Rose Donnelly, a clinical dietitian at Regional Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital says if your diet consists of a wide variety of healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats there is no need to supplement. Her advice is to eat foods in whole form, as you get more bang for your buck. A healthy diet should be focused on a balanced blend of foods and an emphasis on greens — Rose suggests adding spinach to meals as a way to sneak in those leafy greens.
“I recommend all of my clients when they ask me help with maintaining their weight, losing weight, overall increasing their health, I really challenge them to try to get in five servings of vegetables every day. So a serving of vegetables is a half-cup of cooked vegetables, one full cup raw vegetables, or generally two handfuls of a leafy green. It is not impossible to do, it’s a little bit of a stretch. But it is definitely a good idea to get at least five servings,” says Rose.
She emphasizes a plate made up of mostly veggies, then adding in grains and protein with a side of fruit and dairy if desired. She likes the Harvard Plate for a reference on daily diet intake.
But if you can’t get in the recommended diet, taking a supplement is an option, maybe while traveling or feeling run down and just needing a boost. Athletes or vitamin deficient people may benefit from supplements.
The FDA does not regulate supplements, so Rose says if you going to purchase a powder drink, make sure it is third party verified. She suggests verification from places like NSC or Informed choice, that ensures a double check on products, making sure they claim what is in the mix is correct.
Make sure you read to label and stay away from ingredients like ‘proprietary blend’ or extra additives.
“I also like to look at the ingredients as well and what I want the product for. If I’m looking for something to supplement some fruits and vegetables, I really just want to see fruits and vegetables in the label, I don’t necessarily want to see some added sugars. I don’t want to see any kind of flour or wheat or gluten containing ingredients, I don’t really want to see any dairy, in general I just want to look for just what I need,” says Rose.
Rose also suggests organic products — price may be an issue, but you typically get what you pay for.
Rose says if you do choose a powder mix, one mix every other day should be sufficient.