So what is a healthy diet? These days we hear so much conflicting information and so many commercialized sources telling us their diet is the best way to lose weight or stay healthy. You could make your self crazy trying to know what is the best thing—keto, paleo, gluten free, fat free, no carb, low carb, vegan and more…
In medical school we learned as simple rule of thumb. If there are 20 different treatments for a condition, none of them are probably ideal. For example, if you have appendicitis there is really only one treatment for it—have your appendix out. That’s because it is essentially the perfect and fool proof treatment. Unfortunately, diets fall in to the former category—there are so many recommendations out there, that there probably is not one single good answer. As doctors, our patients often ask for the perfect diet.
In our opinion, the perfect diet is the healthful diet that you are able to maintain. That is the diet, that is both generally healthy which is palatable enough for you to keep it up. This doesn’t mean you will not have occasional lapses but it does mean that the diet is actually not a diet, it is a lifestyle. It is a way that you eat with your health in mind that is satisfying and helps you meet your health goals. From a medical standpoint this typically does not mean eliminating any one category of food but rather, focusing on eating whole foods such as plentiful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins. A Mediterranean type diet is probably the most sensible diet from a clean eating, cardiovascular standpoint and an overall focus on mostly plant based foods also has good data behind it.
Beyond, this framework for guidance, we are also often asked why taking vitamins is necessary if you keep a healthy diet? It turns out that very few diets meet all our nutritional needs. Even those of us that eat very “cleanly” end up falling short on certain key nutrients. This is in part due to the lack of nutrients in our food supply. Unfortunately, years of farming has demineralized our soil and our food. Organic produce has a slight advantage but still often falls short.
In addition, certain nutrients are not readily found in food. For example, Vitamin D3 (an essential hormone and vitamin— key for immune support, mood, bone health, muscle strength and more) is not found in significant quantities in food (other than liver) and is obtained from sun exposure. Yet, most of us do not sit in the sun shirtless, year round (nor should we due to skin cancer risk) to get adequate vitamin D. The epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and its impact has been brought further to light by the COVID crisis.
Other nutrients are actually added only to certain processed foods, such as iodine. Those who avoid processed foods and table salt (for good healthy reasons) may actually become iodine deficient which results in lowering metabolism and other negative effects on your health. Likewise, in the name of better health many avoid eating red meat. In doing so, they can become iron deficient and have low total body iron stores leading to low energy, fatigue, thinning hair and more.
Thus, a good healthy diet is important for so many reasons, yet it is not always enough. A personalized vitamin that takes into account your dietary habits, lifestyle and health concerns is the best way to get the exact nutrients you need. Just as vitamin deficiencies an be harmful so can taking too many vitamins or the wrong vitamins. A physician created medically sound solution is advised to avoid these pitfalls and round out your healthy habits so that you can benefit from both eating well and filling in nutritional gaps. Take our vitamin quiz to find out the nutrients you need in addition to your efforts at a healthy diet.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teenagers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015). Take your vitamin quiz now to get exactly the right vitamins for your needs.
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Nothing contained herein is intended to be a diagnosis or constitute medical advice. The symptoms described in this Blog may be a result of a serious medical condition which requires medical treatment. You should consult with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this Blog and before beginning any vitamin or supplement regimen.