One of the most common questions I get is “What do I think about (insert brand) supplement?” From protein shakes to fat loss pills, there are a ton of supplements. So what is good and what isn’t? Let’s back-up a bit and talk about the core of the question.
One thing to remember with supplements is that there is very little oversight on the industry. It’s so big and massive that the FDA could never keep up with the never ending line of supplements. So the FDA uses a knee-jerk reaction method to control this massive industry. If they receive a complaint about a particular supplement, they will investigate it. This process can take months, if not years. To make it worse, there is a lot of politics behind this process.
There is a list of ingredients that are and are not allowed in supplements, as well as production standards that they are held to. These standards are very lose. As I said before this industry is MASSIVE. There is no way to control it head on. Quality has always been an issue with supplements.
Sure there are supplements that might actually do what they advertise, but at what cost. The one unforeseen cost is how long do you have to take a supplement to get and keep the desired result. I put fat burning pills in this category. So let’s say you take a fat loss supplement for three months that costs you $100 per month. What happens when you go off the pills, do you gain the weight back? Can you justify taking the pills for the rest of your life? A whole year? Probably not.
Fat Loss Pills
Most fat loss pills on the market are stimulants. They contain caffeine that is the equivalent of a couple cups of coffee. There is a lot of evidence that supports caffeine as thermogenic. Thermogenic is something that increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn more calories. This effect isn’t very efficient. Your body adapts to the caffeine and it requires more to get the same result. Taking more caffeine is not better. Nor is is good for you.
Don’t waist your money of fat loss pills. Drink a cup of coffee and you’ll get same result. Spend the money on something long term, like learning how to cook and exercise for a healthy lifestyle.
Dudes get sucked into supplements just as bad as woman do. There are a lot of products out there that claim if you take them they will increase your testosterone, give you rock hard muscle, or make you look ripped. Don’t listen to the noise. I’m here to tell you the only way to do all that is eat a lot, eat clean, and work out hard. You aren’t going to get “ripped” without working your butt off in the gym.
The Marketing Monsters
The supplement industry is huge. I mean HUGE! Billions of dollars are spent every year. And the unbelievable thing is it’s growing. It’s growth and size makes it unbelievably competitive. Why does this matter to you? Well these supplement companies pay big, big money to make their product look like the best one ever.
“Contact your certified nutrition specialist to adjust your dose if you lose more than 10 pounds in two weeks!”
Sound familiar? You might of heard it on a radio ad. It’s brilliant and incredibly misleading. It gives you the idea that the supplement is so good that you might lose too much weight! Ridiculous. Like I said before the supplement industry will spend a lot of money of marketing their products. Flip through a fitness magazine, how many ads are for supplements? Probably most of them! How many of those ads have a model or person that makes you want to look like them? Probably quite a few. Supplement companies are excellent marketers because they have to be. The name of the game with supplements is those who market the best make the most money. Supplements marketers would make brilliant politicians. They know how to spin and make themselves look like the best option ever.
One of the reasons why the supplement industry is so popular is because of the massive amount of money that can be made. Producing supplements costs very little. These same supplements are sold for much, much more than it cost to make them. Retailers are able to mark-up these supplements greatly and profit enormously.
“You can’t out supplement bad diet and exercise habits.”
What are the good supplements?
What is good and what isn’t? I tell my clients that there are three supplements that I agree with: multi-vitamins, omega-3/6s, and protein supplements. That’s it. The rest of the products are just a waste of time and money. You can’t “out supplement” bad diet and exercise habits. Supplements are just that, a supplement, an additive to your diet to fill in the gaps. Where are the diet gaps? The diet gaps are in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals.
At the end of the day, I can preach to you all I want to try to convince you that there is a lot of junk supplements out there. The problem is in just short period of time a supplement ad will probably make you think otherwise. I want you to be aware of this. Just remember the only way to get results is to eat right and do the hard work!