What’s wrong with you people? Why aren’t you eating your fruits and vegetables?
We are told, over and over again, that there is no need for multivitamin supplements–it’s a waste of money, a scam, nothing but “expensive urine, a nefarious hoax foisted upon a gullible public by snake oil selling ne’er do wells! Why? Because all you need to do is eat a well balanced diet. What could be more simple, more easy?
This anti-supplement mantra surfaces every time there is talk about multivitamin supplements. Ignored is the fact that study after study, survey after survey, government or private, shows that people do not do it! They just don’t.
The most recent evidence of this is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Fruit and vegetable intake has been persistently low for years but we just recently developed a way to look at how each state is doing” in terms of meeting recommendations, said lead author Latetia V. Moore of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC.
They report that less than 15 percent of adults in the U.S. eat enough fruit daily to meet federal recommendations. The number for vegetables is even lower. Please note that we are talking big time low, 15 percent and lower–that is heavy duty low!
On average, in 2013, half of the respondents actually consumed fruit less than once daily, and vegetables less than 1.7 times daily. Bear in mind that during this time, nutritionists have been emphasizing how important fruits and vegetables are to our overall health and well being. “Fruits and vegetables are major contributors of important nutrients that are typically lacking from Americans’ diets and they can protect against many leading causes of illness and death like heart disease, stroke and some cancers,” Moore said. “Eating fruits and vegetables in place of foods that are high in calories, added sugars, and solid fat can also help with weight management.”
Yes, we need to continue to encourage people to increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. But at the same time, we need to face up to certain realities. The fact is, for whatever reason, eating well is not easy. Recognizing this, we should be encouraging people to take a daily multivitamin multimineral supplement, not discouraging them. In fact, a phyto-nutrient rich antioxidant supplement, to further compensate for the lack of fruits and vegetables, should probably be a part of the daily regimen as well.
There is no need for dieticians to fear that people will interpret this to mean they can “substitute” a vitamin supplement in place of a healthy diet! People, obviously, are already not choosing a healthy diet. So what is there to fear. Focus, instead, on doing whatever is necessary to improve their nutrient levels–even if it means endorsing the use of vitamin supplements.
Don Goldberg, R.Ph.