What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a product consumed via mouth to supplement the needs of dietary intake by means of dietary ingredients. Dietary ingredients include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandulars and metabolites. Dietary supplements are available in multiple forms such as tablets, gels, capsules, liquids or powders. They can also come in bar form, but the label information should convey the fact that it is not a conventional food.
Do I need to check with my physician or healthcare provider before taking a dietary supplement?
The ingredients in a dietary supplement are not tested or approved by the FDA and the consequences must be entirely borne by the individual choosing the supplement. Hence, it is better that pregnant and nursing women and people with chronic illness or medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease or hypertension keep it a policy to check with their healthcare provider or physician before taking any supplements.
Is it practically feasible to achieve all my vitamin and mineral needs from the food I eat?
A well-balanced diet consisting of nutrient-rich food offers the body with all the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other substances needed for good health. It is 100-percent recommended that you try to get all your vitamins and minerals by eating such foods while taking care of the calories consumed and the energy expenditure. Also, there is insufficient evidence to strongly recommend/condemn the use of multivitamins/mineral supplements for preventing chronic diseases.
Will a supplement help me to lose weight?
In general, most supplements have harmful side effects and can even disrupt the functioning of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The regulations imposed for over-the-counter medications are totally different from that imposed for weight-loss supplements and the FDA does not test or approve any of the weight-loss supplements before they are released into the market. It solely depends on the manufacturer’s discretion to ensure that the supplements are safe, true to their label claims and not misleading.
Why do dietitians and trainers keep emphasizing on recovery nutrition after exercise?
Recovery is critical to replenish the body with the lost nutrient stores and prepare yourself for forthcoming training sessions. The importance of recovery nutrition is dependent on the type and duration of exercise performed, body composition rules and personal choices. Recovery nutrition is extremely important when athletes participate in two or more training sessions in one day or two sessions in limited time duration (for instance, a late-evening session followed by an early-morning session). But, when you train for a couple of days in a week or exercise once a day, recovery nutrition is still important, but you can fulfill nutrient requirements with your usual meals and snacks instead of relying on extra food.
What are the outcomes if my recovery nutrition goes wrong?
Insufficient nutrition recovery, all the more while participating/training multiple times in a day can lead to increased fatigue, decreased performance during the next training session or event, below-than-expected gains from the recently completed session and increased muscle soreness.
What is the time gap required between my exercise session and next meal/snack?
Rehydration should happen immediately after training but carbohydrate and protein refueling depends on how much time gap is available before the next training session. Body responds best when carbs are replaced within 60-90 minutes after exercise. If you don’t replenish within 90 minutes, you can do so using your next regular meal after exercise. Some athletes split the recovery part into two schedules-they take a light snack immediately after exercise followed by their meal to completely recover.
What can I eat after exercise?
Every person needs different foods depending on his/her food preferences, appetite and body composition. In general, the food we eat after exercise must be rich in quality carbs to replenish lost muscle fuel stores, abundant in lean protein to promote muscle repair and contain fluids and electrolytes to rehydrate. There is no 'one' best choice to choose and you can eat dairy foods such as flavored milk, fruit yogurt or smoothies to refuel your carbohydrate, protein, fluid and electrolyte stores.
Which is the healthiest fluid option that I can choose to drink after my exercise?
The best fluid to choose during exercise depends on your goals. If you wish for:
What does a healthy diet imply?
When the food you eat contains all the essential nutrients, contains a variety of healthy food from all the food groups and when the calories consumed match the calories expended to help you stay on a healthy weight, it is called a healthy diet. Such eating patterns limit consumption of sugar, salt (sodium), solid fat and alcohol.
I am concerned about my eating pattern and lifestyle. Who is the best person to guide me regarding this?
Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are health professional who are masters in the field of nutrition and food. An RDN is the best person to offer counselling on eating patterns and provide a personalized diet chart after getting a detailed history about your eating pattern, lifestyle and health status.
How many servings do I need to consume from each food group?
The number of servings recommended depends on the calorie needs of the person. In general, it is advisable that we eat 2 cups of fruits, 2.5 cups of vegetables and make half the grains we consume as whole grains to stay on a healthy balanced weight.
Is too much of an essential nutrient too harmful to health?
Human body needs different nutrients in different proportions for a balanced body and good health. Authorities in food and nutrition have defined tolerable upper levels (UL) of all the nutrients as the maximum quantity that can be consumed by a normal individual that poses no threat to our health. The UL is different for different nutrients. When a person consumes beyond these levels, it can cause serious health damages.
Nowadays, most of us rely on fibrous foods to stay healthy. But, are there different types of fiber in food and how much of fiber is good enough for the body?
Fiber in foods can be categorized into soluble and insoluble, each having a different effect on the human body. As per DRIs, the recommended quantity of fiber for adults up to 50 years of age is 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams for men. For people above 50, it is 21 grams in the case of women and 30 grams for men.