Low-quality, nutritionally poor calories make up a huge percentage of the average American’s daily food intake. How does your diet measure up?
Too Much Food, Not Enough Nutrition
If your diet contained enough fresh, nutritious ingredients to satisfy your body’s daily needs for both energy and the building blocks for life (proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals,) you would not need to consider private label supplements. However, decades of dietary data show that this is unlikely to be the case. Most Americans consume a diet heavy in refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, but lacking in quality protein, fruits, and vegetables.
Even with recent trends showing a slight decrease in consumption of poor quality carbohydrates, these empty calories made up 42% of daily caloric intake in 2016. Saturated fat intake is also well above the recommended daily amount. Unless your diet differs significantly from that of your peers, it is likely your food contains more than enough stored energy (calories,) but is lacking the minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients you would get from a more diverse, nutritious diet.
Supplements Are Made for Real Life
Understandably, the National Institutes of Health recommends that essential nutrients be obtained from eating a healthy diet. They point out that few supplements have been demonstrated through research to significantly prevent or improve disease. However, dietary supplements are not designed as treatment for disease. They are designed to fill the gaps where a standard diet is lacking in nutrients.
In the real world, data shows our diets consistently lacking in important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and more. Those who take nutritional supplements are able to improve their intake of these essentials, where their diet alone had been inadequate.
Some Supplements To Consider
If your diet does not differ significantly from the average American’s, one of the first areas you may be lacking is in minerals. Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and Zinc are lacking in refined, simple carbohydrates (white, crunchy, or sweet foods.) While some bread and cereal products are “fortified,” (supplemental nutrition is added to the flour,) a large percentage of people’s diets are deficient.
The nutrients we call “vitamins” serve a variety of functions in the body. Some, like vitamin D, can be produced by the body under ideal conditions – but may not be produced or absorbed sufficiently for optimal health. “Essential” vitamins cannot be produced by the body – if they are not ingested in food, the body is deficient. A person eating a typical diet composed largely of refined carbohydrates and few to no fresh fruits and vegetables is lacking in essential nutrition. Multivitamins or custom supplement manufacturing can be a simple solution to this widespread problem.
Why Not Just Change Your Diet?
Optimally, the largest portion of your calories would come from high-quality, nutritionally dense foods like nuts, seeds, and legumes, whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, and high-quality meats, fish, eggs, and dairy. The availability of supplements should not dissuade you from making changes in your diet for better health. However, there is a reason why so many diets are deficient. Low-quality carbohydrates are cheap, easy, and plentiful. If you are among the many struggling to get out of a poor diet cycle, choosing the right supplements can be an important first step toward a healthier lifestyle.