The majority of adults in the United States report taking a dietary supplement on a regular basis or every day. Heavy use patterns add up, and Americans now spend more than $30 billion per year on dietary supplements. But just because the masses are spending mad amounts of money on increasingly dubious products doesn’t mean YOU have to as well! Here are five reasons why most dietary supplements are a waste of your time and money.
1.) You Don’t Need Supplements
Have you ever had a friend who eats fast food, but balances it out by adding a diet soda? Just like diet soda doesn’t undo poor food choices, dietary supplements don’t replace wise meal and snack patterns. As their name implies, supplements are intended to supplement—not replace—healthy and wholesome food choices.
Of course, it’s easier to pop a pill than it is to put together a balanced plate of lean protein foods, fresh produce and whole grains. However, the vast majority of healthy adults can—and should—obtain all of the nutrients they need from food alone.
There certainly are circumstances when a dietary supplement is indicated, but these usually have to do with treating a diagnosed nutrient deficiency. Here are some situations where a supplement may be useful:
- Iron supplements if diagnosed with iron deficiency
- Prenatal vitamins with folic acid before and during pregnancy
- Vitamin B12 for vegans and older adults with low B12 levels
- Calcium and vitamin D for those at risk for or who have osteoporosis
- Fluoride for older infants living in areas where municipal water supply isn’t fluoridated
- Vitamin K in a single prophylactic dose for newborn infants to prevent bleeding
- Omega-3 fatty acids for people at risk for heart disease who don’t consume fish