I had been doing so based on the theory that dietary fat contributes to the buildup of cholesterol in coronary arteries...a theory that seemed to have been confirmed by several preliminary studies.
Think of all the heart patients who might have benefited if doctors back then had been willing to recommend a low-fat diet. After all, the risk of cutting down on fat is pretty small. The situation is similar with vitamin supplements today. There are theoretical reasons to take antioxidants (including vitamins C and E and the mineral selenium). They gobble up free radicals, ubiquitous molecules that are thought to contribute to the development of both cancer and heart disease. And the evidence is that the risk of taking moderate doses of these vitamins is pretty small. In that spirit, here are my educated guesses. Every morning, in addition to a multivitamin with minerals, I take 250 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, 400 international units of natural vitamin E and 200 micrograms of selenium. Whenever possible, I buy inexpensive store brands. Even though I take these supplements, I firmly believe that a healthful diet is more important. If you eat poorly, I doubt you can undo all the damage by popping a few vitamins. Accordingly, I've been a not-too-strict vegetarian for years, consuming mostly whole grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables, a little fish and some low-fat dairy products like yogurt. To me, the vitamins are like a little added insurance. My educated guesses could turn out to be wrong, so by all means stay tuned. New evidence might suggest the benefits of some vitamins not previously understood...while discrediting others. Like me, plenty of doctors take dietary supplements, even if they don't recommend them to their patients. In this case, you may want to do what we do... and not what we say.
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