Just read an interesting news story about a recent study that looked at three popular weight loss diets:
No surprises there for me – the study confirms what I see daily in my practice. People who follow weight loss diets put their overall health at risk when they don’t seek proper nutritional guidance.
You may think – simple to solve, just take a vitamin. Good idea, but consider that while many health-conscious dieters do take a supplemental multivitamin, I find that most do not select one that is actually the best match for their needs. Often selections are made based on cost, convenience, or the desire to take as few capsules or tablets as possible. Even people who choose more pricey supplements may not fully appreciate the differences in product formulations. (I often compare understanding nutrition to understanding the US tax code – which is why I trust and rely on my accountant to do my taxes!)
Consider this: a superior quality vitamin generally costs less than $1 per day, and an even more comprehensive supplement regimen may only equal the price of a single Starbucks beverage or an after-work beer.
But outlay is only half the equation. The most important cost benefit is the results: my patients typically report increases in energy, reduction in hunger, less frequent colds, and improvements in sleep (among other things) when the missing nutrient needs we identify are consistently met.
You may think, well if a diet was well-designed, certainly I could get everything I needed from food. Maybe yes, maybe no. A well-designed, well-balanced diet would include things like organ meat, seafood, bone broth, fermented foods, properly prepared grains and seeds, grass-fed dairy, meat, and eggs, and of course a few helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Do you have to eat like this to be healthy? No, but it is the best way to ensure that you are meeting all of your nutrient requirements – both macronutrient and micronutrient (vitamins and minerals).
For myself, I typically come close to that way of eating (organ meats present a challenge mostly due to availability), but find that I still feel better when I take certain supplements on a regular basis, including a multivitamin, highly absorbable minerals, a few food-based products, a supportive herb mixture, and functional nutrients like coenzyme Q10 and inositol. Is the cost worth it? I think so, but the only way to really know is to first follow the most nourishing diet plan you can, get a review of any potential nutrient gaps, and then add in a targeted supplement plan that is carefully matched to your needs.
A well-designed supplement plan, together with the most nutrient-dense diet you can consistently follow is an investment in your health and the quality of your life. Don’t risk it – your body is amazing but can’t go on indefinitely lacking even a single nutrient without showing some signs eventually. Get the guidance of a qualified nutritionist – your body is the most important asset you will ever have!