Danger of Relying on Vitamin Supplements: How to Improve Your Health without Them

Overview

For years health-conscious people have been taking their daily vitamins by consuming vitamin pills, other supplements, and enriched foods, feeling confident that they have been doing their best to keep fit. However, new studies show that taking certain vitamin supplements is a wasted effort. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently released new studies showing that some important vitamins work only if we get them directly from our food. In fact, these studies show that some vitamin supplements actually ...
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Overview

For years health-conscious people have been taking their daily vitamins by consuming vitamin pills, other supplements, and enriched foods, feeling confident that they have been doing their best to keep fit. However, new studies show that taking certain vitamin supplements is a wasted effort. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently released new studies showing that some important vitamins work only if we get them directly from our food. In fact, these studies show that some vitamin supplements actually increase the risk of cancer. In one study 18% more cancers were diagnosed and in another 28% more cancers were diagnosed in participants taking vitamin supplements than in those taking placebos. At the same time participants with higher levels of beta carotene in their blood, measured before the studies began, went on to have fewer cancers. The NCI states that these results are consistent with the possibility that different compounds in foods that have naturally occurring high levels of beta-carotene may be responsible for the protective effect of dietary beta-carotene indicated by these studies.
The Danger of Relying on Vitamin Supplements: How to Improve your Health without them is a no-nonsense reference guide to healthy eating and getting your vitamins from the foods you eat. First it explains why whole foods are much more effective than vitamin supplements and why you should avoid the latter. Then it discusses many "super foods" including grapes and raisins which might be as effective as wine against heart disease and good dietary sources of tryptophan (an antidepressant). The book gives both general and detailed levels of dietary guidelines and it includes whole foods recipes and their nutritional content. In addition, using the Nutrition Facts Database and the Food Analysis Worksheet included you will be able to analyze the nutritional and caloric content of all your meals. The Nutrients Overview chapter will inform you of good sources for every nutrient you need. The Danger of Relying on Vitamin Supplements will help you learn how to prevent or resist disease by adapting a whole foods diet.
This book grew out of a personal experience that the author had with a knee problem when he was thirty-seven years old. Two joint specialists recommended knee surgery where cartilage, which cushions the bones, would be removed. Because this would have certainly led to permanent damage later, he decided instead to search for natural ways, especially through diet, to alleviate his knee problem. After adopting a new whole foods diet, not only did his knee heal completely, but, surprisingly, other health problems including back pain, occasional digestive disorders, and eczema disappeared as well.

Although no one is recommending that food replace medicine entirely, whole foods diet can prevent disease or help us resist it. Instead of treating the symptoms, why not help your body fight off the problem in the first place? Unhealthy eating habits are the leading cause of many potentially preventable illnesses. So, take control over your health! Plan your diet!

Reading this book, you will learn about:
  • The danger of relying on vitamin supplements
  • Why whole foods are much more effective than supplements
  • How to get your vitamins from the foods you eat
  • Food as medicine
  • Why grapes, raisins, or grape juice might be as effective as wine
  • Good dietary sources of tryptophan (an antidepressant)
  • How stress effects your diet and health
  • The medicinal value of herbs and spices
  • Healthy recipes and their nutritional content
  • The nutritional content, covering calories and 25 nutrients, in percentage Daily Values (not grams) of more than 300 common food items
  • Nutrients overview, including symptoms for deficiencies and overdoses, and good dietary sources
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What People Are Saying

Eileen Mieras Kohlenberg
The Danger of Relying on Vitamin Supplements: How to Improve your Health without them is written as a general dietary guide for healthy adults. The author cites a number of research studies and nutritional guides published by national healthcare institutes and departments.
The author, Ben Y. Hecht, is an electrical engineer who shares a personal perspective regarding improved health based on eating a nutritious diet. As one might expect from his career background, he approaches nutritious eating from a well organized, logical and factual point of view. This book is a quick, easy to read reference for healthy eating.
Sally Reynolds
Before reading The Danger of Relying on Vitamin Supplements I thought that I had a sufficiently good idea about healthy eating and assumed that vitamin supplements were harmless or maybe even helpful. This thoroughly researched and easy-to-read book has cleared up my many misconceptions and proved very useful as a guide to improving my diet the fun, tasty way.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780967139500
  • Publisher: TevaBooks Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/1/1999
  • Pages: 221
  • Product dimensions: 62.50 (w) x 92.50 (h) x 5.00 (d)

