by Marion Nestle
Jan 30 2014

Supplement infographic: most users are healthy to begin with

I love this new graphic from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the trade association for the dietary supplement industry.

My favorite: “Supplement consumers are more likely to engage in other healthy habits than non-consumers.”

This is delightfully ambiguous.  Does it mean: Supplements make consumers healthier?

Or does it mean: consumers who are healthy to begin with are the ones who take supplements?

I vote for the latter.  That’s why the great majority of studies of supplements and health show no effect.  Study subjects are already healthy and don’t need them.

The Dietary Supplement Consumer: The 5 W’s answered about the more than two-thirds of U.S. adults taking dietary supplements, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).�




  • TR
  • January 30, 2014
  • 2:44 pm

Clearly, someone thinks that supplement users need their wallet thinned down.

  • George
  • January 30, 2014
  • 9:52 pm

It means neither of those things, it means what the infographic shows – that supplement users do more of the things they’re TOLD are healthy than other people.
This can be interpreted many ways – supplement users are (or were) sicker so were motivated to improve their lifestyles, supplement users are generally better educated about health, supplement users have more money to send on “health food” and doctors visits, supplement users are suckers for all forms of unproven quackery, including medical recommendations to eat “balanced” diets, lose weight, exercise more and so on.
If their idea of a “balanced” diet is based on the old food pyramid, or various other “healthy eating” recommendations, it’s perhaps not surprising that the benefits of supplementation aren’t as obvious as was once predicted.

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  • Cactus_Wren
  • February 5, 2014
  • 4:52 am

I think the most surprising result is the fact that physicians and pharmacists are trusted more than nutritionists about nutritional information. While I owe my life to great doctors, this is one area in which they are undereducated; and yet the nutritionist, assuming they are an actual Registered Dietician, actually gets less respect.

  • Larry Cleveland RD LD
  • March 3, 2014
  • 10:25 am

Interesting that Doctors are turned to for supplement advice. Interesting that Medicare pays MD’s to counsel obese patients and not RD’s. The Academy of…. is part of the problem by being in bed with big food. The public is learning to not trust us like they are learning not to trust doctors who’s solution is a drug (a pill). We are getting put in the same boat and it’s flat out embarrasing.

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