It’s clear that a balanced diet is important for long-term good health. However, if you were to believe everything you read/see on social media and the news you’d be understood for thinking that we should be taking multi-vitamins and drinking protein shakes as well as a manner of other supplements that are available. We’re going to try and answer the question; “Do I need supplements?”
Whilst in special population groups such as young children, pre/post-natal and the elderly it might be necessary to take some additional supplementation with minerals and vitamins. For the majority, unless specifically prescribed by a health professional, multi-vitamins etc aren’t necessary.
Many of the claims made by supplement companies have not been backed by research. It’s also worth remembering that vitamins and minerals in tablet form are a more concentrated dose than what we would absorb with food. High dosage of certain minerals, for example, Vitamin A can have an adverse effect on the body.
Whey too Many
As the sports nutrition/supplementation industry continues to grow (already reported to be worth $50 billion) one thing that is noticeable is the vast selection of choice available. Many different flavours, brands and promises. Your choice between fast acting or long-lasting has never been more dilemma filled.
Protein and creatine will always sell well, however, there has been an increase in BCAA’s as well as pre-workout drinks as well as the development of protein enriched everyday foods such as bread, pizzas and chocolate bars.
Social Media Influencers
We mentioned at the beginning that social media plays a massive part in the popularity of sales in sports nutrition. Everyone with a fitness account appears to have some sort of affiliation with a supplement company these days. This isn’t a bad thing (social media can be a massive motivating factor encouraging people to exercise).
The problem lies in what isn’t being said on social media. Sure the “Insta-expert” may show a picture of his/her preferred pre-workout/protein flavour (no doubt the one that they’re affiliated with) along with a motivational phrase as well as their money off referral URL. But what they won’t be telling you is what else they’ve eaten during the day. The 5-6 meals of measured weighed and balanced across the daily calorie/nutrients allowed for their body and activity levels.
People can be fooled into thinking if they use similar supplements they’ll look the same. While this may be true if they’re also following the training regime and sticking to the same nutritional plan. The only thing that it’s likely to affect is their bank balance.
Do I Need Supplements?
The overall answer would be no. If you’re eating a balanced diet consisting of the main nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats) then you don’t need to supplement anything additional. If however, you find yourself at a plateau with your training or struggling with health issues we would recommend a discussion with a personal trainer, nutritionist or a doctor to see if there is something to help you progress.
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