There is never any absolute certainty about what the nutritional requirements are for the human body of a certain age, size and gender. Scientific research on the subject takes a long time, and results are often not that clear. But, at least scientific research into the subject of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional requirements is being undertaken seriously, and taken seriously by governments.
That was not always so; at least, if it was, it never reached through to the medical profession at the sharp end. I took an interest in diet and health in the late 1970s and 1980's and have had a personal interest since. My reason then was firstly because of my own severe, and crippling, arthritic problem, and in the later 1980's because of my son's food allergies, or intolerances.Doctors in that era generally dismissed any link between health and diet as nonsense, and were even more dismissive of such things as allergy as a cause of any behavioural changes in a child.
The difficulties we had then caused me to do a lot of reading on the subject of diet and health, and nutritional requirements. I started taking a multi vitamin and mineral supplement at a time when doctors were very dismissive, and I have done so ever since. At least, in public they were dismissive; but I wonder how many were taking such supplements themselves? They must have known the evidence was mounting up even then.
These days, though, doctors are a bit more aware of the links between diet and health, and the possible benefits of some nutritional supplements. Much of their information is disseminated from central governments, and all we can do is judge our own nutritional requirements based on the latest research. We do so, though, in the knowledge that recommended daily allowances (RDA's) can change at any time with later research.
People who are on a diet and trying to lose weight need to be especially careful about nutritional needs. There is not much point losing weight to prevent one health problem, only to cause another by being nutritionally deficient elsewhere. If you are dieting, the chances are that if you are following any restrictive diet plan, you may be missing some important vitamins or minerals. Any diet that heavily emphasizes one food group while completely restricting others is, by nature, lacking in some essential nutrients.
A common conception of dieting is that, when we feed our bodies less calories than it needs, it will begin to take nutrition from the fat that it has stored. While that is true, it is a basic fallacy that your body can derive all the fuel it needs that way. Part of the problem with that assumption is that there are many nutrients your body simply cannot store. The body uses what it needs, and excretes the rest. The nutrients which cannot be stored need to be consumed daily in one way or another, and if your diet doesn't allow for that, your body will show the effects.
If you are on a diet that severely restricts your intake of any particular food or food group, you may benefit from adding a nutritional supplement to your daily menu. In fact, many doctors recommend that dieters take, at the very least, a complete, high-quality multivitamin to make up for any deficiencies caused by the restrictions. Other supplementation might be recommended depending on which diet you follow.
Below are some specific suggestions based on particular diets, for you to discuss with a nutritionist or dietician before you go too far with your diet:
Supplements For Any Diet
A full-spectrum multivitamin should be part of your daily routine no matter what you're eating or not eating. It will help even out the ups and downs of your diet, and supply some valuable nutrients that are difficult to get.
It is also important to remember the sun as your source of vitamin D, which is not derived from any food source. While doctors often say that as little as 20 minutes of full sun per day can supply your daily requirement of vitamin D, they also caution that it depends on your climate and geographical location. So, local advice is very helpful here.
Supplements For A Low-Carbohydrate & High Protein Diet
If you are on a low carb diet, antioxidant vitamins found in vegetables are particularly important. Scientists are learning more and more about how important it is that our diets contain a full spectrum of vitamins, proteins, minerals and acids. If your diet cuts out most grains and vegetables, you should be replacing the lost nutrients with supplementary vitamin A, C, B (all the B's), E and K. You should also supplement your intake of folic acid, and if you're not getting a significant amount of your protein from fish products, you'll need omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, shellfish and flaxseed oil.
Always bear in mind that the best diet is one that gives you a balance of nutrients, and that supplements should be exactly that - a supplement to your daily nutritional intake through food and liquid. And, be sure you discuss this with your doctor, nutritionist or dietician.
This weight loss supplementation article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner and part author of the Routes To Self Improvement website.
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