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Diet & Health

Do Vitamins Have Calories? Will They Make You Fat?

Calories aside, a healthy serving of vitamins is essential for your health, so don’t skimp.

Taking vitamins supplements, as opposed to preferably getting them from wholesome foods, can help round out your diet and ensure that your daily requirements are met. As for the question of whether vitamins have calories, it’s just one of several important variables you must consider.

Purpose Of Vitamins

No, vitamins do not contain calories, nor do they provide your body with energy. This means you don’t have to worry about gaining weight, getting fat or even disrupting your intermittent fasting from taking too much of them.

After vitamins from supplements or food are absorbed, your body uses them for various health-enhancing processes , such as:

  • Absorbing and metabolizing other nutrients.
  • Energy production for your daily activities.
  • Promoting normal cell function
  • Encouraging normal growth and development
  • Keeping you immune system in tip-top condition to prevent disease

It goes without saying that vitamins add to your overall well-being. Vitamin D, for instance, helps your body absorb calcium and promote bone growth, and too little of it results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia).

Vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic that has also been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies. In fact, studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease.

Melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure, so if you are dark-skinned and live in a country without a lot of sunlight, especially during the winter months, or a home-body who doesn’t go out a lot, there is good chance you might be vitamin D deficient. It’s time you probably considered taking vitamin D supplements on a regular basis.

Types Of Vitamins

Life would be so much simpler if we had a single vitamin that served all of our bodily needs and can be taken whenever and wherever, but that’s not the world we live in, at least not yet. In other words, when it comes to getting the right vitamins and in the right quantities, eating a balanced diet with a variety of foods is paramount to good health.

As noted by Carol Byrd-Bredbenner in her book “Perspectives in Nutrition,” Vitamins come in two types — water-soluble and fat-soluble — which partly explains why our bodies don’t always absorb the majority of vitamin supplements we consume.

Fat-soluble vitamins are those that are transported by fats and include vitamins A, D, E and K. To get the most out of fat-soluble vitamins, it’s best to take them with meals containing some fat.

Water-soluble vitamins are those that dissolve in water and are readily absorbed into tissues for immediate use. They include the B vitamins and vitamin C.

I like to take all my vitamins during my meals, which usually include a healthy serving of avocados, eggs and sometimes fish and/or meat.

Myths About Vitamins

There is persisting misconception that if taking a little of a certain vitamin helps to improve symptoms of a condition, then taking more will result in greater improvement. Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to taking vitamins.

According to “Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy,” the most respected nutrition text for over 50 years, the body can only absorb and use a certain amount of the vitamins we consume. Moreover, it cannot absorb man-made vitamin supplements as easily as vitamins in foods. These are other key reasons why you should not use vitamin supplements as a replacement for food.

Vitamin C is often touted as a natural cold remedy, with Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling famously claiming that taking large doses of vitamin C helps thwart a cold. However, research has shown that vitamin C is only marginally beneficial when it comes to the common cold.

A 2017 study pooling the results of 29 different studies that looked at the effect of vitamin C on colds found that taking 200 milligrams of vitamin C every single day rather than just on days when you’re sick could make cold symptoms go away about one day sooner. But that’s where the benefits end.

Benefits Of Vitamins Supplements

Vitamins are a must for a properly-functioning body, but some people have more need for certain vitamins than other. Because vitamin B12 is  naturally found in animal products, vegans, for example, are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and, therefore, can benefit from B-12 supplements.

On the same hand, parents concerned about the picky eaters in the family can give their children vitamin supplements to round out their diet.

Ideally, you should be getting all your vitamins from food because that’s what our bodies are accustomed to working with. It can’t be stressed enough that you should not use vitamin supplements as a replacement for food.

Be Careful With Vitamins

Gorging on vitamin supplements won’t make you fat or even gain weight, but that doesn’t mean you should. Taking excessively large doses of vitamins can result in adverse health effects.

Fat soluble vitamins, in particular, are stored in the body’s tissues and tend to remain there. They can build up in your system overtime if you consume too much, resulting in a potentially dangerous condition called hypervitaminosis.

Moreover, some water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, can cause diarrhea if taken in excess.

You should, however, report any vitamins you are taking to your doctor if you are on medication. Vitamins can interact and interfere with medicine, which can cause the prescription to be ineffective or cause other adverse effects.

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