Health Beat 3-1-2004

A Pill Is Not a Meal

Eating on the run and then filling nutritional shortfalls with dietary supplements is common practice and a big mistake, warns the American Dietetic Association (
    Supplements do not take the place of food, according to ADA spokesperson Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, but multivitamins can be useful as an adjunct to a well-balanced diet. Bonci says it helps to see if the product bears the “USP” mark of quality from the United States Pharmacopeia, a nongovernmental standards-setting organization.
    In general, however, supplements are not bound by the same federal  laws that conventional food manufacturers are subject to. For updated bulletins and advisories, go to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration website at, and click into the “dietary supplements” link.
    Finally, Bonci suggests that anyone with a pre-existing medical condition or who takes medication should talk to their primary care physician before taking supplements.