We are a supplement company, so we have a vested interest in customers taking supplements. (Now that disclaimers out of the way). WHOLEFOOD IS PREFERRED! Even by us.
Supplements, by definition, are to "supplement" a naturally occurring healthy diet.
Ask anyone, the hardest thing about a fitness based life is the eating. Professionals in the physique realm have to adhere to a regimen of cutting body fat percentage for a competition. They cannot accomplish this without a restricted diet. Strongman competitors eat massive amounts of food in a day, and the World's Strongest Man has been quoted as saying, "the hardest thing about my job is the food." If you are an average fitness fanatic trying to lose a few pounds, finding the time to exercise could be difficult, but sticking with the diet plan that accompanies the exercise plan you chose is the essence of a success.
If you can eat all of the nutrients you need without supplementation. PLEASE DO THAT FIRST! Only think of supplements to fill in the gaps you cannot achieve with wholefood.
Now, I follow the idea of eating my body weight in grams of protein per day. Eating over 200 grams of protein in a day can be difficult and hard on digestion. Supplementing proteins in an easy, less filling form of a shake or just in water can help me achieve the goal. On days I have been able to accomplish this with food alone, I do not take the supplement. Certain vitamins and minerals help solubility of other nutrients and Mother Nature did a phenomenal job pairing these in wholefood naturally.
Other times supplementation works well is before/during/after a workout. If you are not someone that can eat a meal 30 minutes to an hour before a workout and feel well enough complete the workout, then supplementation may be a great alternative. During the workouts you are most likely not eating, so supplementing in the water you already have is ideal. After a workout, if you are gassed and the last thing on your mind is a meal, supplement to replenish the muscle fibers and energy spent to help recovery.
Now, the debate will rage on about timing of nutrients. That is not the basis for this article and I may dive into that argument in the future. For now, it is just about wholefood verse supplements.
Bottom line of my opinion is that wholefood is 100% a better option than supplements. If you are not lacking in your eating then there is no need to supplement to fill in gaps that aren't there. Supplements DO allow for great results when minimal meal prep, less time, lack of food interest, advanced aging, pregnancy, and others are occurring in your life. Do not forget that you still need all of the nutrients of a healthy diet when the above keep you from accomplishing with wholefood. Turning to supplements, when needed, is a great way to still meet your goals.
Please consult a doctor or other nutrition professional before making any changes or starting an eating and training regimen. Not done correctly could lead to serious injury.