The Best and Worst MultivitaminsPosted on Aug 10th 2010 3:00PM by Martha Edwards
Recent surveys from Consumer Reports show that 56 percent of vitamin users are worried that their daily multi contains harmful ingredients, and 47 percent aren't even sure they contain the nutrients they promise to. If we're so concerned about our vitamins, why are we even taking them?
Relax -- it seems our fears are unfounded. Consumer Reports tested 21 different multivitamins, and in most cases, they do live up to their hype. None were found to contain harmful ingredients, and all but one of the brands tested had at least 90 percent of the ingredients listed. One Daily was the one that fell short. They also tested the pills to make sure they can dissolve in your stomach easily enough, and all the samples except One Daily and Whole Source Mature Adult did.
There's even more good news -- you don't have to throw money at expensive vitamins, because the reports found that store-brands were often as good or superior to name brands. Costco's Kirkland Signature multivitamins were voted the best in all categories -- for seniors, kids and adults -- and were among the cheapest.
As for those on the bottom of the rankings? Centrum was the lowest-rated vitamin pill for seniors, while those classic Flintstones vitamins were considered the worst for kids. But "worst" isn't necessarily a bad thing, since none of the vitamins were a huge let-down in their nutritional content.
All the same, Consumer Reports is also quick to point out that vitamins will never compete with a healthy diet. "Study after study of isolated, high doses of vitamins has found they failed to prevent cancer, dementia, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes, even though people who eat foods rich in those vitamins have lower rates of those diseases," the report stated.
For dieters who might be eating less nutrients than usual, multivitamins may be a healthy way to balance out you mineral intake. But vitamins should never replace a proper diet, and even if you took every known vitamin, it would never make it OK to not eat your vegetables. So instead of booking it to Costco or Walmart to load up on multivitamins, head to your local farmers market instead. Fresh summer produce is a much tastier (and healthier) way to get your nutrients.
Not sure how to incorporate healthy produce into your everyday diet? Here's are some tempting recipes that cut fat but not flavor.