Do nutritional and weight loss supplements actually work?

Do nutritional and weight loss supplements actually work?There’s all sorts of nutritional supplements and weight loss pills available on the market, but do any of them actually work the way they say they do?

One of the near-constants in modern civilisation is the need to work smarter instead of harder, and that extends not just to your career but your everyday life; we just love tools that save us both time and effort in the long run. However, when it comes to getting fit and losing weight, the number of nutritional supplements and weight loss products available for purchase, are any of these substances actually helpful – or even safe?

there is no magic pill

Sadly for those of us who are more pressed for time and feel that they don’t have the ability to devote to a workout regime, there’s no pill you can take before bed and wake up with a set of ripped abs in the morning. In fact, the majority of these fat burners, protein formulas, or amino acid and creatine drinks, powders, and pills marketed for building muscle and burning weight have an incremental, subtle effect when combined with diet and exercise – otherwise they don’t do much at all besides drain your bank account.\

Medical experts say that you can’t even expect quick results even if you engage in diet and regular exercise whilst using a nutritional supplement. The most you can achieve is a slight edge, which may be just what you need if you’re a professional athlete in a competitive sport, but not if you spend five days a week behind a computer desk at your job.

is it even needed at all?

Many sports nutrition experts actually eschew nutritional supplementation altogether except for very specific instances. The prevailing wisdom is that you can manage the timing of major meals and beverages for athletes in such a way as to encourage their bodies to use the nutritional content of regular food if you’re careful, and reserve the use of all dietary supplements besides sports bars and shakes, which are instead relied upon to stimulate muscle cell recovery after a sporting event or practice – instead, many experts recommend using chocolate milk for a recovery beverage, as it includes fluids, carbohydrates, and protein to build muscle, combat fatigue, and keep athletes hydrated properly.

Moreover, if you’re recreational athlete or prefer endurance sports such as running marathons or playing football, you should most likely avoid taking a creatine supplment, experts say. A highly popular supplement, creatine has been proven to act as an effective way to speed up muscle recovery after short-burst, high-intensity activities, it has absolutely no effect on anything else, and can in fact cause cramping if taken in large amounts without proper hydration.

Finally, you may want to steer clear of sports supplements that carry caffeine and other stimulants, based on the fact that these stimulants could increase performance. However, medical experts say that it may be safer to simply consume a cup of coffee, which may be safer in the long run, considering the other ingredients in the nutritional supplement that could carry unnecessary risks.

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Image: Fortis CPC Den Haag 2010 by FaceMePLS

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