Is It A Food or Is It A Supplement?

Monster label slimquick-pure-extra-strength-drink-mix-supplement-facts

There are differences between food products and dietary supplements. Our foods are governed closely by the FDA and require specific labeling, titled ‘Nutritional Facts,’ that are specific and apply to true food products and contain the benefits to the daily dietary intake. Dietary supplements labels are titled ‘Supplement Facts’ and are not intended to be consumed for nutritional content alone, in other words to only supplement.

So why is this important? There are things people tend to assume are a food product, but are actually a dietary supplement. One common example are certain energy drinks. Energy drinks are known for high caffeine and sugar content and a variety of herbal ingredients including Ginseng, Taurine, Guarana, and Ginko biloba, to name a few. There are also sugar free options with very few to no calories, but still pack that punch from the ‘proprietary blend’ of ingredients. Other examples are Shakeology and Slimquick drinks. They are advertised as a meal replacement, but the label reflects these are supplements.

What is the take away? Look at the label and determine first if it is a food or a supplement. If it is a supplement, it may have herbal ingredients. But, just because these are ‘natural’ ingredients, the amounts and combination of those ingredients with added caffeine and possibly sugar change the entire make-up of the ‘natural’ ingredient and how it can affect the body. The reaction the body can have include increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and anxiety and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have underlying health issues or are on heart or blood pressure medications it could be quite dangerous. Also, the high dose of caffeine acts as a diuretic and can lead to dehydration. Long-term use of energy drinks can lead to other health problems.

Even the CDC wants you to be aware of what you are consuming. Understand the difference between a truly conventional food product and a dietary supplement. It is best to derive your nutrients from food products and determine your need for dietary supplements with the help of your health care provider.


Posted: June 3, 2016

Category: Food Safety, Health & Nutrition

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