“I don’t take supplements. I get all my nutrients from real food.” This is a statement I’ve heard time and again.
While I am an advocate of getting as many nutrients as possible to through whole foods and not living off protein powder and vitamins (supplements are meant to be “supplemental” after all) the fact of the matter is, the average person following the traditional American diet, or even popular diet plans such as Atkins or the South Beach Diet, doesn’t get near the nutrients they need for their body and mind to function optimally.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition when following one of these diet plans and only eating whole foods, the daily average a caloric intake a person would need to get sufficient amounts of all 27 micronutrients (the vitamins and minerals essential to nearly every function in the human body) would be 27,575 calories per day. You read that right, 27,575 calories per day. Just to put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of about 32 16 ounce New York steaks, 10 large pepperoni pizza’s, or for you vegan’s out there, about 290 apples per day (Just as side note, now we know that the old adage about an apple a day keeping the doctor away is crap, 290 apples a day keeps the doctor away). With that said, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you probably aren’t eating that much, but just in case you still aren’t convinced that you need to take supplements. These are my top 7 reasons why you must.
1. High Activity Level
With obesity rates continuing to climb and social media platforms like Instagram motivating people to be able to have a six pack selfie or do a physique competition, people are working out more than ever before. Most people see this as the cornerstone to a long and healthy life, but in fact, it could be hurting more than helping if you aren’t taking the proper supplements. When you exercise you use more nutrients for energy and recovery, since most people are already nutrient deficient, this compounds the problem, creating the potential for many health concerns.
2. Nutrient Soil Depletion
Poor agricultural practices leave much of our food nearly void of vital nutrients. What it really comes down to folks, is the almighty economic machine. The more food that’s grown, the faster it’s grown and the more resistant it is to pesticides, the more of it can be sold. Just read Scientific American's Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritions? and find out for yourself!
In a nutshell, what’s happening are crops are being grown faster and faster in the same soil. Each time a crop is grown in the same soil without sufficient time between harvesting, the soil is depleted of nutrients, leaving the crops grown depleted of nutrients.
This isn’t to say that our fruits and vegetables are completely void of their nutritional value, they have plenty of value, they just aren’t what they used to be and aren’t fulfilling all of your nutritional needs.
3. Malnutrition Due to Aging
I’m pretty sure we all took our Flintstones Vitamins when we were kids in order to get big and strong. I’m sure you probably even give them to your kids now to make sure they grow up healthy. But according to the research conducted by Haboubi, Nadim. "Assessment and Management of Nutrition in Older People and Its Importance to Health." Adult And Elderly Medicine (2010) as we get older it’s just as, if not more important to take our vitamins.
As many people age they face the issue of malnutrition due to lack of appetite, declining biological and physiological functions, disease, mental disorders, and medications.
As someone once said, “we ripen until 23, then we begin to rot.” Our bodies breakdown as we age. It sucks, but it’s a fact. Some of this malnutrition is due to the factors already mentioned, but there can also be underlying causes such as depression, loss of loved ones, and loneliness. It is important that proper nutritional requirements are met to avoid acceleration of biological and physiological causes of malnutrition as well as prevention of other potential chronic illnesses.
4. Genetically Modified Fruits and Veggies (GMO's)
Our fruits and veggies aren’t what they used to be. In an effort to make fruits and vegetable more appealing, they are regularly genetically modified to be bigger, brighter and sweeter than their ancestors. A Study from UC Berkeley, shows that monkeys, eating fruit grown in the wild, were getting significantly more nutrients from their fruits than the average American does from our big beautiful bananas.
5. Grain Fed Animals
You aren’t meant to eat grains. Grains can be linked to damn near every health problem from Gastic Colitis, to Alzheimer’s Disease, to Heart disease, to Diabetes and the list goes on. Well we aren’t the only ones that shouldn’t be eating grains; Animals fed grains compared to animals fed grass, have shown to have less micronutrients, antioxidants and essential fatty acids than their grassless dieted counterparts according to the University, Clemson. "Journal of Animal Science." Effects of Winter Stocker Growth Rate and Finishing System On: III. Tissue Proximate, Fatty Acid, Vitamin, and Cholesterol Content. (2009)
If you aren’t eating grass fed meat you aren’t getting the nutrients you need.
6. You’ve been sick before
Unless you’re some freak of nature or your parents are against common medical practice, you've probably gotten sick before and taken antibiotics. Well if you have, you’ve literally nuked the hell out of one of the most important systems in your body, your microbiome or gut bacteria. The bacteria in your gut out number your cells 10 to 1 and are the key role player in your immune function and brain function. When you take antibiotics, they kill not only the bad bacteria in your body, but the good bacteria as well. This makes supplementation essential for replacing good bacteria, we recommend our very own probiotic formula PROBIOTIX
7. Nutrient Depletion from Pharmaceuticals
I’m really trying to write this one short and sweet here without going off the deep end about how corrupt the pharmaceutical industry is. So I’m just going to get straight to the point here before I start to rant uncontrollably and I get prescribed Xanax. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control show that
nearly 50 percent of all American adults take at least one prescription drug daily, 20 percent take at least 3 prescription drugs and it’s increasingly contributing to the growing problem of nutrient depletion.
Many medications deplete our bodies of vital nutrients, while other cause cravings that lead consumption of processed or sugary foods, leading to even more chronic illness, leading to more prescribed medication. This is what I like to refer to as the “circle of bullsh%t.” Bottom line, if you’re taking medications, you better be taking supplements.
So Why Do You Need To Take Supplements?
You are not getting the nutrients you need through your regular diet.
Whether it’s the food manufacturing, the drugs, illnesses, increased exercise, or agricultural and farming practices, food just isn’t what it once was. We live in an economically driven world that unfortunately isn’t all glitter, unicorns, and rainbows and thrives off the consumption of cheap, mass produced products. If you want to live a longer healthier life, if you want to thrive rather than just survive, it’s time to take matters into your own hands get the nutrients you need from alternate source such as high quality supplements. Unless of course you want to eat 30lbs of steak per day, and that’s not fun, take it from me, I’ve tried.
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About the Author
Brandon Straker has 16 years experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness professional. He is an online fitness coach for high level entrepreneurs, CEOs and athletes, specializing in functional movement, hormonal optimization, cognitive function, and body re-composition.