The weight loss and supplements industry is big business with a total income of over $45 billion per year in USA alone. Despite vast amount of money being spent of these products, millions of Americans continue to be obese.
The supplements industry survives on marketing. The supplement makers’ approach a bodybuilder and sign him up to endorse a product. Then they approach a good advertising professional with a gift for gab and pay him high dollars to write a good sales copy.
For some bodybuilders the endorsements are the primary source of income, so they will support the most outrageous claims made by the supplement maker.
Before you choose a supplement you need to beware of such tactics. The best thing you can do is to talk to a person who has achieved a good body with the help supplements.
You will find that the classic protein powders like whey will always get you results. New age powders which promise massive growth of muscle and dramatic decrease of fat ultimately don’t deliver long-term results.
There are over 1000 large scale manufacturers that produce over 25,000 different products, which are consumed by more than 100 million people.
The largest form of sales are achieved through magazine advertisements. The supplement makers often supply articles to be written in the editorial format that discuss the latest breakthrough in nutrition… and later follow it up with a full page ad of a supplement that delivers the results the editorial embellished in detail.
This is a good marketing ploy setting up the unsuspecting reader to discover the supplements after reading through the “GENUINE” editorial.
Look… as long as somebody promises an easier, quicker and faster way to get to a goal, people will always be willing to take their chances and spend some money. However, before you invest in any supplement powders or pills… get on body building forums and look for comments of people who have actually used these supplements.
The simple question you need to ask is: Is this supplement a replacement for my carbs and proteins or does it promise to do more than that?
Only steroids and drugs can produce effects that are unnatural. If a food supplement promises to do that, you need to question the integrity of the manufacturer.
Steroids are known for their unwanted side effects. Testosterone like steroids can produce aggression, hair loss, gynaecomastia and much more and therefore these steroids are discouraged in bodybuilding. If a food supplement company promises steroid like results through their powders, what are they hiding from you?
Throughout the past there have been many products that exploded into the market with claims of outrageous benefits. When the FDA and regulatory agencies examined these supplements, they detected some chemical such as thyroxine mixed into the powders and they had to shut down the product.
The gains experienced through such “drug-like” products cannot be permanent. They mess with your metabolism. Once you stop taking them it’s like coming off a drug. Your body isn’t going to respond the same way as it did before.
Beware of body fat burners and similar supplements. By using these supplements you are treating the effect (fat) and not the cause. Most of these products contain ingredients such as caffeine, Citrmax, Chromium and L-Carnitine and herbs such as Ma Huang (Ephedra) and Kola nut or Guarana, White Willow.
As a rule of thumb, avoid products that act as stimulants. They help you in the short term but lead to long term problems such as chronic anxiety.
Creating a fat loss regime that includes diet modification and exercise will give you natural results. The results may take time and effort, but they will last.
With all that said, there are a few food supplements that have been reliable for many years and still continue to be desirable and safe.
Supplements are nothing more than powdered food. They provide an easy route to maintaining optimal nutrition.
If your protein requirement is 200 grams per day and if you consume 500 grams of chicken breast that yields 106 grams of proteins, you need to find an alternative protein source that will provide the other 100 grams. Protein supplements such as whey protein provide an easy alternative here.
Protein and meal replacement powders are popular because they’re easy to use. You can make a protein shake within no time. With 6 meals to be consumed during the day, it can be a daunting task to prepare and consume 6 portions of food. adding a meal replacement powder or protein powder can ease up the burden and make the process appear less frustrating.
Supplements also ensure that your body is not undernourished and provide your body with adequate raw material to build muscle.
Multi-vitamin multimineral pill
No matter how nutritious your food… you’re almost never going to get your full quota of necessary micronutrients on a daily basis. It is estimated that over 60% of people face deficiency of at least one vital micronutrient.
There are many factors that cause such a deficiency:
Quality of soil: Plants and vegetables absorb many micronutrients from the soil. If the soil is not rich in minerals and other elements, then the food produced on that soil is not going to be rich in essential micronutrients.
The animals that feed on these plants aren’t going to get the necessary micronutrients. When you consume the meat that comes from these animals you may not receive your quota of necessary micronutrients.
Other factors that contribute to depletion of micronutrients include processing, cooking, freezing, depletion and breakdown.
Sites such as iherb.com offer a variety of high quality multi-vitamin multimineral supplement pills, you can experiment with different brands until you find the brand that feels right for you. Treat these pills as your insurance policy for long term well being.
Meal replacement Drinks
To speed up your metabolism and supply your body with adequate nutrients round the clock you need to consume 5-6 meals per day. Most of us lead busy lives with multiple commitments. Frequent eating can become cumbersome if you need to eat a complete meal at every sitting.
Meal replacement powders provide an effective solution. Meal replacement products (MRPs) can be used on a daily basis or they can be used occasionally whenever you don’t have enough time to make a complete meal. MRPs can be taken separately or they can be taken along with other solid foods. You need to calculate the amount of calories you need from MRPs and take the appropriate amounts.
A good meal replacement powder should a mix of protein and carbohydrates. Usually they contain two parts protein to one-part carbohydrates.
Examples: Myoplex, Labrada’s – Lean Body, MET- RX
Caution: Your body is designed to digest solid foods. The thermic effect of solid food is very high when compared to liquids. Try not to substitute more than 1/3 of your total calories with MRPs unless absolutely necessary.
Using the example described earlier, if your protein requirement is 200 grams per day and you consume 500 grams of chicken breast that yields 106 grams of proteins. you need to find an alternative protein source that will provide the other 100 grams of protein required to build muscle. Without this you are never going to get the kind of results you desire.
Protein supplements such as whey protein provide an easy alternative here. A 30 g scoop of whey protein can provide upto 25 grams of real protein. You can take the protein shake along with your regular meals or as separate shakes.
Creatine monohydrate is a controversial supplement. Creatine is a metabolite that occurs naturally in red meats and it generates ATP which supplies energy necessary for the initial seconds of muscle contraction.
Creatine Monohydrate is a widely used supplement that is known to promote strength, power, weight gain, and speed up recovery time.
Many experts believe that most of the weight and muscle bulk gained though creatine is due to retention of water and these gains tend to go away once creatine is stopped. Creatine is also known to cause prostate problems in men.
The risks almost neutralize the benefits of creatine, so I leave it up to your own discretion to take this supplement.
Glutamine is known to stop muscle breakdown between workouts. Our body goes through a continuous cycle of breaking down proteins and building new proteins. Glutamine prevents the breakdown process and thereby allows you to maintain and increase muscle mass.
Glutamine is also known to improve the immune system. Glutamine is somewhat expensive when compared to other supplements. Therefore you need to check your budget and allowance before you decide to include glutamine into your regimen.
Essential fatty acids
In the earlier chapter we discussed the usefulness of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). They help in increasing the good cholesterol (HDL) in blood and also promote essential functions. You need to obtain omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids from your diet since they promote better memory and concentration, they keep your nerves healthy and promote your immune system and energy.
Using 2-3 spoons of olive oil or Udo’s or Flaxseed oil will ensure that you meet your daily dietary needs for EFAs.