Read an Excerpt

From chapter 1: Many people think that as long as they take vitamin and mineral supplements, they do not need to worry about what they eat. Unfortunately, vitamin and mineral supplements and enriched foods do not take the place of healthy food. Thousands of natural chemical compounds have already been identified in whole foods. Many of them have been found to have a positive effect on health. By failing to eat sufficient amounts of beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains, you deprive yourself of many important nutrients. It is, therefore, a mistake to use vitamin and mineral supplements as substitutes for a varied diet of naturally nutritious foods. In fact, when it comes to resisting disease, people have much more control than they realize.

For years health-conscious people have been taking their daily vitamins by consuming vitamin pills, other supplements, and enriched foods, feeling confident that they have been doing their best to keep fit. However, new studies show that taking certain vitamin supplements is a wasted effort. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently released new studies showing that some important vitamins work only if we get them directly from our food. In fact, these studies show that some vitamin supplements actually increase the risk of cancer. In one study 18% more cancers were diagnosed and in another 28% more cancers were diagnosed in participants taking vitamin supplements than in those taking placebos. At the same time participants with higher levels of beta carotene in their blood, measured before the studies began, went on to have fewer cancers. The NCI states that these results are consistent with the possibility that different compounds in foods that have naturally occurring high levels of beta-carotene may be responsible for the protective effect of dietary beta-carotene indicated by these studies.

I was motivated to write this book by my personal experience with a knee problem resulting from torn cartilage. For about two years I experienced a cycle of pain and stiffness and then some relief, until I changed my diet. My objective here is to encourage people to think about the foods that they eat in order to improve their health and prevent disease. By just improving your diet, you may improve your health to a large degree, possibly save yourself the need of medicine (frequently accompanied by unpleasant or even dangerous side effects), and even in some cases avoid surgery. Some kinds of surgery may leave you vulnerable to serious problems later on. For example, in the knee surgery that is performed to fix the problem I had, part of the cartilage, which is supposed to cushion the bones, is removed.
Some people say that a healthy diet can not improve conditions such as joint disease. However, in my case, before I improved my diet, I suffered on and off for about two years. Two joint specialists recommended knee surgery, but I rejected it because of the certainty of permanent damage to the knee. Instead, I often used pain-killing medicine. I still had only limited mobility for long periods of time in those two years. Even when I felt relatively well, I could not walk more than a quarter of a mile without starting to feel pain in my knee. I am now a different person. I have no problem walking fast every day for more than two miles as part of my daily exercise routine and I no longer need pain killing medicine. In addition to the healing of my knee I was pleasantly surprised to notice the disappearance of other problems including back pain, occasional digestive disorders, and eczema and the improvement of swollen and painful gums. Also, I have lost about 15 lbs. and I have managed to keep them off; now my weight is 168 lbs., which is in the desired range for my height (5'11'').

Modern science proves that Hippocrates was right when he advised his patients: "Let food be your medicine." Although no one is recommending that food replace medicine entirely, whole foods can prevent disease or help us resist it. Instead of treating the symptoms, why not help your body fight off the problem in the first place? Unhealthy eating habits are the leading cause of potentially preventable illnesses and death in the United States. And, although genetics and environmental pollution still weigh heavily in determining your susceptibility to specific illnesses, a healthy diet can counteract these influences in many cases.

Scientists do not yet understand how naturally occurring vitamins interact in our body with many of the thousands of natural chemical compounds or substances found in whole foods. They speculate, however, that some of these substances may prevent or slow down the formation of free radicals, which are destructive chemicals that are formed during metabolism and when the body fights disease. Free radicals constantly collide with cell walls and can cause damage to a cell, even killing it or making it cancerous. However, naturally occurring antioxidants and other natural chemical compounds or substances in whole foods neutralize free radicals by absorbing them. Vitamin supplements and enriched foods, on the other hand, contain only one form of antioxidant vitamins and lack the other forms of vitamins and the thousands of natural chemical compounds found in whole foods.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Foreword
Chapter 1: Let Food be your Medicine
Chapter 2: Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Chapter 3: Eating for Life
Chapter 4: Nutrients Overview
Chapter 5: Whole Foods Recipes and their Nutritional Content
Chapter 6: How to get your Vitamins from the Foods you eat
Sources
Index
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