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Health and Sanity

Rashmi Vasudeva
Features writer on health, lifestyle and the Arts, digital marketing blogger, mother
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piqer: Rashmi Vasudeva
Thursday, 17 January 2019

Vitamin Revolution: Is It Only A Marketing Gimmick?

We have all popped them sometime or the other. Some of us may be addicted to them too. Vitamins are today a billion dollar industry, and everybody knows about their importance in nutrition. And yet, before we pop the next pill, do we pause to wonder if vitamins are really good for us? Do we need to take them at all? And how did we get so addicted to vitamins in the first place, considering that they were discovered barely a century ago?

Inquiry tackles all these and more in this episode on vitamins. Science journalist Catherine Price, who has written the bestselling ‘Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food’, takes us on a fascinating journey from the time vitamins were discovered to how they have become the darling of food marketing companies worldwide.

From being obscure ‘things’ in scientists' labs, vitamins were quickly picked up by clever marketers who realized that there could really be no better food-selling tactic then using legitimate scientific claims about how vital these invisible little things are for our overall health and well-being. It also helped that no one at that point knew how many vitamins were necessary and indeed how to measure them. And thus began the era of ‘vitamania’, as Price calls it.

The podcast also has curious titbits about how vitamins were used against the Nazis, the making of vitamin doughnuts (yes, really), and how these mysterious micro-nutrients influenced generations and generations of guilt-ridden mothers who were convinced to stuff their children with different supplements. Part history and part science, this is a breezy half-hour listen that gets other experts like Dr Lisa Rogers of WHO and Dr Salim Al-Gailani of Cambridge to also weigh in on the necessity of vitamin supplements.

Vitamin Revolution: Is It Only A Marketing Gimmick?
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