Seven groups that would likely BENEFIT from supplements (are you one?)
It’s no secret that I’m not a huge proponent of supplements.
It’s not that I have a huge vendetta against them- I don’t. In fact, if you’ve taken something on a daily basis for the last 20 years and swear that’s what keeps you alive then no one can argue with you whether the supplement is useful or not. For you it is and that’s what matters.
However, for most people, studies have shown that control of your daily intake is what produces the most effective results for people.
However (there always seems to be this caveat in nutrition; doesn’t there?), there are some occasions where a supplement wouldn’t just help someone but could play a dramatic difference in their overall health.
Here’s the lineup:
People who are regularly on very low-calorie diets (1200kcal or below). Being on such a low-calorie diet limits a person’s ability to even consume enough food to meet the lowest amount of nutrients needed in a day.
Anyone who has had weight loss surgery. This is somewhat of an overflow from the low-calorie group. Part of this is due to the inability to consume enough food, but post-operative folks do not absorb nutrients as well as they did before surgery. This means the nutrients they are getting aren’t getting absorbed and the need is greater. We placed every patient who had weight loss surgery on a life regimen of vitamins/minerals to mitigate this risk.
Anyone with a malabsorptive disorder (see number 2), but know this carries over into other non-surgical medical issues as well.
Folks on certain dietary regimens that require strict adherence (i.e. gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. diets.).
Folks on medication that interfere with absorption of nutrition (gastric reflux medication, etc.).
Folks between the ages of 50 and 70 OR older. A large part of this is simply because the needs change at this age.
People who avoid or restrict foods from any single group. Two standout groups come to mind under this group. The first are folks who avoid animal products entirely (vegans). There are several key nutrients found in large amounts in animal-based products- zinc, iron, and vitamin B12 being three of the most important. Obviously, anyone not eating these foods risks a deficiency of those nutrients. The second group would be anyone who avoids starches and whole grains. This family of foods is rich in b-vitamins. B-vitamins are a family of nutrients responsible for converting food into useable fuel, so it becomes clear how not having them in the diet can be a problem.
It's important to point out is the remedy if you do find yourself in one of these groups- a simple multivitamin. It's important to remember that a supplement is designed to do just that- supplement- or fill in the gap of an already varied diet. In other words, we’re not talking about heading to your local GNC for bodybuilding stacks of supplements with names you can’t pronounce.
The second thing to point out is how short this list is: folks entering an older stage of life, people who have had surgery, people on medication, and people with really limiting diets. That’s a small fraction of the population and GOOD NEWS for most of us reading this!
By eating a variety of foods, you’re likely getting all that you need from food to not only ensure a long life but a quality life as well. What’s more is if you’re eating these foods in the right amount, you’re 99.9% of the way down the path to hitting better weight and performance goals.
Master the basics, fill in the gaps where you need to, and be consistent. That’s it. That’s the recipe that bridges the gap between a person starting their journey and reaching their goals. If you’re doing those three things, you can rest assured that, more than a counter full of supplements will keep you going another 20 years.