“I heard that vitamins are food, is that true?”
We are “told” that we do not need vitamins if we eat a well-balanced meal. This is where the controversy truly begins. Are we really getting all the nutrients we need from the food we eat?
Let’s take a look.
Food can have plenty of substance and it can lack nutritional value at the same time. We will call this “empty” food, meaning empty or void of nutritional value.
Empty food has become an American staple, after all we are a nation of processed and fast foods. Anything to have the quickest meal possible. Heck, even sitting down at in actual table is a rare event anymore. We would rather eat standing up, walking, and our favorite…while driving. Anything to be more convenient and save time.
But what happens over time when we ingest this empty food?
We develop indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea as evident with the countless TV commercials advocating some sort of anti-acid, anti-diarrhea and fiber supplements.
If we were getting all the nutrients we need, why so many digestive complaints?
Most of us would agree that processed and fast food are epidemic and is extremely unhealthy. Thus, the solution is to change your diet, because it’s all about the quality of the food.Right? Well, this is where the controversy really starts to get good.
So to answer the question, “I heard that vitamins are food, is that true?”
The short answer is yes, vitamins are foods. The long answer is no, there is a difference. Let me explain.
When we usually think of food, we think of a:
- Protein (chicken, beef, fish, beans etc.)
- Carbohydrate (Bread, pasta, rice, etc.)
- Fat (Butter, oils, etc.)
In other words, we don’t usually think of, “Mmmmm, I’m going to eat a big plate of B vitamins with a dash of Vitamin A on the side tonight”. So in this regard, vitamins are not foods.
When you eat food, the protein, carbohydrate and fat are broken down into substances that the body can use for metabolism, meaning energy. Vitamins are not used in this way directly.
Vitamins are used for the purpose of body regulation. Let me use an example of water to explain what I mean.
Water, like food, is something that we must have to sustain our life. If you were to drink a liter of water, you would be “full” just like you’d also be “full” if you ate a big meal. You are “full” due to the physical substance/volume that you just ingested.
Now, if you and I were both lost on a desert and you had only distilled water to drink whereas I only had mineral water to drink, who do you think could survive longer?
The answer is I would live longer than you would. The reason is within the water.
Although you would be getting hydrated which is needed for metabolism, the minerals that are lacking in the distilled water would prevent the regulation of your body’s systems.
So going back to food, you could eat an entire meal that is full of substance for metabolism (energy), but totally lack the vitamins needed for the regulation of the body.
Our body not only needs substance for energy, we also need nutrients in that substance in order for our body’s system to function properly; just as with the water example. Also, food substance for energy can cause you to gain weight where as vitamins, per say, cannot.
So you do not directly gain or lose weight when you ingest vitamins. In this I mean that the lack of vitamins could cause digestive issues, which is a body function, and because they are involved with the digestive tract working properly, it indirectly can result in weight issues.
Once the vitamins are restored, the digestive issue clears and indirectly so are the weight issues.
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