To supplement, or…

Antioxidants are all the rage—but should you supplement your diet?

Antioxidants get a lot of hype, and it's true that they act as defenders against free radicals—chemical byproducts of natural processes that can damage the body's cells and genetic material. According to Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype, published online by Harvard School of Public Health, some studies have indicated that people with low intakes of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables were at greater risk for developing heart disease, cancer, vision loss and many other chronic conditions. Separate clinical trials explored whether individual antioxidants, such as vitamin E and beta-carotene, acted against those diseases when taken as a supplement; most have shown that they don't. Meanwhile, antioxidant supplements are a $500 million industry, with many breakfast cereals, sports bars and energy drinks touting antioxidant-boosted ingredients. The article states: “While it's true that the package of antioxidants, minerals, fiber and other substances found naturally in fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps prevent a variety of chronic diseases, it is unlikely that high doses of antioxidants can accomplish the same feat.”