973741 tn?1342342773

There are a lot of nutritional plans out there, which is best?

Eat this, don't eat that (isn't that a book?).  It's confusing.  Our doctor says we eat too much protein as a whole and we don't need all that much (well, my sons' pediatrician) --  others say load up.  It gets overwhelming.

And does a multi vitamin really cover you for missed nutrients? Most people are not into the whole long dialogue of take this so it absorbs with that and blah blah blah.  We just want to take the pill and be done. But does it work?
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Avatar universal
If you are an average adult with no special diet (such as a vegan.) Then you don't need to take vitamins, you can, but they have no affect if your body already has what it needs, which if you have a normal diet it does. The best way to eat in my opinion refers to the 5/20 rule. Look at the daily percents on your food. Eat foods with less than 5% of sodium, and trans fat, but eat foods with more than 20% of dietary fiber. Also, cut down on sugary foods and fatty foods and have at least one serving of fruits/vegetables with every meal.
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There's virtually nobody who gets all the nutrients that would be optimal by eating.  That isn't to say any0ne needs an optimal amount of nutrients -- people have been surviving and building great civilizations for centuries on food we're being told today isn't good for you, such as bread, and who didn't get a great variety of nutrients.  Modern refrigeration and freezing has made it much easier to get the variety of food for optimal nutrition you need to do that, but here's the thing few know -- the food we buy, and I'm talking about fresh produce here, is pretty old when we buy it and it has been losing nutrients every step of the way to your store.  It loses more sitting around in your house.  So yeah, you can survive without supplements, but you can probably thrive better with them provided they are of good quality, which means they will be expensive.  I'm speaking here mostly of antioxidants, which are mostly found in the most perishable foods such as veggies and fruits.  Antioxidants oxidize too, so I personally think it's a good idea to supplement if you can afford it but you don't need mega doses, you just need enough to make sure they are always present in your body to do their work.  
Avatar universal
It's unknown whether a multi covers for missed nutrients.  Food is a lot more easily absorbed than any supplement -- eating is the way the body evolved to take them in.  It depends on how much you're lacking.  If you can't absorb it from food for some reason, you might not absorb it from a supplement either unless the supplement is a form you can absorb.  Also, multis are not created equal.  Most aren't very good.  If it isn't really expensive and you don't have to take 3-6 tabs a day, it won't have much in it and because of the limited absorption you won't get much at all -- one a days are almost useless, especially for minerals, which take up a lot of space.  But a multi is prophylactic -- while it probably can't compensate for a poor diet, it can cover for what we miss from time to time.  It can cover for those who don't eat a good variety of foods.  So it's a good idea to take a really good one just to be safe if you can afford it.  But if you need a particular nutrient, then you have to take that one by itself -- again, not much of anything in a multi, not enough space.  The protein thing is harder to deal with, because in the short term it does have benefits for some people.  It helps with building muscle if you're into doing that.  It can help with weight loss in the short term, though not in the long term.  Long term, too much is harmful, just as is too little.  Too much from red meat is harmful, so the source is important as well.  What we don't have good data on is the long-term effects of a high protein diet that isn't too high, that doesn't go overboard, but so far the results are best for a good old balanced diet of healthy foods high in fish, veggies, and whole grains, and if you eat that way, you're really not going to get a high protein diet.  
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