People wonder if they need to take vitamins and dietary supplements when they eat a well-balanced diet. Especially when following official guidelines from an organization like the USDA.
Should I take supplements when you eat a balanced diet? Yes, we’re all unique and have specific health, fitness, and nutritional needs, so even if you eat food that is seen as a balanced diet, hitting your macronutrient needs, at the right times of the day, is virtually impossible without supplements.
Let’s also be honest, most of us know our diet isn’t perfect too, which is all the more reason to take supplements.
What makes up a healthy balanced diet?
There are a variety of opinions on this that not only depend on who you ask but also where they are from and what food bias they have.
A medical doctor will say one thing, and a nutritionist will say another. Somebody from the USA will have a different idea of what’s right and wrong compared to somebody from China.
People who only eat organic foods, follow a Keto diet, or are vegan will definitively have their own definition. And don’t ask some gym-goers who add protein to everything they consume, it’s the craze these days.
A healthy, balanced diet is very simply a diet that includes a variety of foods. No single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and work as it should.
Following an average and over-simplistic guide, food chart or pyramid will never allow you to reach your potential. However, biohacking food can do this for you.
In reality, we all have specific needs and so you should eat according to your macros. Macros are based on your goals and nutritional needs. They focus on ratios of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats in your diet.
You can find out about them and how to calculate them in this article.
Another thing to be aware of is that we will make better use of certain nutrients at a certain time of the day. Some nutrients work best on an empty stomach, others are best taken before bed. There are some that help us workout and others that help us recover from a workout too.
Nutrition isn’t just about what we eat and drink, it’s about when we eat and drink it too. Doing this with just a balanced diet isn’t very easy.
Good nutrition is not a new topic
In the year 400 BC, Hippocrates said: “Let food be your medicine and medicine, your food.”
It is proven that good nutrition always has a positive result. The right nutrition results in a healthy weight, a remarkable increase in energy, better moods and is a basis for longevity.
Do you know that ten common causes of death in the United States are related to the way we eat?
They include Heart disease, Cancer and Diabetes
Eat, supplement and live right
The fact is that food alone is not the basis for a long, energy-filled fulfilling life.
So, if you are still asking yourself “Should I Take Supplements?” then you need to always remember a few things.
It is true that good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But so is regular physical exercise, and don’t smoke, or drink excessively. And limit exposure to the harmful substances whether they are drugs, toxins, electromagnetic frequencies or things in nature that are not good for you.
Genetics play a part
Genetics is also key when it comes to reducing the risks of certain diseases. Another reason why it’s sometimes necessary to take nutritional supplements.
In order to supplement the daily requirements of our body, you can take vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
The antioxidants present in nutritional supplements protect us from cell damage. They can prevent the development of degenerative diseases and premature aging too.
Check out this article on the best biohacking supplements to discover how to prevent and reverse medical issues as well as achieve optimal health.
What diseases can inadequate nutrition cause?
The lack of vitamins and minerals can contribute to the appearance of many diseases. This includes osteoporosis, heart attacks, atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
A lack of nutrition can also lead to other health problems such as insomnia, poor circulation, and acne. It can also cause gastrointestinal disorders, fatigue, and repeated infections.
Poor nutrition leads to issues in the prostate, arthritis, attention deficit, vertigo, migraines, anemia, and problems in the thyroid gland.
Combining diet with supplements
The supplements, as the name suggests, are not a substitute but a complement to a good diet.
There’s been a lot of debate about the benefits that supplements bring to those who eat a balanced diet.
According to nutritionists and doctors, conventional foods are irreplaceable because our digestive system is designed to process them in a very specific way and time. But there are so many diets now as well as individual eating habits or regional food types.
When you know your macros you can eat food that’s right for you at the time you want it. For example, if you follow an intermittent fasting diet it’s easy to replace missing nutrients efficiently with supplements.
It’s also likely that the cost of eating and drinking to hit your macros will be more expensive if you only eat food and don’t use supplements.
Are supplements just for bodybuilders or those trying to lose weight?
Supplements not only help people who want to build muscle or control their weight, they are also beneficial to everybody, for example:
- Strict vegetarians or vegans
- Mothers who are breastfeeding
- Women who have difficult menstrual periods
- Women who have gone through menopause
- People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery in order to lose weight
- Those who have a medical condition that does not help the way the body digests food, for example, gastrointestinal disease, lactose intolerance, or food allergies
- People who have diseases of the stomach, liver, pancreas or gallbladder
- Older people as they have different nutritional needs
- Children and babies who need certain things to help them grow and develop
- Everybody who wants to minimize the effect in seasonal factors that affect us, such as fewer daylight hours or hayfever
- Anybody suffering from stress or who is at risk of it based on their lifestyle or career
- Those looking to increase their fertility levels
- People with any and all medical conditions whether serious or every day things like having a cold or flu
- Anybody who’s recently taken medication, especially things like antibiotics
- People with sports specific goals and physical requirements
- Those looking to improve their memory and focus
- Men and women suffering from skin or hair problems
I could go on. Everybody can benefit from the right nutrition and this almost certainly means using supplements.
Are Supplements Harmful?
Too much of anything can be bad and this includes supplements. This also applies to nutrition directly from even the best natural food sources.
It all depends on the doses and the specific micronutrient as to the effect something has, good or bad.
Some nutrients, even if taken in huge amounts, can be excreted by the body and don’t cause damage. Others, when they are excessively consumed, can cause serious sickness or worse.
But it’s impossible for negative effects to occur if you take the correct doses and consider things like allergies.
It’s best if foods and supplements minimize the amount of lactose, gluten or any chemical additive if possible.
Supplements are available in different doses and combinations and like food, they vary in quality and makeup. Like food, there are organic,dairy-free, and gluten-free supplements too.
Only a certain amount of each nutrient is needed for the body to function properly, so higher amounts are not necessarily better. In high doses, some nutrients can have adverse effects and become harmful.
Supplements can only be sold legally with a recommended daily dose and a warning statement not to exceed that dose. But advice on pack varies from country to country and even regionally in some counties too. An example of this is cannabis-derived supplements in US States, where it’s illegal in some places. But even a simple multi-vitamin varies between locations.
You can get around certain restrictions because people ship to anywhere via the internet, but I wouldn’t suggest you take a risk. There’s almost always a way to get what you need, you may just need to do a bit more research.
If you decide to take supplements always seek the advice of an expert because we are all unique, not one-size-fits-all individuals.
It is very important to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
You should carefully read the labels of supplements and fortified foods, but that’s just the start of making sure you eat what you should, no more, no less.
When you eat the right food and supplement correctly you transform all areas of your health, fitness, and wellbeing, not just your waistline or one rep max bench press.