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Are Fruit and Vegetable Pills as Good as Eating the Real Thing?

I’m getting more and more questions about fruit and vegetable pills. These fruit and vegetable supplements, manufactured by a variety of companies, are generally made by drying, dehydrating and pulverizing fruits and vegetables to turn them into a powder. Sometimes additional vitamins are added to the powders.

Research suggests that the benefits of fruits and vegetables are due to the complex mixture of phytochemicals in the whole fruits and vegetables that act in an additive and synergistic way to give us their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A purified phytochemical in a supplement probably doesn’t have the same benefits to health as the phytochemicals occurring in whole foods. Isolated phytonutrients in supplements may lose their bioactivity or not behave the same as when they occur in natural foods. A substantial contribution to our health from fruits and vegetables comes from the fiber and how it promotes a good intestinal microbiome. The evidence is strong that the benefits of fruits and vegetables can’t be reduced to a pill form.

So, in my opinion, fruit, vegetable and berry capsules should not be considered acceptable substitutes for eating fruits and vegetables in your diet. While it might be nice to just take a pill and forget about it you will be missing out on lots of nutrients naturally found in vegetables and fruits as well as the all-important fiber from those fruits and vegetables. Taking a pill is not the same as eating fruits and vegetables.

Some of the manufacturers of these supplements do state that you still need to eat real fruits and vegetables and that the supplements are just to fill in the gaps. They also reinforce the mistaken belief that it is hard to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. With good planning, and a little nutrition education, most people should have no trouble eating all the fruits and vegetables they need. It’s not that hard. Personally, I’ll spend my money on fruits and vegetables in their whole form and enjoy their wonderful flavors and textures, rather than buying pills.

 

posted on 4/17/2022