For some people, the word ‘supplement’ rings alarm bells. Their mind instantly jumps to snake-oil salesmen getting rich off fake weight-loss scams, leaving a trail of distress in their wake. There are multiple myths surrounding the entire industry. and as a nutritionist, I’ve studied them intensively. Before anything else, I can tell you with confidence that supplements, when used correctly, are both safe and useful – even though a small percentage of people are giving the industry a bad name.
Times When Food Supplements Are Necessary
Often, food supplements are vital for a person’s well-being. Mothers who can’t breastfeed, for any reason, often rely on baby food supplements to feed the newborns; moreover, mothers who can breastfeed may decide to take vitamin D supplements for themselves.
People who are diabetic also sometimes rely on food supplements for their health; although if this is you, it’s highly recommended you talk to a doctor first. People who eat no animal products, be this for health or ethical reasons or both, might also take supplements of vitamin B12 or vitamin D.
Individual Needs for Supplementation Vary
Note, however, that it’s not as easy as going to a store and picking up “a supplement”. Supplements aren’t a quick fix because they all should be tailored to the individual person. This is why it’s so important to speak to a nutritionist, or at the very least do some extensive research, before you start taking them.
As an unwritten rule people who want to lose weight tend to take supplements, to the extent that weight loss and supplements are firmly linked in minds of many. They’re looking for appetite suppressors, or something that will simply burn off the fat whilst they do nothing – but it’s not as simple. Supplements can help you on the way to weight loss, but the majority of the work has to come from you.
Yep, supplements are certainly not a quick fix – but certain fraudsters are determined to paint them that way. How many times have you been browsing the internet only to see a dodgy-looking ad labelled “WEIGHT LOSS IN X-Number of DAYS” or some such thing pop up? These are designed to entice the unknowing and ultimately disappoint them, preying on the people affected by today’s extremely body-conscious society.
People often don’t realise, that these quick fixes may have harmful side effects, including headaches, mood swings, and addiction. Take too many and you could end up in far, far worse condition than you were when you started.
You may visit a health food store and think that because these sorts of pills look reputable, they couldn’t possibly be harmful – but that’s possibly the most dangerous misconception of all. In America, the FDA doesn’t actually approve the safety of weight-loss supplements before they hit the shelves. In Australia, a conman Peter Foster ended up in prison for his role in the fake “Sensaslim” nasal spray scam, which fooled millions.
However, step into the world of supplements armed with knowledge, and you should be fine. Treat them like, well, supplements and not like cure-alls. And as always, ask a nutritionist if there’s anything at all you’re unsure about.