When it comes to “what is best” there are opposing views. That especially of the NHS is that vitamins and minerals supplements are an unnecessary waste of money; you don’t need them and you are literally peeing your money down the drain!
On the other side of argument are those who say that the above may be true when a person has a full and varied diet but the majority who are not able, for whatever reason, to eat fresh organic vegetables and local produce, are likely to be missing out.
The reason is partly but not wholly in food processing but also in the way much of our food is grown; Fruit and vegetables that are grown in soil depleted in minerals and animals that are fed on grass from depleted soil, or from feed that is engineered primarily to grow bigger animals i.e. more meat for greater profit.
So when we eat foods that arrive on our plates from these mass production sources, they too are deficient in vitamins and minerals.
A common argument for the “pro supplement” advocates.
Exercise makes you feel good – What you eat makes you lose (or gain) weight
But these arguments mean little to most of us until we realise that we could and should do something about being ill, feeling bloated, getting fat and fearful of developing diabetes. By far the majority of my clients come to me because they want to lose weight; most of those are surprised when I tell them that exercise will only have a limited effect on weight loss.
Grazing allows a wide variety of nutrients to be consumed
When I go on to explain that people as human animals are meant to be grazers, not necessarily meaning eating little and often (although often quoted as “the” solution for weight loss) but because if we were living as animals, we would have to forage for food. In our natural state we would be picking fruit when it is ripe, digging root vegetables, pulling up plants, fishing, taking eggs and hunting for meat.
In time of plenty we would get fat and store that fat for the lean times over winter when there is little or no food to find.
One of the reasons humans have risen as the dominant species is that we can eat just about anything that grows, runs, swims or flies and because of that we not only have a wider choice of available foods but we get a wide source of vitamins and minerals from what is available to forage.
Hunger means “my body needs something”
Hunger pangs are the way your body lets you know it needs something and this is the point. Let’s say for argument sake that you need vitamin C. You, the human animal goes foraging for what there is to eat because you are hungry and you find plants and maybe fruits to eat and from them you get your vitamin C – you no longer have a need – hunger satisfied. Not because you have a full tummy but because you have provided what your body needs.
You are pregnant and your cravings lead you to eat all sorts of weird stuff – coal for instance, because your body needs it.
You are growing and you want milk, fish, meat, eggs (high in amino acids and fatty acids) that your body need to build.
It all makes sense for a pregnant person, a teenager or a body builder but it also applies for an average person.
Give your body what it needs and you won’t feel so hungry.
Poor nutrition means you eat more
This is why so many people on lower income are overweight and why poor diet choices are likely to lead to being overweight, it’s because of a lack of good quality vitamins and minerals in food which leads to eating more to satisfy a need.
There is a “hunger” to keep eating in an attempt to give a body what is needed. What happens is, your body says “Nope, that’s not it, I’ll save that for later (stores as fat), now go and get something else”
Does that make sense?
My recommendations, when it comes to eating choices
From my experience with dozens of clients who have successfully lost weight and kept it off:
- Chose fresh local produce whether meats or vegetable or fruit and a wide variety – “eat clean” as my friend Jill Gardner says
- If you are overweight, if you are feeling tired or lethargic, try a good quality mineral and vitamin supplement and see if that helps keep hunger at bay. It could trigger weight loss.
Eating better need not be complicated or expensive but it is clear that the better food choices lead to better overall health.