This extreme interest in health and nutrition is, unfortunately, fuelled by false advertisement. The Internet, television, and product labels make claims not backed by science, fooling millions and reaping a sizable paycheck. And in America, supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the same way that foods are, not as if they are medications. This means supplement manufacturers aren't required to back their claims by science.
In your quest for fitness, don't be fooled by these three myths surrounding the use of nutritional supplements.
Myth #1: “More Is Better”
If vitamins, minerals, botanicals, and herbs are good for you and available over the counter, they must be safe to take in high doses, right? Science has proven otherwise. You feel a cold coming on so you pop the vitamin C pills and lozenges to ward it off, but too much of certain vitamins and minerals can be dangerous. Four example, when you overdose on vitamin C, your body loses its ability to absorb copper; too much phosphorous and your body can't absorb enough calcium; vitamins A, D, and K can build up to toxic levels when large doses are taken; too much vitamin A will put you at risk for osteoporosis; vitamin E may increase your risk of stroke; and iron your risk of heart disease. And you thought those supplements came with no risks.
When choosing a multivitamin and other supplement, look for ones that contain no more than 100 percent of each ingredient and be careful of combining a multivitamin with another vitamin supplement.
Myth #2: “A Supplement Will Make Up for My Unhealthy Diet”
Hate vegetables? Drink too much caffeine? Like to skip breakfast? Well, be wary of relying solely on supplements to make up for your nutritional deficiencies. Your body is better able to absorb nutrients from real food, so supplements should only be taken as icing on your healthy cake. Besides, relying on supplements to fill in nutritional gaps can put you at risk for the overdosing dangers mentioned above.
With a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins, you’voe got little room for the need of supplements. Eating a healthy well-rounded diet will also provide millions of phytonutrients unavailable in supplement form. It also helps your supplements be more effective when you do take them, as supplements are made less effective when taken on an empty stomach.
Myth #3: “I Can Trust the Claims of Supplement Labels”
Many supplement containers describe the health benefits their ingredients aim to provide. These range from increased vitality to improved disease immunity. Great as these claims may sound, they are not backed up by significant, proper research. They are, however, great marketing tools that will pull you in and trick you right out of your money.
It isn’t surprising that the claims of supplements aren’t proven by anything other than anecdotal evidence. Recently, independent research found that 30 percent of products labelled as multivitamins do not include the ingredients in the amounts listed on the labels and occasionally contain dangerous ingredients.
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So go on, reinvent yourself!
Easy Lentil Soup
There’s nothing like a bowl of homemade soup for instant comfort. Use this Easy Lentil Soup recipe for a light dinner or quick lunch. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious and is low in fat. What’s more it’s full of natural protein. And guess what? Lentils are packed with cholesterol-lowering fibre.
What you need
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth, fat free, reduced sodium
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
Optional, spoonful of fat free cottage cheese
Optional, dried parsley
1. Put the olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and salt. Sauté for 6 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander and cumin; stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
3. Using a stick blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. Serve with cottage cheese and sprinkle with dried parsley if desired.
One serving equals 240 calories, 2g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 18g fibre, and 16g protein.
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