Surely the fact that they're not "real foods" isn't harmful in and of itself, assuming that the OP already eats a good, complete diet of whole foods?
Technically or in reality? Technically you just want to reach a given, evidence-based quota of XYZ. But if we want to replicate dietary habits of real people - shown to be healthy by studies - then a supplement is inherently inferior to a food source since it adds another layer of complexity (food + processing = supplement). Vastly inferior in the wrong hands.
Here: Eating berries, drinking wine and tea.
Sometimes the supplemental version has unique benefits e.g. polyphenols w/o the sugar, tho this only applies to highly glycemic foods, def. not berries; fish oil avoids heat-related txoins/parasites in raw fish, heavy metal contaminants and saturated/oxidised fat but lacks taurine - oh the dilemmas! Benefits must be weighed against the problems, which need to be solved or mitigated:
Was the right food selected. What is the quality at harvest?
Did the manufacturer standardise for the right compounds? Are they even known?
Were the active compounds destroyed or correctly extracted during processing? Introduction, generation of new ones and contaminants? Changed ratios? GMP or not?
Trustworthy manufacturer: Is there anything in the supp at all? At the expected dose? Tested by which analytical methods? Is the manufacturer-recommended dose supported by science? Is it laced with fancy compounds you do not actually want to supplement and sold as "combo"?
How long was the finished supp stored? How was it handled? How will you store it and how stable is it once processed?
Do the pharmacokinetics matter and are they changed without the food matrix? Are you replicating the way people actually use the food spaced throughout the day? (e.g. drinking wine after meals - not so obvious when just popping a pill)
Was this supplement or processing method employed in any studies?
Price vs food source? Are you fine w/ the additives and trace contaminants? (allergies?) Is production ecological if you care?
Edited by kismet, 03 December 2010 - 10:13 PM.