Put the word "antioxident" on a packaged food, and folks are a lot more likely to buy it, say market researchers. And, since food companies' goal is to entice you to buy their products, they've been busy taking advantage of that reaction.
The problem is, there's little proof that added antioxidents help us stay healthy; instead some new evidence suggests they actually interfere with some of the benefits of exercising and losing weight.
Nutritionist Marion Nestle, who monitors the sins of the food industry from her perch at New York University, says hundreds of products now tout the presence of antioxidents, but that we're being fooled. In her blog, she says there's a "lack of evidence" of the benefits of artificially adding antioxidents to your diet in the form, for example, of vitamins C & E.
(In case you've been living in a bubble, antioxidents appear to play a powerful role in fending off cancer and diabetes and fighting the effects of aging.)
Today came the news that if you're on a weight reduction program and/or exercise regularly, taking vitamin C & E for their antioxident effects may, in fact, work against your health.
The study, reported in The New York Times, found that our bodies' natural reaction to exercise and weight loss is not only to mobilize our built-in natural antioxident defenses from free oxygen, but also to make us more sensitive to insulin. When the two vitamins were added to the diets of study subjects who were exercising and losing weight, the study showed they short-circuited our natural responses.
There's no debate that unprocessed foods in their natural state--like berries, broccoli, garlic, tomatoes and spinach--contain potent antioxidents in combination with many other nutrients. This combination isn't replicated by supplements. Also, while our bodies have evolved to handle the amounts of antioxidents present in fruit and vegetables, ingesting large amounts via supplements changes our bodies' reaction.
The bottom line is the same old boring one: spend your money on eating more fruit and vegetables instead of buying expensive packaged products with added antioxidents of dubious value.