I’ve been taking my vitamins since back in the Flinstone Vitamins days (side note, I choked on one once. Yes, a chewable vitamin) but I never really knew why I was consuming any of them, except Vitamin C. I’m willing to bet I’m not alone there. I talk a lot about macronutrients on here, so let’s dive into micronutrients a bit.
Do you need to take a vitamin supplement? Not necessarily. As you can see from the chart above, there are A LOT of sources of each vitamin. If you eat a well-rounded diet, there’s a very good chance you are consuming enough of the vitamins you need.
Vitamins can be broken up into 2 categories: fat soluble and water soluble. The fat soluble vitamins are A, D, E, & K, and they are found in mostly fatty foods (with exceptions of course). The water soluble vitamins are vitamin C and all of the B vitamins, and you’ll mostly find those in fruits & veggies, dairy and grains (again, with exceptions). What’s the difference in these types of vitamins? Essentially, water soluble vitamins pass through your body, where fat soluble vitamins are stored for longer term use.
One common misconception is that since B vitamins help convert food into energy, that they burn calories. While B vitamins do provide energy (they’re staples in lots of energy drinks) they do not provide CALORIC energy. A very important difference!
Many different vitamins have multiple purposes and can be found in a wide variety of foods, so not everything can make the cut into this chart. But it’s a good place to start!