Is nutritional supplementation superior to "eating right?"

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    Is nutritional supplementation superior to "eating right?"


    I'm sorta thinkin' out loud, but I believe the answer is a qualified "yes." A good example is: does anyone, other than a few die-hard vegetarians, get anything close to the recommended dosages for certain nutrients, including minerals and antioxidants, that are typically found in fruit and vegetables? I think not...at least not without using nutritional supplements such a V-8 blends, fiber, etc... Also, the way most vegetables are prepared, I seriously doubt what they actually provide is anywhere near what one would get from the same vegetable raw, or at least not overcooked. Also, it would seem that the same vegetarians who may be getting their RDA of veggies and fruit, are most probably suffering from nutritional deficiencies associated with the lacK of eating certain kinds of meat, as well as fish and eggs for the die-hards. Thus, they should be supplementing with protein, and possibly nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium.

    I'm all for balanced eating, but I think as we age, nutritional supplements become more important because our bodies are less forgiving of improper or deficient nutrition (cumulative effect, maybe?). Not only are prepared foods suspect, but I personally believe the ability of the body to utilize the underwhelming amount of certain nutrients in prepared food is most probably compromised by the aging process, so either megadoses of certain nutrients, or the addition of compunds that increase bioavailabilty such as piperine or grapefruit, would seem necessary. What are your thoughts?

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    With our depleted soil etc it is hard to get all the nutrients you need. Especially if you are training hard. And all I can say about the "die hard vegitarians" that I know and see at the health food sores is that they look very tired and unhealthy to me. they dont get enough protein and dont watch what they eat as tehy think if it is organic that they are getting all the need.
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    IMO if your diet is truly a solid diet, you should be deriving everything you need from it-save for a few scoops of Isolate here and there. Unless one suffers from a medical condition in which a said supplement is neccessary for their recovery, I do not think any supplement is neccessary. IMO, the nomenclature speaks for itself supplements supplement proper nutrition and training.
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    Food is # 1 growth factor.
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    There are a myriad of factors that contribute to deficiencies..depleted soil as BBuck stated is one. The fact that over the last 60 years we have bred vegetables to be milder tasting is another. Milder tasting relates directly to mineral, vitamin and phytonutrient content. Just compare home grown heirloom tomatoes to store bought sometime..you'll see.

    Vegans often suffer from lots of deficiencies, iron, b12, protein among them.

    Most of the US population is deficient in magnesium, folic acid, b12 and vitamin D to name a few.

    There are other, man made factors that are exacerbating deficiencies as well. With these factors, one can a have can have the hypothetically perfect diet and still not absorb enough of nutrient X, Y or Z. Drug and chemical exposures are under increasing scrutiny for this reason.

    In my readings, I have seen a link between b12 deficency and antibiotic use. In short, everyone knows about the ways that anti-B's kill off your intestinal flora..the flora that produce b12 and other nutrients. What is less known is that Anti-B's destroy a portion of the lining of the intestines that absorb b12, called the intrinsic factor. Once this intrinsic factor is reduced or destroyed, your body will have a hard time absorbing enough b12 to perform all the various functions it does...like modulate the immune system, the nervous sytem and many other key metabolic parameters.

    THIS is why I had such severe allergies for so many years. I used anti-B's heavily as a teen to control acne and it was after this that I developed severe allergies. Oral b12, not surprisingly, did nothing as my intestines could not absorb it properly. When I began pinning b12..wow, the difference in quality of life was amazing and really opened my eyes to deficiency related problems.

    An excellent diet is the first line of defense, but even with that there are often factors that are beyond our control that may make supplementation a wise move.
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    I'm going to say a qualified "no". Humans evolved on whole foods not pills and protein powder. Start with a balanced, whole food diet with lots of vegetables (many have negligible kcals so eat up) and if you cant address any deficiencies that arise with an adjustment in whole foods, look to supplementation.

    It seems that people often think they are short on nutrients and then start popping pills without any scientific confirmation. I swear that people want to take supplements whether or not they really need them.

