Dietary Supplements Instill Illusion of Invincibility
Imagine a pill thatِ canِ make youِ invincible toِ theِ dangers ofِ smoking, overeating orِ other hedonistic pursuits.
Some people mightِ think suchِ a pill exists atِ the local pharmacy inِ the form ofِ a daily vitamin, twoِ newِ studies reveal.
The study isِ a follow-up toِ research published inِ August inِ the journal Psychological Science byِ the sameِ investigators, whoِ reported thatِ subjects thinking theyِ were takingِ a daily vitamin wereِ lessِ likely toِ exercise andِ more likelyِ to eat poorly.
Vitamin I, for invincible
Both studies wereِ led byِ Wen-Bin Chiou ofِ National Sun Yat-Sen University inِ Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
In oneِ experiment, participants wereِ givenِ a coupon forِ a free lunch, withِ a choice ofِ anِ unhealthy buffet orِ a healthy meal ofِ organic foods knownِ to beِ the sameِ price.
Nearly three-fourths ofِ the participants thinking theyِ were takingِ daily vitamins chose theِ buffet, compared withِ aboutِ 40 percent inِ the control group.
But do they work?
The studies didِ not examine theِ usefulness ofِ multivitamins andِ other supplements.
One problem withِ daily supplements isِ the high dose.
Certain pills comeِ in doses thatِ areِ 10 times higher orِ moreِ than theِ recommended daily dose.
Taiwan vs. U.S.
There areِ a fewِ caveats inِ the recentِ studies byِ Taiwanese researchers.
The population studied isِ Taiwanese, andِ these Asians mightِ haveِ a differentِ perception ofِ the power ofِ a pill compared withِ theِ U.S.
One couldِ envision anِ opposite effect inِ the United States, withِ health-conscious consumers moreِ inclined toِ takeِ a daily vitamin forِ the perceived long-term health benefit.