To take supplements or not
There are tons of supplements that are available to you, and without knowing it you’ve probably taken some.
The first supplements you ever took were probably, as a kid, vitamins. I remember my parents giving me the Flintstones ones that tasted like candy. I always wondered where my parents got that idea; probably on TV or read it in some magazines.
I think I took them for a good week then they never bothered buying more. Why? Because it served no purpose to a healthy growing kid.
Supplements can help you get to your goal.
The same reasoning should go with pretty much all supplements you can get at GNC or health stores. Do you REALLY need it? If yes, why? Is it because you saw that it magically cures cancer as per Dr. Oz? Or do you need to take it because you ran some tests with your doctor and he did recommend it?
Unless you have some medical reason to take something, like iron if you are anemic, then you probably do not need anything. Read the word slowly: Supplement. It is there to supplement your diet, fill a gap. Nothing more.
Of course, the best approach is to have a complete, balanced diet. But nowadays it is hard for a lot of people to find the time to cook let alone do groceries. We could say the same thing if you are trying to lose weight.
I know my diet is not great, what could I do that will help me get the desired results?
Some people will trade their old breakfast habits with RTD (ready to drink) formulas that have a balanced macro-nutrient profile with added vitamins, etc. That’s fine, but I suggest you do that temporarily; real food is always better for your body. Learn if what you were eating was good or not, and what you can do to improve it. You’ll be smarter at the end of the day and healthier in the long run.
But then again, supplements do serve their purpose. I’ve taken quite a few in my life, and I do think they can be useful. If you want to increase your protein intake but are unable to eat chicken all day long, then a protein drink could do the trick.
A common mistake that I’ve seen a lot in the past is one where someone is trying to lose weight, gives it all in the gym, only to get a protein shake filled with 400 calories right after because protein shakes are good for recovery!
So you’re telling me you want to lose weight, you are trying to burn calories at the gym, but you also take a large shake right after then go home and eat more? Not gonna work buddy.
If the shake is used as a replacement for your meal then fine – you’ve calculated that the 400 calories the shake has will be your breakfast/lunch/dinner. But please, do not have that on top of the rest.
Anyhow. Like I said, supplements have their place. I’ll list a few of the more popular ones you most certainly have heard of before.
You can get protein supplements in different types, but the most popular ones are the powder form and the RTD. Ready to drink protein shakes are often meal replacements, meaning you drink it instead of eating while powders are almost only protein (unless you buy a weight gainer). The most common type of protein available is whey protein.
It is naturally found in milk products and is a high-quality protein. Depending on the type of extraction, whey protein comes in different types:
In term of price, whey concentrate is the cheapest following by isolate and then Hydrolysate. For the beginner looking to lose weight, the only thing you need to know is that protein intake increases satiety (you are less hungry!).
The biological value of protein is also important: it determines how much of it can/will be absorbed by your body. Whey protein has the highest biological value of all protein sources. Concentrate has up to 80% protein while the rest is mostly fat and lactose. Isolate is much purer and contains 90% or more protein. For those who are lactose intolerant, you are much better using isolate than concentrate.
Hydrolysate Whey protein is what we call “predigested” protein. The bonds between amino acids have been broken down, and your body can thus absorb the protein faster.
So which protein should you take?
If you are looking for a meal replacement, concentrate should be considered.
If you are looking for JUST protein, and/or are lactose intolerant, isolate is the choice.
If you are training hard and looking for the best and fastest recovery, then hydrolysate protein is what I would use (but there is more to recovery than just protein).
Vitamins are organic compounds that the body needs in a small dose for various reasons. Do you know why you need to eat tons of veggies? Yeah, they contain vitamins (and a bunch of other healthy stuff). Most natural food will have what your body needs regarding vitamins, and thus you should not need to take a multi if you have a healthy and balanced diet. Except Vitamin D, which is present is about no food, hence why it’s called the sun vitamin (sun exposure will make your body produce vitamin D). Notice the word balanced in a balanced diet? If you eat the same salad all the time and that’s all you eat, well you are probably going to be deficient in some nutrients.
The problem with vitamin pills is that we are unsure if there is an effect (good or bad) on the body. Some studies will say yes, some no, and so we are stuck in the middle.
So should you take vitamins? It depends on your diet. Think about it. And it might not even do anything. 🙂
Fish oil, also known as omega-3 fatty acids, are comprised of two types of acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They come from animal sources, contrary to alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) which comes from flaxseed, chia, hemp, and a few other foods.
Omega-3s have been linked to many health benefits and should be considered if you are looking to take something for your overall health.
Should you buy omega-3 pills or omega 3-6?
Historically, we’ve had a stable ratio of omega 3 and 6 at around 1:1. But since the industrial revolution in the 19th century it went a-wire and by today’s estimate is between 10:1 to 20:1. Needless to say that this is not good since omega-6s are pro-inflammatory while omega-3s are neutral. So slack on omega-6 rich food and take your fish oil supplement!
Hi, my name is Bob, and I lost 20 pounds using xx.
You see those ads on TV all the time. Most of these products are what we call fat burners. Fat burners work by increasing your metabolism, suppressing hunger and increasing your energy. Do they work? Some do, some don’t, and to work, you must know what you’re doing. Losing weight is all about your diet, and fat burners will help if the former is well balanced. It means that if you take fat burners but eat at McDonald’s every day, then the chances of you losing weight are slim.
Are you a big coffee drinker? Be careful with fat burners as a lot of them contain caffeine. Too much caffeine can have adverse effects.
Are you someone who takes a sip of coffee and have the jitters? Then be careful, fat burners WILL make you jump all around.
These are the most common supplements that people take to lose weight and promote healthy fat loss. Remember that weight loss can happen without any of these. They are “supplements” to your diet, nothing else. But they can still help.