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According to a latest Taiwanese study, people taking vitamins have a false perception of security as they felt that these kept them healthy, but on the contrary, intake of vitamins could lead them to unhealthy eating.
A team of researchers, spearheaded by Dr. Wen-Bin Chiou from National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan, carried out the research which aimed to study the connection between eating a vitamin pill and then gorging on fast food.
“After taking dietary supplements in the morning, individuals should diligently monitor whether illusory invulnerability is activated by restored health credentials and subsequently licenses health-risk behaviors,” said the lead investigator of the study.’
“To put it simply, people who take dietary supplements may have the misconception that they are invulnerable to health problems and may make poor decisions when it comes to their health, such as choosing fast food over a healthy and organic meal,” added a spokesperson of the research team.
The researchers said that though taking multivitamins, minerals and other diet-related supplements had caught up, the general standard of health had not seen any major change.
For the present study, volunteers were divided into two groups by the investigators. While one group was given multivitamin pill, the other group was given a fake pill. Both the groups were then analyzed on the basis of their lifestyle preferences.
The researchers confirmed that both the groups had received a placebo, but this was not known to the study subjects.
On analysis, the study authors found that people who perceived that they had taken a vitamin supplement felt that had taken good care of their health and had lesser chances of going for a walk.
“They were also more likely to choose a buffet meal over a more healthy organic one,” said the researchers.
On the other hand, people who were not given a vitamin pill were found to be more conscious about taking care of their health and so they adopted healthier options of living.
The present research will be published in the May edition of the journal 'Psychological Science'.
Busting other misconceptions
Experts said that people who thought that vitamins were healthy were fooling themselves. Also, those thinking that organic foods are fat-free were also living under a misconception.
Dr Carrie Ruxton from Health Supplements Information Service, said, ‘One of the big bugbears is that people who could really do with taking vitamins and minerals are a bit reluctant to do so for some reason, whereas the ones who are doing relatively well with their diets are the ones that add vitamins and minerals on top.’