Short answer is NO, we don’t need to take supplements. Well, at least for majority of general population. In most cases if our food consumption is balanced and we deliver enough macronutrients (calories from protein, fat and carbohydrates), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and drink enough water then usually we don’t need to add any supplements. I mean why spend extra money if you can have all you need with the food you eat? Supplements, like the name suggests, should only be used as an addition if we eat consciously but for some reason still lack some nutrients.
In my opinion, the only supplement that actually should be used by most people is vitamin D3 (usually in autumn and winter, but because of the weather in UK good idea would be to take them at least 7-8 months in a year when we lack sun the most).
There are also some supplements that can be beneficial for us, especially people who take part in any form of sport but not necessarily essential. Those are:
Creatine. If we want to build strength and endurance. As creatine is probably the most researched supplement on the market there is also the least risk for those that consume it. Unless you have some pre-existing medical problem, you should not be worried. But of course, it is always better to seek medical advice prior to start taking any supplements.
Whey protein. It can be used as an addition if we cannot consume enough protein from the diet as this is very important macronutrient (by many considered the most important, but the truth is that all of the macronutrients such as protein, fat and carbohydrates are equally important and without any of them our bodies would not function properly). There are different types of protein powder and the most common are WPC – whey protein concentrate, WPI – whey protein isolate, WPH – whey protein hydrolysate and also casein. Nowadays we also have a lot of vegan options for protein powders and the most common are from soy, pea, pumpkin seed, hemp and brown rice.
Caffeine. Natural stimulant which helps with our cognitive functions and also can be used as a pre workout. It also can be very helpful during time of fat tissue reduction but of course I don’t talk here about some super extra white coffee with some whipped cream on top. No, the best coffee for the above mentioned would be either black or white with small amount of sugar or best with 0kcal sweetener.
Of course there is plenty of other nutrition addition that can be used especially by gym goers and that would be pre-workouts, carbohydrate mixes, BCAA and EAA, Beta-alanine,
L-Citrulline, L-Arginine or AAKG and many, many more but the truth is, if you are not planning to be professional athlete in my opinion there is no point in spending too much money on those.
All those supplements will help to get you results faster but more often than not it is a waste of money as people tend to focus a lot on those nutrition additions, hoping that they will help and cover for neglecting healthy lifestyle, poor nutrition, not properly planned training plan and lack of sleep.
The real problem that supplements create is that people forget that balanced diet, good training plan and recovery is the key to the success and long-lasting results.
So last few words on this subject. You can use supplements, there are some that really work and some other that are only made popular because of good marketing (I will not go into detail in this post). The choice is yours, but it might be difficult to find the right one for you as there is so many different products showing up so often that it is very easy to lose track.
So, my advice to you is, make sure you have balanced diet, good training plan, your recovery is on point and then you can add some supplements to your life. And focus on the ones that are widely researched and not only promoted by some known fitness pro.
If you feel overwhelmed by all the info and products available and don’t know what to do, don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be happy to discuss your issue and hopefully give you some valuable knowledge.
This post should be only used as an information guide and definitely not as prescription or encouragement to take supplements.
Contact a doctor or qualified dietitian prior to start any supplementation.
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I hope that again you will walk away with extra knowledge and will be able to make more conscious decision when it comes to the question whether to take supplements or no.
Enjoy the journey!