There is an ever going debate that spans over many years with many an argument from either side of the discussion. Defending in the blue corner we have natural supplements and fighting in the red corner there is standard supplements; both contenders packing a weighty argument.
We’ve all been into sports and fitness stores and witnessed the various protein powders and supplement brands fighting for shelf space with promises of ‘getting stacked’ and ‘looking pumped’. You see muscle building oatmeal, protein cereal bars, amino-acid packets and even testosterone boosters – each with a gladiator of a man on the front proposing that you too could become as strong if you empty your pockets.
The truth behind the ‘natural supplements’ and ‘standard supplements’ debate
Like it or not, there simply isn’t enough solid evidence to completely support these supplements and their claims; or at least, not entirely. Protein powders are available as shakes and are promoted as being able to aid in muscle growth, help with weight loss, boost energy and even fight the aging process too.
While taking shakes is evidently much more convenient, being able to boost your protein in-take on the go, you could easily get the same benefits from introducing high-protein foods to your diet as snacks. You might be taking a short cut, but these shakes are most certainly not a suitable meal replacement given that they lack all of the vitamins and nutrients a balanced meal would contain.
That is one of the main concerns with the body-building scene today – people are constantly looking for ways to cut corners and fast-track their body to the top. Gym goers are growing more and more impatient and are expecting faster results which is creating room in the market for brands to fill with ‘fast acting metabolism’ products and ways to gain ‘7 pounds in 7 days’. Slow down!
There is evidence to support that in the long term, if you are to consume too much protein it can significantly increase the risk of bone problems such as osteoporosis and worsen kidney problems for those with existing issues.
I think the bottom line in this argument is of course, moderation and regularity. Natural supplements are undoubtedly a much healthier source of protein and nutrition and even the most ardent of regular supplement users cannot deny that. You can buy natural supplements online or over the counter so there is never really an excuse for running with regular supplements. There are protein shakes body builders use that are made from entirely natural foods, you just need to look in the right places.
It is in this light that we could argue that if you are interested in using regular supplements you must do so in moderation as there is substantial evidence of side effects when using the various products. Balance your diet out and try your hardest to source the majority of your nutrition on protein from natural foods. Not only will this be cheaper for you, it will undoubtedly be much better for you in the long run. It’s not all about the destination; it is the journey – take care of your body on the road to abs land.