Many years ago, I read a little green booklet that changed my life. It had a very provocative title called, “Your Health is in Danger!” by a very provocative author by the name of Robert G. Allen.
In the book, he outlined the 5 “Lies” about vitamin and mineral supplements.
I have chosen to call them “Myths.”
Myth #1. Nutritional supplements are not necessary if you eat right.
Myth #2. Nutritional supplements don’t work.
Myth #3. Nutritional supplements can be dangerous in large doses.
Myth #4. All nutritional supplements are the same.
Myth #5. Nutritional supplements are too expensive.
In the next several posts, I want to reproduce an edited version of these five myths. Even though this was written years ago, the information is still relevant, and in fact, more crucial than ever before. Misinformation on the supplement industry still persists, as it threatens the bottom line in the “Sickness industry.”
Myth #1. Nutritional supplements are not necessary. I get all the nutrition I need from my food.
I used to believe with millions of other North Americans that I didn’t need vitamins….that I got all the nutrition I needed from my food. But as I soon learned, eating healthy in this modern world is almost impossible. I know that sounds like a strong statement. Let me explain it this way.
Your body needs a precise mix of 59 nutrients daily including 13 vitamins and 22 minerals. The USDA conducted a landmark study to find out just how many of us actually eat all of these essential ingredients every day. They surveyed 22,000 people and discovered that only 3% of us actually ate healthy, balanced diets daily. Only 3%! But that’s not the real story. Of the 22,000 people in this survey, not a single person received all of the 10 most important vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Not one person! And yet I hear people say almost every day, “I don’t need vitamins. I’ll just eat healthy.” Now, you know the truth. Almost none of us gets enough of the essential nutrients daily. And that includes you.
Why is this? In our fast paced hectic 21st century lifestyle, almost nobody eats healthy anymore. Only 9% of us actually eat the five daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables recommended by the National Cancer Institute. So 91% of us are not eating properly. And if this wasn’t bad enough, most of the fresh foods we do eat are degraded, devoid of nutrients, contaminated and processed into empty shells of the nutrient bearers that nature intended them to be.
A century ago food was much more nutritious than it is today. Back then, 97% of us were farmers. We grew our own food just a few feet from our tables. But today, only 3% of us grow our own food. Farming is run by huge farming conglomerates. And in this shift from family farms to corporate farms, three deadly things happened to our food supply: chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides, and destructive food storage and processing techniques.
For example, in 1948, a bowl of spinach used to contain about 150 milligrams of iron. But today that same bowl of spinach contains only about 2 milligrams! You’d have to eat 75 bowls of spinach today to get the same mineral content only 50 years ago.
When I first read this, I was stunned! I just assumed that spinach was spinach. I had no idea that our food supply had become so seriously degraded. Did you? And to make matters worse, not only are we lacking essential nutrients, but the little nutrients we do receive, are contaminated. Foods grown with fertilizers are weaker and more susceptible to pests and insects. So what does modern farming do? It creates toxic pesticides to kill off these pests. Can you see the problem? Recent tests showed that 50% of fruits and vegetables we eat are contaminated with the residues of these dangerous bug killers….many of which have been proven to cause cancer.
Processing destroys our food!
Now, if that’s not bad enough, look what happens when you transport this mineral deficient, chemically laden food across the nation or the world. Before it gets to your table, much of our food is detoured through factories and processing plants making it nutritionally empty.
For example, let’s take peas. Peas cooked garden-fresh lose 56% of their vitamins by serving time; but frozen peas lose 83% and canned peas lose 94%. How about those instant potatoes? Fresh potatoes are a decent source of vitamin C, but instant potatoes have ZERO vitamin C! 100% is lost in processing. How about that delicious white bread? In order to make flour that can sit on store shelves without spoiling, processors remove the most precious and nutritious outer layers of the wheat. In doing so, they remove most of 22 vitamins and minerals. Then, they add back 6 vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts than they removed, and call the final product, “enriched.”
But they don’t tell you about the vital zinc that was removed, or the chromium, or the magnesium. When it comes to our food, you and I have been lied to. Many of our foods are nutritionally bankrupt.
Now, I’m going to say something that may seem preposterous in our overweight, overfed North American world. In fact, what I’m about to say will seem absolutely shocking to most people. But here goes….
You and I are literally starving to death!
Not starving for food….but starving for nutrients that are supposed to be in the foods. With mineral depleted soils, chemically treated and processed foods, we are starving to death.
Now, before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, go back with me in time a few hundred years, when thousands of supposedly “well fed” sailors also starved to death of a disease called scurvy. What caused this disease? An infection? No. It was caused by a simple deficiency of vitamin C. When given vitamin C in limes and lemons, they recovered quickly.
What is the scurvy of today? It’s heart disease and cancer and other deadly chronic degenerative diseases. Our immune systems, weakened because of deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in our food supply, are less likely to protect us. Although we are fatter as a nation than we have ever been, we are starving ourselves to death. As someone said, “We are overfed and undernourished.”
More than two thirds of us now believe that taking supplements will help maintain their health. Obviously, we need vitamin and mineral supplements now, more than ever. Still, there are dangerous and even deadly rumours floating around, like this one.
Myth #2. Nutritional supplements don’t work.
But that’s for another post.