Why do the greatest benefits come from food, not from supplements?

A carbon tablet n a glas of water

Dole has always advocated that nutrition is best served up from food, not pills. Though supplements comprise a multibillion dollar global industry, experts agree that health benefits are best derived when whole foods are the focus, not individual nutrients in capsules or powders.

Can you package health in a pill?

Nutrient-centrism may be the more common viewpoint across the general population, but you simply cannot package health in a pill. Whole foods offer benefits that isolated nutrients cannot provide. A cup of pineapple not only offers vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B6, it packs in two grams of fiber, the enzyme bromelain and an assortment of phytonutrients. Everything in whole food works synergistically, which best promotes health.

A woman eating a vitamin pill
Picture: Pills contain isolated nutrients and therefore no nutrients variety such as fresh fruit

Serious health risks

Supplements are not only a waste of money for most, they could pose serious health risks. Nutrients in whole foods are buffered by fiber and water, which is not the case in pills, making it easier to consume too much of one nutrient. Another issue to consider is overly processed foods. A box of sugary cereal may boast fortified antioxidant and micronutrient content, but this can’t compete with the benefits of naturally healthy produce and brings the added risks of refined sugars and artificial ingredients.

A woman buying vegetable on a market
Picture: Pills can not keep up with natural food

Fresh fruits are better than isolated nutrients

The message is clear: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables balanced by lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats and you can reap the nutritional benefits from food for a fraction of the price of isolated nutrients.

Three fruity smoothies in a basket
Picture: Get your nutrients from fruity smoothies

 

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