Think twice before replacing a meal with a supplement

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 13, 2015)- A new study says 40 percent of men use protein bars, powders and pills to build muscle and burn fat. And it turns out, some men are overdoing it.

Twenty-two percent of men surveyed said they were using supplements in place of traditional meals. Eight percent had been told by doctors to cut back or stop taking them. Three percent had been hospitalized for kidney or liver damage after using too many supplements.

"There's nothing inherently wrong in the supplements." says Tamar Cohen, owner of Tri-Holistic Nutrition of Oakland. "The question is, what is in the supplement? What else is in there?"

Cohen says people who use these supplements should work with a nutritionist before starting on them. Some supplements contain ingredients that can be unhealthy. But even good supplements should be used in moderation.

The Mayo Clinic’s website echoes Cohen’s concern, saying, “Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand.”

The bottom line:

"A supplement or vitamin can fill a gap," said Cohen. "But it's never going to replace food. I think it tastes way better to eat real food."

4 Your Health is sponsored by American Senior Communities.

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