Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why I Said No Supplements Required

Here's why I changed the Week 6 goal for our modified 8-week challenge, which I wrote as:

Week 6: Continue Week 5 habits. Add: Take supplements each day as recommended by your doctor or other health professional, including dieticians (but not including information from magazine and newspaper articles). 

I've just read too many articles in my local newspaper (not to mention the many women's magazines I see in every doctor and dentist office I visit) that say things like this one, from this morning's Oregonian with the headline, "Diet drinks are bad for heart":
Compared with women who never or rarely consume diet drinks, women who consumed two or more a day were 30 percent more likely to suffer a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die of related disease, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session, which winds up Monday.
Researchers analyzed diet drink consumption and cardiovascular risk factors from 59,614 participants in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, making this the largest study to look at the relationship between diet drink consumption, cardiac events and death, the Amercian College of Cardiology reports.
Diet drinks were defined as 12 ounces of diet sodas and diet fruit drinks.
Dr. Ankur Vyas, fellow, Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and the study's lead investigator noted that while he and fellow researchers found an association between diet drink consumption and heart problems, the research did not find that the drinks cause the heart trouble.
Please note the final line: "...the research did not find that the drinks cause the heart trouble."

This is so typical of "reporting" on scientific and medical research that it's hard for me to believe any stories I read about these topics any more. At least this article provides links to the research, researchers, overall study, and so on.

Wait, you're saying: This article isn't even about supplements. My answer: Right, because life is short and I have other things to do besides look up all the articles with conflicting "facts" about how good or not good vitamin and mineral and other supplements may be for you.

This article is just to demonstrate how, in general, these types of articles can be misleading and therefore should not be used to guide your choices in diet, nutrition, exercise, or, really, anything else in the whole world. 

(My pal Madame L is going to write sometime soon about why she doesn't even trust all of those studies when they're reported originally, before they're mangled by news organizations and PR people looking for a nifty headline.)


  1. The most logical argument for me against supplements, is simply that if we're eating correctly and getting all the fruits, veggies and proteins from the correct sources that we should be, then you don't need to take additional stuff. That's the great thing about nature - she's already provided everything for us. We just have to do our job in getting it from the correct sources.

  2. That's the week I intend to focus on planning my meals ahead of time so I'll be prepared to eat something nourishing when the cravings hit.