Dear Dr. Boli: Why are there food supplements? Can’t we just eat food instead? —Sincerely, The Owner of a Food Store, but Not Exactly a Health-Food Store.

Dear Sir or Madam: Food supplements are meant to provide those nutrients that are not supplied in your ordinary diet. For example, a quick glance at one catalog of food supplements reveals that it is possible to ingest red wine in pill form instead of drinking a good claret, or Camellia sinensis in pill form instead of drinking a cup of Yunnan tea. Dr. Boli believes that the people who make use of these pills must be something less than human, but it seems that the subhuman demographic is a very profitable one.