Dietary Supplements


Dietary Supplements Essay, Research Paper

I believe that dietary supplements are not necessary to insure a healthy

diet. In fact, I feel that it is quite the contrary. Only a diet based on

nutritious foods can help us lead healthier lives. After doing research on

the internet, over and over I kept getting this same answer. Although

supplements can be good in certain situations, such as when people are

unable to eat solid food, they cannot actually replace real foods.

For example, I read an article about how a study done by the University of

Southern California found that frequent use of vitamin C supplements can

actually cause artherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. However,

findings showed that vitamin C from foods is an anti-oxidant that helps

prevent disease. Obviously eating foods rich in vitamin C rather than

taking a 500 mg supplement is far more healthy. Another article discussed a

study done by the National Cancer Institute about the usefulness of

beta-carotene supplements in preventing cancer. Results told the

researchers that the supplement was 100% ineffective, and people should stop

using them. In place of the supplements, they recommended fruits and

vegetables, which are proven to reduce the risk of cancer.

I also read an article about how an extremely popular supplement, chromium

picolinate, may cause cancer. A study by the University of Alabama showed

that although an important mineral, the body really only needs about 500

micrograms of chromium per day. By getting an excess of this mineral from

taking supplements, one can actually increase his or her risk of getting

cancer. Clearly its risks outweigh its benefits. Another article discussed

meal replacement drinks, and whether or not they were a viable nutrition

shortcut. The study, done by the New England Journal of Medicine,

discovered that while good for recovering patients unable to chew, or for

older people who are unable to eat three meals a day, that eating real food

is much healthier.

After my research, it?s clear to me that supplements just aren?t the way to

go for a healthy diet. Sure they sound quick and easy, but over and over I

read the same basic idea; there is no substitute for a diet based on real,

healthy foods. Reading these articles has really changed my perspectives on

my diet. Next time I have a cold and my mother hands me a 500 mg tablet of

vitamin C, I may think twice before I chew it down. I just hope that the

other people in this country realize this before they begin to rely entirely

on dietary supplements.

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