To add insult to injury, a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition under the unimaginative title of “Ascorbic Acid Supplementation Does Not Attenuate Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness Following Muscle-Damaging Exercise But May Delay The Recovery Process” indicated that supplementation with anti-oxidants from synthetic sources may reverse many of the beneficial effects of physical training.
While this is a claim met by much resistance from the refined food and pharmaceutical industries, it’s being repeatedly borne out by the results of research. A study of women shifted from a diet high in processed foods to one replete with whole foods and whole food supplements resulted in a 61% decrease in saturated fat intake. They also experienced increases in dietary fiber of 60 percent, a 45 percent increase in vitamin E, a 60 percent improvement in vitamin C intake, and a five-fold increase in carotene intake. The net result of this new phytochemical-rich diet was an induced drop in total cholesterol of 13 percent – meaning less risk of heart disease and stroke, statistically still the biggest killers of people in first world countries. In the short term, they also saw vast improvements in bowel function and overall perceived health. Clearly whole food supplements are preferable to typical synthetic supplementation.
So the message, actually, seems to be rather clear. Eat a diet comprised primarily of whole foods and whole food supplements, and you’ll be a shoe-in for long life and a vital, healthy old age. It sounds simple, but there is a problem with that approach, at least in our current era of constant industry and nine-to-five workdays. Progressively, people in developed countries are struggling to keep up with the clock. Even as work-induced stress makes the disciplinary challenge of sticking to a diet more daunting, so spending what little
free time one has on grocery shopping can seem like its own special kind of waste. Unlike processed foods, whole foods are not very easily stored, meaning that to eat according to such a diet, you’ll need to visit a farmer’s market and buy your food fresh every few days. This is where well-meaning eaters so often falter in the journey towards health improvement and a trimmer waistline, entering the lifelong trend of yo-yo dieting.
Furthermore, many foods may not even be available in certain countries. Tell someone that lives in South Africa to eat more kale and you might as well be informing them of the beneficial effects of zero gravity.
Bent on finding their way around these obstacles to simple health maintenance, scientists have worked an angle that may sound, at first blush, a little counterintuitive. The goal of pharmaceutical supplementation has always been to preserve or improve upon the nutritional efficacy of whole foods in tablet and powder form. Through a rigorous process of trial and error, it was discovered that, by curing vegetables, herbs and other nutrient sources, grinding them up into powder, and forming that powder into tablets or capsules, it was possible to retain much of their nourishing value .This is only true of whole food supplements that have been processed using little or no heat. And so, it appears, one can finally enjoy the benefits of healthy eating via the simple act of popping a few pills. The benefit over ordinary eating is in the combinations of nutrient sources (and the quantities thereof) chosen, designed to complement each other and aid in the most complete, favorable absorption of the ingredients. Due to the incredible decrease in size that desiccation brings, it’s also possible to consume far more of said nutrients, avoiding the sometimes undesirable need to stuff one’s face with greens.