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Nutrition in a pill or powder?

In a world that sells us ‘perfect’ body shapes and sizes, diet supplements seem like a magical solution. From extravagant promises about shedding kilos to burning fat,  having ripped abs, sleek muscles and more energy, we tend to believe in them. Eventually, we give in to this trend of nutrition that is offered to us in the form of pill or a protein shake. 
 
This trend has gained popularity due to the gym-culture that makes it look glamorous to consume them for toned bodies. One needs to be aware that supplements are not intended to substitute for food. According to Julie Pelaez, a health coach, “years ago I drank a banana, blueberry and a whey protein powder blend smoothie every day. I thought I was being really healthy. I was wrong.” 
 
She adds that protein powders are highly processed and are often heated to the point that the protein is denatured, which makes it nearly impossible for the body to recognize and use. “The result is higher levels of acidity and toxicity in the body, which can lead to plenty of unwanted illnesses and diseases, she explains, adding that everything sold in an attractive packaging isn’t safe. 
 
Supplements might be appropriate in some situations where certain categories of people are recommended them such as pregnant women taking folic acid supplements or iron supplements, adults above 50 suggested B-12 or multi-vitamin supplements or those who are vegan or vegetarians and eat a limited variety of foods. 
 
However, fitness coach Sai Kiran says that protein powders can be used under supervision and with full knowledge. “One needs to have protein supplements with carbs (food). If you are overdosing on protein shakes without exercise, it could leader to liver damage and increase the risk of injuries along with other side effects such as intestinal discomfort, bloating, tiredness and fatigue,” he adds, sounding a word of caution. 
 
One needs to understand that supplements can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables. But, the good news is, Shiela M, a nutritionist at a city-based hospital says, “if you are healthy and eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats and fish, you don’t really need supplements.” 
 
But, in case, you are recommended to take supplements, it is important that you:  
  1. Talk to your doctor: Understand the effects of it on your health. 
 
  1. Check the label: Product labels can tell you what the active ingredient or ingredients are, which nutrients are included, the serving size and the amount of nutrients in each serving. They also give you the information on the ingredients allowing you to notice if you are allergic or intolerant to any of them. 
 
  1. Watch what you eat: Vitamins and minerals are being added to a growing number of foods, including breakfast cereals and beverages. If you are taking supplements, you may be getting more of certain nurtrients than your body actually needs. Therefore, understanding your own intake can keep you safe. 

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