Association, in fact, has updated its guidelines on nutrient supplementation and now stresses that eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best way to get needed nutrients and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The update comes at a time when nutrient supplementation continues to be a growing trend in the United States. Americans spent more than $23 billion on dietary supplements in 2007, according to the association's report, and one-third of adults use a multivitamin and mineral supplement regularly. Others use a variety of supplements, which prompts worry among health experts about the potential negative effects of mega doses (Healthday) . So what makes it better to get nutrients from foods rather than pills? "Foods are special," said Andrea P. Boyar, an associate professor of dietetic foods and nutrition at Lehman College of the City University of New York. Foods are complex, and the nutrients within them interact in different and more beneficial ways than they would in supplements. Also, many foods contain healthy dietary fiber, which isn't part of a multivitamin supplement, she said. “Food is still the ideal," Boyar said, stressing that she means "whole foods" -- those that are not processed or are as minimally processed as possible. Yet Boyar and other nutrition experts concede that supplements can often fill dietary gaps. That's particularly true, she said, for vitamin D and calcium, especially as people age. She also cited iron, which is often needed by premenopausal women, who lose it with their monthly periods. And, for women of childbearing age, folate supplements have been shown to help prevent birth defects. Overuse of supplements, though -- and particularly megadoses -- worries health experts. Mega doses of vitamin E, for instance, are particularly hazardous, Boyar said. As for the ideal food-supplement balance, Penny M. Kris-Etherton, a nutrition professor at Penn State University, said that "ideal" depends on the individual but, in general, think healthy whole foods first. "Food does not just provide one nutrient but a lot of nutrients and collectively helps individuals meet their nutrient needs," Kris-Etherton (Healthday).
Whole Food Nutrition vs. Vitamin Supplements. That’s what medical scientist and research professionals are trying to determine. More and more, medical doctors are seeing individuals who practice whole food nutrition maintain a lifestyle of health, healing and vitality. Medical doctors, medical scientist and research professionals want to know why and how whole food nutrition accomplishes this. They also want to know what effect whole food nutrition has on improving the health of individuals with certain diseases, such as cancer. Medical/Scientific research is presently being conducted at various hospitals throughout the United States to see what, if any, health benefits whole food nutrition, (i.e. fruits, vegetables, berries) has on individuals with certain types of cancer. This is being done through the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute. This medical research is “gold standard”, that is, peer reviewed and will be published in medical journals. This research is exciting and the results are highly anticipated. As shown, we as a nation, spend a great deal of money trying to improve our health with vitamin supplements, when, what we might just find from this research is what Hippocrates, (300 BC), the Father of modern medicine, said: “Let medicine be your food, and food be your medicine.