Thursday, July 12, 2007

'China-free' label stokes import debate

To paraphrase my cyber colleague Don Luis writing in response to my post about restaurant based credit card skimming, How about just not buying dietary supplements? This way we won't have to worry if they contain chemicals that aren't supposed to be there. And because so many of these medications contain potentially dangerous chemicals that are made in China, we won't have to worry about whether or not we are guilty of xenophobia when we choose one with a "China-Free" label.

Americans alone spend over $22 billion dollars a year on vitamins and strange pills of questionable value. I'm sure everyone knows someone who carts around a fishing tackle box full of yeast pills, algae extract gel tabs, caps of funky herbs that look like their supposed to do something more amusing than lower blood pressure or improve erectile distention (Okay, well that might qualify as amusing). I know know a couple of these, and each time I see one of these credulous placebo poppers, or when I glide by the endless rows of pill bottles in the supermarket I wonder Why not just eat a balanced diet composed of natural foods?

Sh-t, if someone is constantly constipated or not getting enough vitamins maybe they should eat more fruits and vegetables? If they're too fat perhaps they might consider eating less or moving around a little bit more.

If a doctor can't prescribe an FDA approved drug that has undergone rigorous clinical trials to help you sleep, what makes someone think that some pill from a company that does no testing is going to help? Why not try reading a book, doing a couple of hundred push-ups or even better, drink some vino puro.

I know it is not fair to extrapolate from personal experience but I'm going to do it anyway. I have not taken regular vitamin supplement since I was a kid. In fact, I don't take any kind of supplement nor will I unless my doctor tells me I should. I eat well and broadly, I don't eat when I'm not hungry , drink wine everyday, and get plenty of exercise. I'll bet that at least half of that 22 billion dollars that is spent on dietary supplements every year would be erased if everyone had the same attitude. if only I could come up with a plan to market my lifestyle I'll bet I could make a fortune.

'China-free' label stokes import debate


Anonymous said...

I do know a person or two like that - and have had to stop accepting lunch invitations from them. When you get two or more together at a table, aside from the vitamin talk, they alays head into the "I take this to regulate my colon" talk, and it drives me insane (in the BAD way). Typically they notice my lack of conversational contribution, to which I simply reply, "That's what coffee's for, duh."

The two or three times I've tried taking vitamins they've actually made me sick.

The thing I'd like to know is, why is there no such thing as a medication WITHOUT a side effect? Why is the potential side effect of too much aspirin a headache? How is this fair? And for some medications, the potential side effects are worse than the disease they are supposed to treat. I don't get it.


Tags said...

My personal favorite is people who put the meaningless "100% whole wheat" label on their bread because it's cheaper than doing what it takes to label it "100% whole GRAIN" which actually means something.

Second is folks who sell juice ostensibly with antioxidants and healthy ingredients. Well, they were there before they were pasteurized and concentrated, anyway.

Wait a minute, no. My favorite has to be Amway's Rich DeVos influencing congress so that they pass a "hands-off" law preventing any regulation of vitamins & supplements. Yeah, that's my favorite.

CarolinaGirl said...

Biology class and later on nutrition class taught us that our bodies tell us when something is wrong. Even animals know to eat plant leaves when their bodies need that benefit. Vitamin freaks actually think they look cool while discussing supplements and such. Amazing!

Sorcha said...

Most folks don't need vitamins if they eat a reasonably balanced diet. However, when I was diagnosed diabetic, my doctor started me on a multivitamin and megadoses of Vitamin C (I have the immune system of a rotten potato), and my health and energy levels improved immensely. I don't take vitamins every day anymore, but I do pop the C if I feel a cold coming on and it really does seem to help.

The thing that bugs me is people who assume that herbal supplements are a: completely safe just because they're "natural" and b: better for you because ditto. I've done study in herbal medicine and yes, herbs and plants can be very useful that way. However, you have to know what you're doing and you have to get stuff from a reputable company if you're not actually growing it yourself. Otherwise, you could really mess yourself up.

Gina said...

I agree with the above statements regarding the common sense approach to health and nutrition. However, as far as labeling is concerned - since I have a child with severe food allergies the more information the better and that includes where the source of the food.

I don't want to generalize or throw an entire culture into one small area - but you have to question what is going on when a minister is EXECUTED based on what food was going where. This article also grabbed my attention. Cardboard. Yum!

Don Luis said...

You wacky first worlders!

I wouldn't call myself a "vitamin freak," but I take a daily vitamin supplement.

When I lived in the US, I could eat "well and broadly," and I did. Puerto Rico, however, is a different place. Now I eat well but narrowly. The diet here is rich in meat and starchy vegetables, and woefully lacking in most anything else. My green vegetables are mostly celery and endive (when I can get them). Fruit, especially citrus and bananas, is plentiful but seasonal.

So I supplement my diet.