Supplements?

saladveg ‘Refrain from getting on your soap box……’  This was my inner instruction to myself as yet another friend told me that they were just going to give their child a supplement, ‘it just takes the pressure off’ and 'surely it’s a sign of good parenting'?

As a dietitian, people are always compelled to tell you about their supplement taking, however I think they are often a little surprised when they don’t get a pat on the back in response.  It is not that there isn’t a time and a place for supplements, its just that they are not the quick fix that people assume them to be.  Here are some reasons why:

  • While it can be difficult to get your children to eat a healthy balanced diet, remember, you are laying the foundations for life long habits – enjoying a balanced diet for life is more sustainable (and enjoyable) than taking a pill for life
  • Getting your vitamins and minerals from vegetables rather than a supplement means that you also get fibre and antioxidants and phytonutrients – also important for health.
  • These ‘other things’ all work together in combination in food to provide benefits – much of which can not be replicated in a 'pill'/supplement
  • There are some nutrients that you can get ‘too much’ of – ie it is not always a case of ‘more is better’ with supplements

I am not saying supplements should not be taken, as there are times and places where they are needed, and this should be with the guidance of a health care professional.  And remember, they are as they say, a ‘supplement’; to supplement the diet, not act as a food substitute.  Enjoy your 5-a-day!