Taiwanese researchers gave placebo pills to volunteers. Half were told the pills contained healthy vitamins. The rest were told they were sugar pills. Then, volunteers completed questionnaires that asked them things like, “When’s the next time you plan on exercising?” And “How much alcohol will you drink tonight?”
The result? The majority of volunteers who believed they consumed a vitamin were drastically more likely to consider engaging in risky behavior, like casual sex, sunbathing, and binge-drinking, as compared to the sugar pill group.
So, why does popping a vitamin make people more likely to go wild? Dr. Andrew Leuchter is the director of the Laboratory of Brain, Behavior, and Pharmacology at UCLA. He says that most people believe that popping a vitamin gives them a health halo, basically protecting them from all sorts of unhealthy choices like being a couch potato, or drinking too much alcohol.
But experts say that a vitamin doesn’t protect you from any of that. In fact, studies of thousands of people over several decades suggest that multivitamins and supplements often have no health benefits and it’s better to get the nutrients you need from whole foods! So re-think that vitamin habit and definitely don’t count on a pill to negate your other health sins.