There are a lot of food supplements out there, but do you know who needs them the most? Before we get started, let’s find out what exactly are food supplements, and what nutrients do they offer.
What are Food Supplements?
The main idea of food supplements, also known as nutritional or dietary supplements, is to carry the nutrients that you may not consume in sufficient quantities. These include:
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids
The majority of food supplements are delivered in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, liquid, etc.
Remember you only need a certain amount for each nutrient. If you consume them at high doses, they may have adverse effects and may become harmful. That’s why it is very important to follow the food supplement manufacturer daily dose recommendation, and to never exceed that dose.
Before taking a dietary supplement, ask yourself these questions:
- What are the potential health benefits of this food supplement product?
- What are the potential benefits for me?
- What is the proper dose to take?
- How, when, and for how long should I take it?
Note that women consume food supplements more than men, and more than 50% of adults take supplements regularly.
Who Needs Food Supplements?
Those who live a hectic lifestyle
The most important thing one must understand is that supplements are not a substitute for a balanced healthy diet. However, they work great in complementing your existing diet.
A balanced diet should consist of the following:
- Unprocessed or whole-grain cereals and starches;
- Fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Milk and dairy products;
- Lean meat, fish and eggs;
- Poly- or monounsaturated fats and oils, and nuts.
If you eat plenty of these foods, you probably will not require any additional supplements.
Unfortunately, in today’s hectic society, most of us do not eat a balanced diet. If you are the common ones, taking food supplements can offer you tremendous benefits and ensure a healthy body.
Lose Weight Diet
If you are in a diet where you only eat one type of food, like high in proteins and low in carbohydrates, or vice versa, you are not getting all the nutrients you need.
If you suffer from anorexia and/or bulimia, you are definitely starving yourself, and certainly don’t have a balanced food intake.
Vegetarian or Vegan Diets
If you have a strict vegetarian or vegan diets, you need iron, zinc and vitamin B12.
If you suffer from any allergy or food sensitive, like milk and/or gluten intolerance, you tend to have calcium and vitamin B deficiencies. So taking food supplements is a good idea.
Some chronic medications interfere with the uptake of micronutrients, so you may need to add them to your diet.
Many people suffer from impaired digestion and this may lead to a lack of several nutrients, which in turn make you in need of food supplements.
Social groups with increased nutrient needs like:
- Lactating Women and
For example, teenage girls need to increase the consumption of iron and calcium since many of them are perpetually trying to lose weight.
Consider the following table:
|Population Group||Nutrients Needed|
|People over age 50||Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Folate|
|Women of childbearing age||Folic acid, vitamin D and in some case iron|
|Children under age 5||Vitamins A, C & D|
|Breastfeeding Women||Vitamin D|
|People who are not exposed to the sun||Vitamin D|
|Vegans||Vitamins B12 and D2|
The list is never ending. Most of us need additional food supplements because we don’t have a balanced diet. For those who eat out often, getting a balanced diet can become a bigger challenge.
So this might probably be the reason why over 50% of adults take food supplements on a regular basis.