July is Nutrition Month. Various public and private groups are conducting campaigns to remind the public about the need for good nutrition and proper diet.
It is common knowledge that certain vitamins and minerals are necessary for good health. But many people rely on supplements to get their daily supply of essential nutrients.
While convenient—all you have to do is pop a pill or a capsule—taking supplements is not the best way to get your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of minerals and vitamins. An in-depth report on vitamins by the University of Maryland Medical Center in the United States says: “With the exception of vitamin D, supplements are helpful only for certain people… and they may actually be harmful for other people.”
It adds: “Evidence shows that beta-carotene supplements can have harmful effects on smokers, increasing their risk for lung cancer and their overall death rates. Beta-carotene from food appears to be safe.”
While diets high in fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene, lycopene and other carotenoids may reduce the risk of heart attack, the report says, “Supplements, however, do not reduce these risks.”
Most evidence also suggests that vitamin supplements have little or no benefit against colds or other upper respiratory infections, the reports points out.
The report likewise strongly recommends getting the nutrients the body needs from natural sources—fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains—that not only provide the essential vitamins but also dietary fiber and equally beneficial minerals. It stresses: “A diet that is naturally high in vitamins can help prevent many diseases.”
No to ‘fake sugar’
Jonathan Berr reports for MSN Money that a new study raises several health issues about zero- or low-calorie sodas—the beverage of choice for people who want to reduce their sugar intake.
Berr says that according to the study, conducted by researchers at Purdue University in the US, and published as an opinion piece in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, “ingesting ‘fake sugar’ results in the body not knowing how to process the real thing and can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease, among other problems.”
Although the beverage industry denies reports that their “diet” drinks are unhealthy, Berr says experts have argued for years that diet sodas are at best a less bad alternative to regular sugared beverages. Diet drinks, he points out, have been linked to kidney problems. They have also been found to speed up intoxication when mixed in cocktails.
Experts are even more concerned that diet soda consumption has more than doubled among children, as found by a research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Berr quotes the Harvard School of Public Health: “For adults trying to wean themselves from sugary soda, diet soda may be the beverage equivalent of a nicotine patch: something to be used in small amounts, for a short time, just until you kick the habit. For children, the long-term effects of consuming artificially sweetened beverages are unknown, so it’s best for kids to avoid them.”
The new Republic Act 10361 or Domestic Workers Act will be discussed in the Kasambahay Forum at the Lingkod Pinoy Center at Robinsons Ilocos Norte on July 27, 2 p.m., and Robinsons Metroeast on July 30, 10 a.m.
Representatives of the Department of Labor and Employment, Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and Home Development Mutual Fund (Pagibig) will answer questions.
Send letters to The Consumer, Lifestyle Section, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 1098 Chino Roces Ave. cor. Mascardo and Yague Sts, 1204 Makati City; fax 8974793/94; or e-mail [email protected]