    I don't buy that athletes necessarily have a harder time being able to source adequate nutrients. Active people require more energy than sedentary ones and this means they have to eat more food. More food brings more nutrients.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bioman
    There are a myriad of factors that contribute to deficiencies..depleted soil as BBuck stated is one. The fact that over the last 60 years we have bred vegetables to be milder tasting is another. Milder tasting relates directly to mineral, vitamin and phytonutrient content. Just compare home grown heirloom tomatoes to store bought sometime..you'll see.

    Vegans often suffer from lots of deficiencies, iron, b12, protein among them.

    Most of the US population is deficient in magnesium, folic acid, b12 and vitamin D to name a few.

    There are other, man made factors that are exacerbating deficiencies as well. With these factors, one can a have can have the hypothetically perfect diet and still not absorb enough of nutrient X, Y or Z. Drug and chemical exposures are under increasing scrutiny for this reason.

    In my readings, I have seen a link between b12 deficency and antibiotic use. In short, everyone knows about the ways that anti-B's kill off your intestinal flora..the flora that produce b12 and other nutrients. What is less known is that Anti-B's destroy a portion of the lining of the intestines that absorb b12, called the intrinsic factor. Once this intrinsic factor is reduced or destroyed, your body will have a hard time absorbing enough b12 to perform all the various functions it does...like modulate the immune system, the nervous sytem and many other key metabolic parameters.

    THIS is why I had such severe allergies for so many years. I used anti-B's heavily as a teen to control acne and it was after this that I developed severe allergies. Oral b12, not surprisingly, did nothing as my intestines could not absorb it properly. When I began pinning b12..wow, the difference in quality of life was amazing and really opened my eyes to deficiency related problems.

    An excellent diet is the first line of defense, but even with that there are often factors that are beyond our control that may make supplementation a wise move.

    Good post, reps for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bioman
    An excellent diet is the first line of defense, but even with that there are often factors that are beyond our control that may make supplementation a wise move.
    Absolutely

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    Humans evolved on whole foods not pills and protein powder.
    What, and our food supply hasn't evolved, i.e. all of the processing, into more calorie-dense-less-nutrient-dense?? Give me a break, this is what supplements are to be used for, to supplement what is lacking in our diets, and sometimes that is out of our control.

    You can continue to eat "whole foods," but the fact is that unless it is 100% organic, you will probably only get ~25% of the nutrients that you would have for the same piece of food 50 years ago...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mass_69
    What, and our food supply hasn't evolved, i.e. all of the processing, into more calorie-dense-less-nutrient-dense??
    What sort of whole food processing are you referring to? How does it affect calorie density? Maybe our definitions dont match.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mass_69
    Give me a break, this is what supplements are to be used for, to supplement what is lacking in our diets, and sometimes that is out of our control.
    In so far as that statement I agree with you however the original title and post proposed that a supplement + prepared food diet is superior to a supplement free optimal diet. Sorry I really don't buy that.

    First off, how do you know what is lacking in your diet? Do you perform a nutritional analysis of your meal plan and compare it to the RDA? Do you go to the lab and have a work up done? The vast majority of people who buy supplements do nothing of the sort. About the only time they get a scientific analysis is when they develop a conditon and seek professional help. The rest of the people arbitrarily decide what they need, usually taking a shotgun approach, and take a whole bunch of stuff. So IMO it is debatable whether all these people actually 'need' their supplements. Taking unecessary supplements is often not harmful but some are expensive; if they really arent helpful why would I want to buy them...

    Secondly, the North American diet is hardly optimal. There are many improvements that the average person can make before resorting to supplements. The question is do they want to? A danish is not a complete breakfast. A sandwich does not make potato chips and soda a healthy meal. A refined protein powder + refined carb post workout shake is a great source of empty calories. Of all the people you know how many are committed to eating 5+ balanced, whole food, junk food free, meals per day? I wonder how many people use supplements as a crutch to justify them not making healthy dietary changes...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mass_69
    You can continue to eat "whole foods," but the fact is that unless it is 100% organic, you will probably only get ~25% of the nutrients that you would have for the same piece of food 50 years ago...
    Hey I'm more than willing to be proven wrong. From where did you source that fact?
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    A study I read a few years ago showed that if an american ate a well balanced 3000 calorie diet that they would still be lacking in some nutrients. Imagine if your average man and women ate the many calories.
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    That's the thing though, Nitrox, though I agree that a superior diet is the way to go..I just don't think there are that many people who honestly have one. I sure don't and indeed I do try to make up for this with supplements because I know I lack the dietary discipline to get those 5 servings of veggies and enough fiber. Many dietary purists sneer at this approach, but realistically I think it has value in today's world if one is unwilling, as most are, to eat perfectly 100% of the time.

