You are what you eat”, goes a famous saying. If that’s truly the case, then a lot of Americans would appear to be unhealthy, chemically treated, commercially raised slabs of animal flesh. While that is not a particularly pleasant thought, it is nonetheless a description of the typical American omnivore who survives on the consumption of big macs and greasy french fries. It’s true, and what have the average Americans done about this problem? Asked for seconds and tell themselves that they won’t eat much for tomorrow’s meal. You already know what you should be doing, exercise for at least 20 minutes every second day, eat the correct foods and avoid dangerous substances: smoke and other poisons, toxins and cancer causing chemicals. You need a high level of anti-oxidants to live a long healthy life in our modern world. If you’re healthy and eat a well-balanced diet based on the Food Guide Pyramid, most nutritionist agree that supplements are unnecessary. A well balanced diet supplies not only the recommended daily allowances(RDAs) of all the necessary nutrients, but also important nonnutrients that vitamin pills lack. Fiber is one of theses nutrients.

Nutritionist also believe that taking supplements perpetuates bad eating habits by making you think everything will be okay as long as you get your “vities”. I totally agree that if you eat a nutritional meal then why take any dietary supplements or vitamins. But lets be honest with ourselves. Who honestly consumes their daily allotted nutrients each day out of their meals? I bet your saying to yourself, well sure I do, because I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a glass of milk and gram crackers for a late night snack. Hey I even get out of my chair at nights to try to find the remote, I’m healthy enough. I would be willing to put money on it, that you not reaching your daily benefits, because only 9% of adults eat a balanced diet. Many people can’t or don’t even eat some meals during the day due to busy schedules. But it’s been said that you do your body more harm eating one or two big meals a day then eating four or five little ones. Even people who eat right don’t get large enough amounts of antioxidant vitamins which have proven effective in preventing diseases.

The typical American diet is well below what it should be. A study by the National Food Consumption Survey report only 3% of the population ate the recommended number of servings from the four food groups. Only 12% consumed 100% of the RDA for all of the top nutrients like protein, calcium and vitamin A, B, and C. Over 70% of men and over 80% of women failed to get even 2/3’s of the RDA for one or more nutrients. Diets in high school students were found to be inadequate as they only consumed 56% of their calories from the Basic Four Food Groups. Foods most frequently eaten are cakes, candy, soda pop, butter, and jellies and jams. So what are the people to do about this bottomed out problem. Are we suppose to turn into nutrition freaks or do we forget it and live our drained out lives depressed, out of money, stress out, and tired. While it seems that everyone from grandmothers to government has good advice about how to eat well, The American Dietetic Association is urging people to take charge of their own nutrition destiny.

ADA shows that when it comes to nutrition, there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Nutrition experts say achieving good nutrition is like putting together a puzzle, only you know where the pieces fit. So what is good nutrition. We know that you can get a good nutrition from a balanced meal, but know that most Americans don’t get that kind of nutrition that is needed. So should we be heading towards something new like dietary supplements. Some nutritionist say that we shouldn’t while I say that if were not getting enough nutrition out of our meals, then lets do something about it and put our bodies in better shape. We could save money in the long run. I know for sure we can better ourselves with nutritional values that we can’t get out of our meals. Two ways come to my mind with thinking about nutrition values, dietary supplements and multivitamins. When it comes to supplements, it’s a brand new world out there.

In fact, supplement technology has come so far in the past five years that for the first time in the history of nutrition it can honestly be said that a good diet and supplement programs can provide better gains than a typical body building diet and low dose steroid program of years past. The big question of course is, are dietary supplements and multivitamins necessary? There are many debates over the advantages and benefits of taking vitamin and mineral supplements. The fact is that we do not, or often can not, get all the nutrients we need from what were eating. The nutrient content of any given food can vary greatly depending on soil conditions while growing, transportation and storage environments, decrease due to aging and loss attributed to cooking. Furthermore, many people just do not eat enough, if any, of the things like fruits and vegetates required for a nutritionally balanced diet. For many years the medical establishment has maintained that healthy adults have no need for vitamins in amounts higher than the RDA. The RDA figures are the amounts required to avoid disease associated with dietary deficiencies.

The RDA a is slowly changing. There is simply much more scientific evidence that supplementation can be beneficial for your health and fitness then there is to the contrary. While you should try to eat a variety of foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, it is not always possible. Regular supplementation maybe the best way to insure your body gets the nutrition it needs. Studies provide strong evidence that heart disease and colon cancer are associated with folic acid deficit. Eating plenty of broccoli and oranges would help supply higher levels, but average intake gives you only about half the optimum level. People who aren’t getting enough in their food should take a supplement. That’s true for other vitamins as well, especially vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Studies show that a 40% lower risk of heat disease for those taking vitamin E supplements. That’s a greater benefit than you get from fat-reducing drugs, which cost about $1500 a year versus $10 to $20 for vitamin E. It makes sense for most people to take a multivitamin that contains vitamins E, B-complex, A and C.

