Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reinforces importance of food, not supplements

December 18, 2013

While dietary supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs, eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best way for most people to obtain the nutrients they need to be healthy and reduce their risk of chronic disease, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Two newly published studies in Annals of Internal Medicine, and an accompanying editorial, indicate there is no clear benefit for most healthy people to consume vitamin .

"These findings support the evidence-based position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that the best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Heather Mangieri. "By choosing nutrient-rich foods that provide the most per calorie, you can build a healthier life and start down a path of health and wellness. Small steps can help you create that will benefit your health now and for the rest of your life."

The Academy's position on supplements also acknowledges that nutrient supplements may be necessary in special circumstances. "Additional nutrients from supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs as specified by science-based nutrition standards such as the Dietary Reference Intakes," Mangieri said.

Mangieri offered tips for developing a nutrient-rich eating plan:

  • Start each day with a healthy breakfast that includes whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy for calcium and vitamin D, and vitamin C-rich foods.
  • Replace refined grains with whole grains like whole-grain breads and cereals and brown rice.
  • Pre-washed salad greens and pre-cut vegetables make great quick meals or snacks.
  • Eat fresh, frozen or canned (without added sugar) fruit for snacks and desserts.
  • Include at least two servings of omega-3 rich seafood per week.
  • Don't forget beans, which are rich in fiber and folate.

The recent increase in sales of supplements may not have been accompanied by an increase in consumers' knowledge about what they are taking, according to the Academy's position.

"Registered dietitian nutritionists have the knowledge and experience to educate consumers on safe and appropriate selection and use of supplements," Mangieri said. "RDNs make evidence-based recommendations for consumers, while helping them develop a healthful eating plan that takes into account all of their dietary and lifestyle needs and tastes."

Explore further: Immune-boosting foods may add to flu defense

More information: "Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements." Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH; Saverio Stranges, MD, PhD; Cynthia Mulrow, MD, MSc, Senior Deputy Editor; Lawrence J. Appel, MD, MPH; and Edgar R. Miller III, MD, PhD. Ann Intern Med. 2013;159(12):850-851-851. DOI: 10.7326/0003-4819-159-12-201312170-00011

Related Stories

Immune-boosting foods may add to flu defense

January 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—As U.S. health officials recommend flu shots and frequent hand washing for protection during this season's influenza outbreak, dietitians point to another significant defense weapon: healthy foods.

Monitoring the population's food and supplement intakes

March 8, 2012
Collecting data on what the U.S. population actually consumes is a key nutrition monitoring step. Nutritionists then translate "foods eaten" into "nutrients consumed." This snapshot of the population's food-nutrient intakes ...

No good data for or against taking vitamins, experts say

November 12, 2013
(HealthDay)—Even though millions of Americans pop a vitamin, mineral or multivitamin supplement every day, an influential government-appointed panel of experts says the jury is still out on whether they help boost health ...

Good nutrition can boost school performance, expert says

August 25, 2013
(HealthDay)—A healthy diet can help students excel in school, a registered dietitian says.

Grape consumption associated with healthier eating patterns in US children and adults

August 2, 2013
In a new observational study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers looked at the association of grape consumption, in the non-alcoholic forms most commonly consumed – fresh grapes, raisins and 100% grape ...

Recommended for you

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

One in five patients report discrimination in health care

December 14, 2017
Almost one in five older patients with a chronic disease reported experiencing health care discrimination of one type or another in a large national survey that asked about their daily experiences of discrimination between ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

Searching for a link between achy joints and rainy weather in a flood of data, researchers come up dry

December 13, 2017
Rainy weather has long been blamed for achy joints. Unjustly so, according to new research from Harvard Medical School. The analysis, published Dec. 13 in BMJ, found no relationship between rainfall and joint or back pain.

Mistletoe and (a large) wine: Seven-fold increase in wine glass size over 300 years

December 13, 2017
Our Georgian and Victorian ancestors probably celebrated Christmas with more modest wine consumption than we do today - if the size of their wine glasses are anything to go by. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.