    And taking a little extra folic acid or whatever is certainly better than being deficient or running the risk of deficiency.

    If I could afford the comprehensive blood nutrient panel that costs $1500, I'd do it out of curiosity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    What sort of whole food processing are you referring to? How does it affect calorie density? Maybe our definitions dont match.
    No definition discrepency, you just misread/misunderstood my statement. I had a comma separating the two (processing & calorie density), as I was making examples of how our food supply has evolved, and I did not say whole foods when referring to processing, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    In so far as that statement I agree with you however the original title and post proposed that a supplement + prepared food diet is superior to a supplement free optimal diet. Sorry I really don't buy that.
    What is an "optimal diet" to you? "Whole foods," in which much of the vitamin & mineral content has dramitically dropped in recent decades? Organic foods? Even "organic" foods are processed to an extent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    First off, how do you know what is lacking in your diet? Do you perform a nutritional analysis of your meal plan and compare it to the RDA? Do you go to the lab and have a work up done? The vast majority of people who buy supplements do nothing of the sort. About the only time they get a scientific analysis is when they develop a conditon and seek professional help. The rest of the people arbitrarily decide what they need, usually taking a shotgun approach, and take a whole bunch of stuff. So IMO it is debatable whether all these people actually 'need' their supplements. Taking unecessary supplements is often not harmful but some are expensive; if they really arent helpful why would I want to buy them...
    I can agree with you on this somewhat, but do you do an analysis of your meals in your "optimal diet" to verify they do contain the nutrients you think they do?? Did you compare that with its RDA label? C'mon, let's be realistic here. We know that most people don't get tests/bloodwork done to analyze it that specifically. Of the many ailments out there that are currently caused/influenced by vitamin & mineral deficiencies, I'd rather take the insurance and pop a multivitamin daily. At $6 a month, it won't break the bank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    Secondly, the North American diet is hardly optimal. There are many improvements that the average person can make before resorting to supplements. The question is do they want to? A danish is not a complete breakfast. A sandwich does not make potato chips and soda a healthy meal. A refined protein powder + refined carb post workout shake is a great source of empty calories. Of all the people you know how many are committed to eating 5+ balanced, whole food, junk food free, meals per day? I wonder how many people use supplements as a crutch to justify them not making healthy dietary changes...
    Can't argue much there, but the thread is actually discussing "nutritional supplementation vs. eating right"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    Hey I'm more than willing to be proven wrong. From where did you source that fact?
    Well, to start off, I did not state it as fact. Come to think of it, I said, "probably", and I was actually referring an article I saw a couple of times (I remember seeing it a few months back in Muscle & Fitness) that said presently some beef may only contain about 25% (recalling from memory) of the vitamins and minerals (zinc, b6, b12, etc.) as it did 50 years ago. There is no denying that the non-organic "whole-foods" we have today are lacking in the nutrients they gave us 50 years ago...

    Here's a good read: Organic fruits and vegetables work harder for their nutrients / Produce has been losing vitamins and minerals over the past half-century
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    Quote Originally Posted by bioman
    That's the thing though, Nitrox, though I agree that a superior diet is the way to go..I just don't think there are that many people who honestly have one. I sure don't and indeed I do try to make up for this with supplements because I know I lack the dietary discipline to get those 5 servings of veggies and enough fiber. Many dietary purists sneer at this approach, but realistically I think it has value in today's world if one is unwilling, as most are, to eat perfectly 100% of the time.
    No problem there Bioman. You are realistic enough to admit that you could do better with your base diet and your supplements are a substitute for it. I think people are confused with my point...

