Consumers Association of Penang

Giving voice to the little people...since 1970

Food: better than supplements

supplementsmod1There is a proven formula for health and well-being, you might say a cure even, for the many common diseases that plague modern man — and the answer is not supplements. It is not advertised; is sold without claims; does not come in attractive packaging; is cheap, natural and effective; and it’s 100% safe as it’s been tried and tested since prehistoric times. The wonder cure: Wholesome natural foods.

Food, in its original unprocessed state, or plant foods — the way nature has provided — is far superior to any vitamin and dietary pill on the shelf where health and healing are concerned. Many plant foods have amazing disease-fighting properties that cannot be replicated in pill form.

Fruits, vegetables, grains (and healthy fats) — protective foods eaten in large amounts by our earliest ancestors — are the timeless secret to health and longevity. Unfortunately, half of the Malaysian population is not making use of this powerful weapon to protect themselves from disease. According to a recent survey, one in two Malaysians takes dietary supplements.

If you’re one of the 12.5 million pill-poppers out there, here’s the sobering truth: Natural food, according to science, is superior to supplements where health, disease and well-being are concerned.

If you want to be healthy or are looking for an antidote for your health problems, don’t turn to the vitamin promoter, turn to Mother Nature. Vitamins and mineral supplements are no cure-all against disease. Nature’s wholesome foods will protect you better.

Supplements can be unsafe & unhealthy. In the 1980s and 1990s, food supplements were believed to be some of the most promising medicines in the fight against cancer, heart disease, stroke and other ailments. Today experts are warning that supplements can end up shortening your life.

Many supplements have been found to be ineffective in protecting against the various health problems they are supposed to help with. Vitamin C did not prevent colds in several studies. Vitamin D and calcium did not prevent bone fractures in a study. Vitamin E showed no benefit for heart or cancer. Vitamin A helps the eyes but did nothing for cancer.

In the past, modern medicine viewed the medicine in everyday foods as folklore, today doctors and scientists strongly believe in food’s enormous potential for influencing disease.

According to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times (24.12.08), some doctors now advise their patients not to bother with the pills, and to rely instead on a healthy diet to provide needed vitamins and minerals.

“These things are ineffective, and in high doses they can cause harm,” said Dr Edgar R. Miller, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US.

“People are unhappy with their diets, they’re stressed out, and they think it (the pills) will help. It’s just wishful thinking.”

Most scientists today agree that extra vitamins in pills, tablets or powders add little, if anything, to a well-balanced diet that adheres to current nutritional guidelines.

Vitamins and minerals should ideally come from food, and not designer supplements, experts now advise.

Food has disease-fighting powers. Food is now validated by science as being the best medicine.

Many prestigious research institutions have investigated, and now acknowledge that a proper diet is much healthier, and safer, than supplements; and that the right diet can reduce the risk of many serious diseases.

And medical, health and nutritional experts everywhere have now declared food as the passport to good health. So eat your way to better health — and a longer life.


Find out more about Foods to Prevent CANCER, Foods to Prevent HEART DISEASE and What Our Ancestors Knew About Food in Utusan Konsumer May-June 2009.

Read about how protective foods like fruits and vegetables give us nutrition that we lack in the CAP Guides, Fruits - A Nutrition Guide and Vegetables - A Nutrition Guide