Something we’ve become acutely aware of in recent years is the preponderance of misinformation. The reason that misinformation and myths persist despite evidence to the contrary is simple: The more times you hear something from those you trust or admire, the more likely you are to believe it, true or not. How many times have you heard “daily nutritional needs should be met by healthy eating” and “If you follow a healthy diet, you get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food.”
More than ever, now is a good time to focus on eating healthy to support immune function; the additional fiber, nutrients and phytochemicals in a natural, whole food diet support our overall health and resistance to illness. However, scientific study provides evidence that what most consider to be a healthy diet, is simply not enough.
Excerpts from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, chapter 2, A Closer Look at Current Intakes and Recommended Shifts:
“Although the majority of Americans consume sufficient amounts of most nutrients, some nutrients are consumed by many individuals in amounts below the Estimated Average Requirement or Adequate Intake levels. These include potassium, dietary fiber, choline, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, D, E, and C. Iron also is under consumed by adolescent girls and women ages 19 to 50 years.”
“Of the under consumed nutrients, calcium, potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D are considered nutrients of public health concern because low intakes are associated with health concerns. For young children, women capable of becoming pregnant, and women who are pregnant, low intake of iron also is of public health concern.”
“With few exceptions, the U.S. population does not meet intake recommendations for any of the vegetable subgroups.”
“Average intake of fruits is below recommendations for almost all age-sex groups.”
“Added sugars account on average for almost 270 calories, or more than 13 percent of calories per day in the U.S. population.”
We know there are additional nutrients that should be added to the “underconsumed list”, let alone, all the nutrients requiring therapeutic repletion and maintenance on a daily basis, like B-vitamins, zinc, omega 3 fatty acids and trace minerals. It seems trivial that a few micrograms less of a trace mineral could make a difference in your health but in fact it can.
As we also know, “healthy diet” is a very subjective term. Many people understand the concept, and believe they consume a healthy diet, but don’t truly understand the details. In addition, those consuming an organic, whole food, super-healthy diet, may still enjoy their coffee drinks, sweets and alcohol, all of which deplete nutrients and increase the need for antioxidants and detoxification.
There are several basic truths we should remember when thinking about this controversy:
- Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is based on consuming the bare minimum of a nutrient to prevent overt deficiency. We need new RDI’s which address optimal intake for optimal health. That science, that data, just does not exist yet.
- Our food supply itself is less nutritious. Highly processed food is ubiquitous and processing destroys most of the nutritional value of the food. Unless it’s organic, the food in North America is generally grown on depleted soils, lacking micronutrients, picked green, long before it is ripe and ready to consume, before it has had the chance to take up additional nutrients (even those that exist in the soil). Hence, the smart trend to local, ripe, organically raised food. Unfortunately, this kind of high quality food is not available to everyone.
- We generally don’t consume the quantity of food required to meet all our nutritional needs, even if the quality is high. This is because our more sedentary lifestyles do not require us to take in as much fuel as our forebears. Less food consumed – less nutrients consumed.
Whole Food Supplements