Pamela Bond's Blog

Food over supps, says the American Dietetic Association

The American Dietetic Association released an updated position paper on supplementation. The association's new take:

"It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that the best nutrition-based strategy for promoting optimal health and reducing the risk of chronic disease is to wisely choose a wide variety of foods. Additional nutrients from supplements can help some people meet their nutrition needs as specified by science-based nutrition standards such as the Dietary Reference Intakes."

I agree that a balanced diet is first and foremost. But what about, say, vitamin D, which is tough to get through diet (and sunscreen shields the sun source), is linked to heart health (among other benefits), and is a nutrient we’re commonly deficient in? Harvard researchers recommend taking a vitamin-D supplement these days and at a dose far higher than the Dietary Reference Intakes. The DRI for vitamin D is 200 IU a day for adults versus 800-1,000 IU a day recommended by Harvard. The Institute of Medicine currently is reviewing its vitamin-D recs. An update is expected next year.

In the ADA position paper, the association also says that consumers may not have adequate knowledge about the supplements they're taking, and they may have trouble interpreting labels. This is likely true. The ADA's solution: Dietitians should help educate consumers on supplement selection and use.

But most people do not have a personal dietitian at their service. Instead, they ask you, the retailer, for advice when they're about to make a purchase. Either you need to be knowledgeable enough yourself to answer customer questions. Or you can employ a dietitian to help customers in the supplement aisle.

How do you educate yourself so you can educate customers? Share your sources below.

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