The golden age of nutrition bloomed in the twentieth century with discoveries of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and other plant (phyto)-derived chemicals required for human health. Accepted wisdom about these nutrients became, "if some is necessary, then more is better." The search for ways to "supercharge nutrition" began with supplements: pills filled with isolated, concentrated substances, such as vitamins and minerals.
Unfortunately, extensive research over the past century has consistently found that these expensive treatments offer few benefits and much harm to people. Consuming antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamin E, increases a person's risk of suffering from earlier death, heart disease, and many forms of cancer. Jim Watson, co-discoverer of genetic DNA, wrote about the shortcomings of consuming too many micronutrients, even incriminating so-called superfoods with "Blueberries best be eaten because they taste good, not because their consumption will lead to less cancer."