A large body of evidence supports taking a vitamin E supplement beyond the multivitamin amount. Women should choose a multivitamin/multimineral supplement that adds iron, if they are of child-bearing age. They are a good nutritional safety net. Supplements can be useful to individuals, consumers and to the U.S. population as part of an overall strategy to optimize nutrition intake. All people whose diets fail to provide target amounts of nutrients might reasonably choose to improve dietary habits and use supplements in an effort to meet nutritional goals. Goals could improve their overall self-esteem, and would place a better factor on their lives. Multivitamins and dietary supplements provide a wide range of micronutrients in modest dosages. They’re typically taken to augment less than perfect eating habits a form of nutritional insurance against deficiencies. Many nutritional experts agree that unless you’re consistently eating a good diet, it’s probably a good way to supplement. David Benton, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Walees, Swansea, says the first signs of nutritional deficiencies show up not as physical signs but as declining mental performances.

To prove his hypothesis, Benton gave a group of healthy college students a daily high-potency multivitamin supplement containing three times the Daily Value of most vitamins. After a year, the students’ thinking processes were measurably sharper and their moods better than a comparable group of students given a placebo. Dietary supplements have been around for a long time. While there has not been a demand for them until the 90’s there has been one supplement that has been around since 1832. The supplement is called Creatine. A product by many nutritionist to be a phrase from God. Creatine is found in the body of humans, lean red meat and fish. You right now have creatine in your body, around 100 to 115 grams of creatine stored. Creatine synthesized by the liver, the kidney, and the pancreas form three amino acids – argenine, glycine and methionine. From the liver and kidneys, 95% of it goes to the muscles and forms Creatine Phosphate, which boosts the body’s manufacture of the energy in the skeletal system. While the other 5% is scattered through out the body.

The human body gets most of the creatine it needs for maintaining its bodily functions from food or dietary supplements. Red meat is the best food source of creatine, however there is only about 5 grams per 2 pounds of meat. Scientist say that a person uses up to two gram of Creatine per day. Therefore, to notice any positive effects from creatine, you need to supplement. Creatine(scientifically known as creatine monohydrate) increases the availability of instant energy. It increases muscle strength. It improves endurance and delays fatigue, as well as taking off and replacing it with muscle. Creatine will force a more fluids into the muscles, giving a good pump and making them a little bit bigger. This is known as cell volumization, leading more water inside the cells, making muscles bigger and firmer. Creatine is research proven to help increase peak power, delay fatigue, and increase energy during high intensity exercise.

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance that exists in every muscle of your body. Whenever you use your muscles, a chemical(adenosine triphospate- ATP) is broken down into two simple chemicals (adenosine di-phospahate-ADP and inorganic phospate). This process of ATP turning into ADP releases the energy which gives your muscles power. The problem is that your muscles only contain enough ADP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion. That is where Creatine comes in. It restores everything giving more ATP in your body means more fuel for your muscles. That gives you more energy. But once the creatine is used up in your body so are you. You then have to rest your muscles and wait a while before you can go do anything again. Creatine is the most popular dietary supplement on the market. It builds lean mass and speeds muscle recovery. It would be impractical to try to supplement your diet with just whole foods, this is why creatine supplementation is so popular. It’s made talk around the world from home run king; Mark McGuire, the Russian great Olyimipic team, world record holder; Michael Johnson, and to great body builders like Dorien Yates.

The U.S health care system should place a much greater emphasis on disease prevention as a means of prolonging healthy life, reducing the burden of disease, and saving health care cost. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services has recently predicted that the expansion of preventive measures such as health screening, immunization, and individual behavior change “could eliminate an estimated 45% of cardiovascular disease death, 23% of cancer deaths and more than 50% of the disabling complications of diabetes. Better control of fewer than 10 risk factors for example, poor diet, infrequent exercise, the use of tobacco and drugs, and the abuse of alcohol could prevent between 40 and 70 % of all premature deaths, a third of all cases of acute disability, and two thirds of all cases of chronic disability.” Nutrition is a key component of any disease prevention strategy. Better dietary habits and increased intakes of several vitamins and minerals can substantially reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. It is in the interest of the public health for nutritional improvements to be adopted and encouraged now in order to obtain the full potential benefits of health promotion and disease prevention.

If the people would use dietary supplements it could potentially have effects like reducing infectious disease in elderly, and potentially cut the number of sick days by half. Hip fracture by perhaps 20% meaning 40,000 to 50,000 fewer hip fractures every year. reducing heart disease, preventing 800,000 Americans from dying. Reducing cancer which would save 500,000 Americans each year. The use of nutritional supplements of vitamins and minerals could have diverse benefits. A modest multivitamin with minerals could virtually eliminate the risk of micronutrient deficiency in the poor of this nation. It could provide substantial assurance against anemia in children and in women of child-bearing age, and provide the folic acid necessary a few weeks before and after conception to help protect against neural tube defects. It also would prevent nutrient deficiency and improve immune function in the elderly.

The potential role of nutritional supplements in protecting health and preventing disease should be affirmatively recognized by public and private organizations which play a role in promoting the public health and in advising consumers about food and supplement choices in the context of healthy lifestyles. In today’s society, a lot of emphasis is placed on how you look. Almost everybody wants that “perfect body”. But with all the things people have to do, not many are willing to put in the time to get it. But now you can be one step closer to that perfect body and living a healthy life. As Dr. Earl Mindell would put it “your health is the most important thing you have”.


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