A 1,300-page report just released by the National Research Council contains good news for consumers of vitamin, calcium and fiber supplements who want to reduce their grocery bills.
The massive study says, in effect, that such products have no known beneficial value to health.Moreover, it says that vitamin-mineral supplements that exceed the recommended daily allowance not only have no known health benefits, but their use actually may be detrimental to health.
High-salt diets, diets rich in animal fat, and alcohol consumption also came under attack in the report.
The landmark study recommends that fat be reduced to 30 percent or less of the calories consumed daily and that cholesterol consumption be less than 30 milligrams daily.
Undoubtedly, the report is going to upset many people who believe deeply that taking extra vitamins is good for everything from curing the common cold to dealing with cancer.
Supplements may have some value for people for people whose diet is so limited that it lacks basic variety, but people in that condition probably wouldn't be buying vitamins, anyway. But most individuals concerned enough about their health to purchase vitamins are already eating reasonably well and don't need the supplements.
The findings are good news for consumers. Instead of continuing to spend millions on vitamin pills and dietary supplements, Americans would be well-advised to erase many of these products from their shopping lists and use the money saved to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, starches and other complex carbohydrates, as the report recommends.
At a time when new health and diet fads seem to spring up every week, the National Research Council has provided exhaustive data which merits serious consideration from those who value good health, which, incidentally, ought to include just about everyone.