Ramya Kannan

CHENNAI: They come in many shapes, sizes and colours, are easy to take, and can boost your health. But if you think these pills (minerals, vitamins, and protein), or nutritional supplements can replace a balanced diet, think again. While there is no denying the significance of these nutritional supplements in specific cases, it would be a fallacy to believe that popping a pill or downing a protein shake will save you the trouble of picking your vegetables, fruits, and meats.

Meenakshi Bajaj, medical nutrition therapist, at the Government General Hospital, says there is nothing yet that can replace a balanced diet. In some cases, she adds, such supplements will find a place in the doctor's prescription and then, they are essential.

For instance, they are useful for crucially-ill patients, for those who are on a crash diet programme to aid wound-healing, and for those with specific deficiencies. She adds that pregnant and lactating mothers, and the elderly will derive benefits from prescribed nutritional supplements.