* This is part of a year-long weekly series called “52 Weeks to Eating better than Ever”. Click on the side bar for more information and to read the previous essays.
There are several major problems with supplements, not just one.
The primary problem with supplements is that they are not regulated closely and so they should be used with extreme caution. There have been numerous cases in recent years where supplements purported to contain one thing contained something else entirely, and in addition many supplements even contained toxic substances. Green Tea Extract is one such supplement, among many, and it comes in many products on the shelves of health food stores. I personally know several people who got sick from taking it, and this is only one example. Millions of people all over the world use weight loss supplements every year, and these too are poorly regulated and their safety and efficacy is questionable. Herbal supplements too, are not certain to be of high quality.
Secondarily, I’ve found that the supplement industry feeds off unwitting consumers. The marketing of supplements is cheesy at best and predatory at worst. Ask yourself this: If something is really that great, does it need millions of dollars per year in advertising and marketing? Billions of dollars per year are spent every year on supplements, much of it a complete waste. Most supplements, frankly, don’t work or have not been proven to work. Where does the “research” come from? Usually, from the supplement company themselves!
Finally, many people take supplements thinking they will make up for a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle by popping a pill. If you don’t eat right, a supplement is not going to do much. If you don’t exercise, I don’t care how many supplements you take, you won’t be fit. If you smoke and have too much stress or not enough sleep, supplements won’t make any difference. Supplements, if they are used, should be as an afterthought to a comprehensively healthy way of life- eating right, being active, and doing things daily that are good for you mentally, physically, and spiritually.
It’s not that you should never take a supplement but you should never rely on them as a primary source of nutrition and health, and you should always be extremely cautious.
From now on, food is our medicine. Food is our joy. Food is our friend, not supplements.
Eating is a pleasure to be savored and enjoyed, healthily and slowly, and with gratitude and enjoyment to nourish us inside and out.
Pills are to be avoided, if possible. We know what an apple, a grass-fed steak, or brown rice is.
We don’t always know for sure what that little capsule is. Eat to be healthy, don’t take supplements to be healthy.
For more info, I created a free PDF for you on supplements. Click here to download Scott Godwin’s Guide to Supplements.
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Read Next: The “Religion” of Health