While eating primarily plant-based diet of whole foods, you should be able to get the vast majority, if not all, of the carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals you need on a daily basis from your food. I always recommend produce over any pills, potions, or patches as the real solution for true health.
Nevertheless, many people are concerned about which supplements they should take to lose weight or increase their overall health. In general, the effectiveness of supplements has been called into question by a variety of scientific studies (contrary to the marketing machines of many companies that produce them). As one researcher once noted, most supplements have very little impact on human health and their main function seems is merely to produce very expensive urine. Nevertheless, I do recommend two basic supplements for anyone on the Chocolate Diet:
- A High Quality Multivitamin: People sometimes ask me for a particular brand name; however, I don’t have a favorite. In the US, I do recommend that you check for the USP symbol as that means it has been inspected for quality. For Vegans and Vegetarians, this will contain vitamin B12 and avoid any problems at a later day. For pre-menopausal women, this should contain Vitamin D, Iron, and Folic acid. For post-menopausal women and men, it is best to choose a multivitamin which does NOT contain any Iron.
- An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement:The right balance of essential fatty acids is required for optimum health, so I recommend that people take a high quality Omega-3 fatty acid supplement which contains both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from krill, fish, or algae sources.
Wait! What about alpha-Linolenic acid for Vegans?
Although the alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) in flaxseeds, walnuts, and a variety of other seeds and nuts is converted into EPA and DHA in the human body, the poor efficiency of this conversion results in less than 5% becoming EPA//DHA. As a result, I recommend Omega-3 fatty acid supplements that already contain EPA and DHA directly. If you have ethical or ecological concerns about fish oil or krill oil, try to get a supplement derived from the algae source (which is the source for Omega-3 fatty acids for the krill and fish themselves). While I believe it is great to include seeds and nuts in your diet and to have some ALA, my philosophy for choosing a supplement is simple: choose the exact nutrient you are trying to prevent from becoming low or deficient within the body instead of relying on internal biochemistry to do a very inefficient conversion.
That’s it: one multivitamin and one omega-3 fatty acid supplement! Unless your Doctor or primary health care provider have recommended you take additional supplements due to a specific deficiency, these are the only supplements that one requires while losing weight on the Chocolate Diet or any other program at Nutrition Coach.
This list is very simple and should be relatively inexpensive. There is no reason to spend hundreds of dollars on supplements each month. That is simply a waste of money and will not improve your health or weight, except to make your wallet a little lighter.