Who doesn’t want to eat healthier, lose weight, put on muscle, and feel great? While it sounds fairly simple; eat a good diet, get some exercise, get some sleep, however, most people feel that they need to take supplements to “make up” for the things they lack or to speed the process along.
Is this necessary? Do you really need supplements to help you lose weight, bulk up or to have more energy?
No, not really. Worst of all, they can actually do you far more harm than good.
What The Feds Found
One large study performed by the federal government, found that supplements which were meant to either help you lose weight or gain muscle, (some of the biggest names out there too, such as Xenadrine and Hydroxycut) were the cause of more than 20,000 visits to hospital emergency rooms every year.
This is no joke. The Department of Justice has filed both criminal and civil enforcement actions against more than 100 manufacturers of these kinds of products.
The Problem with Protein Powders
Many young men consume protein powders as a means of building muscle and putting on weight. In fact, protein powders are one of the best selling supplements on the US market today.
No one is denying that protein is good for you. It is absolutely necessary for building muscles; however, most Americans already consume far too much protein. There is (in most cases) no lack of fish, meat, beans, nuts, tofu, and other types of protein in the average American diet.
To make things worse, many of these companies have been using cheap fillers in their protein powders, which mean you are paying a whole lot of money for very little protein.
Let’s not forget the homeopathic hype, such as pre-exercise drinks and energy bars. It has been shown again and again through scientific studies that homeopathic remedies do absolutely nothing. NOTHING. You might was well thrown your cash in the fire. The results will be the same.
One example was published in the very distinguished medical journal The Lancet, in 2005. This study confirmed hat diluting the active ingredient until there was literally nothing left to measure (which is what homeopathic remedies are) was every bit as effective as a sugar pill. This is just one example and there are literally hundreds more like it.
The Most Dangerous
Workout boosters are perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch. With names like Oxy Elite Pro or Jack3D, they sound super cool, don’t they? These supplements promise to increase oxygen to the body, increasing your ability to exercise.
After two soldiers who used Jack3D died, the active ingredient in this supplement was found to be DMAA (dimethylamylamine) a plant compound that is known to contract the blood vessels, increasing blood pressure to dangerous levels.
The makers of Oxy Elite Pro have had indictments made against them for claiming that their product contained natural plant extracts, when the truth was that it contained synthetic stimulates imported from China. The indictment claims that several people have suffered from liver damage and that at least one death was linked to this supplement. Oxy Elite Pro has been recalled and removed from stores.
Creatine or Meat
Don’t waste your money on creatine supplements. Your body naturally makes this whenever you eat meat. Opt for a steak dinner once or twice a week if you want to improve the output of energy from muscles.
What About Zinc?
When you feel a cold coming on, it is perfectly OK to take small amounts of zinc (no more than 11mgs for the average adult) can help to interfere with the replication of the bug that is responsible for the common cold, rhinovirus. Studies show that people who take zinc lozenges or supplements have shorter colds and far less severe symptoms than those who do not.
Last But Not Least: Weight Loss Supplements
All these supplements, whether they are powders, bars, or pills, that claim to help you slim down, are definitely not worth your money. Almost all of these supplements contain things like caffeine (which you can get pretty cheaply from a few cups of Joe) and herbal extracts such as wild mint, wild olive, or cumin. There are no studies showing that these supplements work. None. Save your dough.
Oh, and those green coffee extracts? Complete bunk. There was only one study and it was retracted after it was discovered that the entire study was funded by and monitored by the company who makes this stuff.
Green tea extracts or drinking green tea has been found to have some health benefits, but don’t think that drinking a cup a day is enough to prevent cancer. Almost all studies show that green tea is most effective when you drink 5 to 6 cups of freshly brewed tea each day.
Your best bet continues to be the boring stuff you have heard over and over. Eat a plant based; varied diet, get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.