Is it OK to...

Substitute fruit and vegetables with vitamins?
Monday , 25 April 2011
Is it OK to...
Fruit and Vegetables

A reader asks: Over the last few months, my energy levels have decreased and my doctor told me it’s all down to me not eating enough fruit and vegetables. The problem is, I can’t stand the stuff. I’ve started compensating by taking daily vitamins, but I’m worried they’re not enough. Can I get the same amount of goodness from vitamins as I would from eating fruit and veg on a daily basis? Amelia, Abu Dhabi

An expert answers: No, says Ghida Arnaout, dietician for Live’ly ( “Bad news incoming: nobody’s denying that vitamins have benefits. After all, according to research, around 20 per cent of the western world take them on a regular basis, as do the majority of my clients so, clearly, they serve a purpose.

That said, it’s not ideal to substitute fruit and vegetables with vitamins. The main reason for this is that, while synthetic supplements can be effective, a quick dose (as opposed to the recommended five a day) is often difficult for the body to absorb all in one go. In fact, it can be counter productive because it results in a toxic build up within the body.

On top of this, no matter how much vitamins can provide you with, studies have shown that the minerals, fibre and antioxidants that you find in fruit and vegetables are absolutely essential to your body and can’t really be beaten. So to be truly healthy, it’s a case of learning to like your greens I’m afraid.”

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