    I know it may sound like splitting hairs but what I am trying to stress is that there is a difference between "Supplements are necessary because..." and "An inexpensive multivitamin is cheap, useful, insurance against nutrient deficiency." How does Joe Q. Public know that his diet has any deficiencies unless he is tested or develops symptoms? He doesn't. He guesses or believes. Neither provides factual scientific validity that he needs supplements as suggested in the OP.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mass_69
    I can agree with you on this somewhat, but do you do an analysis of your meals in your "optimal diet" to verify they do contain the nutrients you think they do?? Did you compare that with its RDA label? C'mon, let's be realistic here. We know that most people don't get tests/bloodwork done to analyze it that specifically. Of the many ailments out there that are currently caused/influenced by vitamin & mineral deficiencies, I'd rather take the insurance and pop a multivitamin daily. At $6 a month, it won't break the bank.
    I think my point got missed here. No I dont do that because I feel good on my diet; I have no reason to believe that I am not getting adequate nutrients. When you go to fix a problem you have to know what the problem is. If supplementation is intended to address deficiencies how do you identify them?

    I am not arguing against using supplements as you say, cheap insurance against nutrient deficiency. What I am arguing against is the idea that the general population at large needs them.

    Like Bioman suggested, realistically the majority of the population does neither take the time nor make the effort to eat 'well'. However they could if they really wanted to...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitrox
    No problem there Bioman. You are realistic enough to admit that you could do better with your base diet and your supplements are a substitute for it. I think people are confused with my point...

    I know it may sound like splitting hairs but what I am trying to stress is that there is a difference between "Supplements are necessary because..." and "An inexpensive multivitamin is cheap, useful, insurance against nutrient deficiency." How does Joe Q. Public know that his diet has any deficiencies unless he is tested or develops symptoms? He doesn't. He guesses or believes. Neither provides factual scientific validity that he needs supplements as suggested in the OP.
    Joe Q. Public may not develop symptoms of deficiency for years. Joe Q. Public may even shrug off early symptoms as nothing, and let it progress before getting checked. Joe Q. Public may be eating "whole foods" and believe his diet is good, but more than likely, his whole foods in his diet are lacking the same ratio of vitamins/minerals/nutrients that they once had decades ago. Joe Q. Public may have a long road ahead to correcting his deficiency if his body is older.

    I never said not to have a sound diet, or to use supplements as a replacement for one. Can you probably get all of your nutrition strickly from diet? Yes it's still possible, if you have an organic food store nearby and can afford it, or if you have the means of growing your own food, and knowing the soil/grass/grains it feeds on are nutrient dense. But in the real world where we strive to just have a good diet by eating "whole foods" (not prior prepared food), those foods are not as nutrient dense as they used to be (that is a scientific fact).

    So, in accordance to the title of this thread, in the Male Anti-Aging Medicine forum, and given what the Cardinal said about the older bodies being less forgiving of deficiencies, I would opt to say that Nutritional Supplementation with a diet based in whole foods (meats packaged raw, fruits, vegetables, nuts, essential fats, etc.) is Superior to the typical "eating right," which I guess is open to interrpretation.
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    There are some very thought provoking comments in this thread. It's funny, but Bioman articulates some of my thoughts better than I would.

    One thing that annoys me about the medical and nutrition establishment is that the term "supplement" is often used with so much disdain. I'll see these folks being interviewed by a talkin' head, and they sneer the word in the same way that one would turn up one's nose after steeping on a wet turd (and remember, these are many of the same folks who endorsed the nutritional advice, such as a "calorie is a calorie," "all overweight people are lazy and undisciplined," etc.... , that have contributed to the bad habits of the general population, IMHO)

    The fact is few people have either the discipline, and more importantly, the desire to eat in the manner the FDA suggests. In fact, I agree with the poster who pointed out the excessive amount of calories that the average, sedentary American adult would ingest in order to come close to the FDA ideal.

    I guess what I want to see is for the mainstream medical and nutrition establishments to continue to endorse "healthy" eating, but to also openly endorse the idea that in areas of nutrition where we consistently come up short (i.e., 99% of us most likely), nutritional supplements are okay, and sometimes more than okay. Forget the nonsense about "just eat right," "be more disciplined" yadda yadda yadda, 'cuz that's about as effective as saying "just say no," and it's just as intellectually dishonest since a carefully worded endorsement of the benefits of supplements might help a whole lotta folks maintain and/or improve their overall health.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. John
    As far as your health goes, as I tell all my patients, veggies are your best friends. Strive to eat all the colors you can.
    Well I can definitely agree there. Upping my veggie (and fruit) intake has done more for me than any pill ever did.
  

  
 

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