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Supplements industry hits back at NHS report

The UK and European food supplements industry has hit back at a recent UK National Health Service (NHS) report that largely cast supplements as being ineffective, and recommended ‘a balanced diet’ as the best way to achieve optimum nutrition.

In backing ‘regular’ dietary sources for key nutrients, the NHS report then questioned supplement safety and scientific backing, stating there often did not exist enough “robust research” and “robust testing”. [Read more on the report here]

“Overall it is clear that we may be placing our hope in products that require far more testing,” the report, called ‘Supplements – Who needs them?’, concluded.

The UK Health Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) pointed to UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) statistics that showed only 13% of men and 15% of women aged 19 to 64 ate the government-recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

“In an ideal world, our diet would provide us with all the vitamins and minerals that our body needs,” said HFMA executive director Graham Keen.

“But evidence from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that a significant proportion of the UK population simply doesn’t achieve nutritional sufficiency through diet alone.”…..

Julie Hayward, the executive secretary of the UK Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), said the NHS suggestion that adequate nutrition could be achieved through a balanced diet, “is flawed.”

“Although in theory we can, evidence shows that in the UK, we don’t,” she said.“The evidence is government-generated and recent data shows that there are many population groups who are deficient. I am a little surprised that the NHS did not refer to this data.”

European and international trade groups backed the position of their UK counterparts. Read more

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