The supplement industry is huge, but is it really necessary?
It is incredibly common to see commercials for the latest fitness trend claiming you can get the body of your dreams in as little as 2 weeks. Take this one pill and it will curb your appetite and make you lose weight. You don’t even need to workout, just take some supplements and you all your body image issues will be solved.
That is a bunch of crap.
The National Institutes of Health claim the supplement industry makes $37 billion a year, and that was in 2016. The number has only risen since then. If that’s the case, isn’t it just another money making industry? Would it not just try to increase its profit just like any other business? You wouldn’t say that that other businesses aren’t just in it for the money. Just like the car business makes a new model every year, the supplement companies always roll out a ‘new and improved formula.’
Basically, the supplement industry is perfect for the post-modern mindset. It is all about making a profit. Even the name ‘supplement’ implies they aren’t necessary. They are literally designed to supplement your current diet and exercise.
The craziest aspect is that a truly dialed in diet doesn’t require any supplements. If you’re eating perfect, then you are able to hit your macros without an issue. This implies that the supplement industry is just a bunch of crap. It’s simply unnecessary.
To debunk the myth of supplements, lets just tear apart the two most popular supplements: protein and pre-workout.
The supplement industry has manipulated facts. You hear it all the time, “you need 1.5g – 2g of protein for every pound of body weight to gain muscle.” Science actually says otherwise.
This study of multiple experiments shows that 0.64g per pound of lean body weight is the minimum with anything exceeding 0.82g of protein not showing any increase in muscular gains. The ultimate power of in eating multiple grams of protein is that it is more satiating than other vitamins and minerals. That just means it makes you feel more full after consumption.
The second myth is about how much protein your body metabolize at one time. Why do protein powders always come in containers that offer about 30g of protein per serving? The short answer is that that number is what makes the supplements companies the most money.
If your body can only metabolize 30g at one time, then there is a huge issue in how our bodies developed through evolution. How would it be advantageous for a human to not even be able to metabolize all the protein in a steak? How would hunter-gatherers have survived if that was the case? First off, your body may metabolize the protein at a different rate than what is recommended. In the same way that everyone doesn’t need an extra 100g of vitamin A, not everyone needs a ton of protein either.
Excess protein supplementation really only needs to be done if you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet. This would be really common for vegans or vegetarians, but less common on a well rounded diet. There is no need for protein powder, but it is amazing doing what a supplement is supposed to do and legitimately supplement your diet.
Pre-workout is the most useless supplement that is out there on the market. Sadly, it is THE most popular.
Pre-workout at its core is just a bunch of unnecessary processed crap thrown in with some caffeine that gets you jittery before you workout. It’s not good.
The only good thing about pre-workout is the caffeine. The rest of it is just processed vitamins and minerals that cause ‘vasodilation’ and get you a quicker pump. Pre-workout is usually full of sugar too. Mix too much sugar, for flavor, and caffeine to get the exact same effects as any mainstream pre-workout.
The research done by LiveScience shows that you can get the exact same effects by simply drinking a cup of coffee instead of a pre-workout. The article says that pre-workout by itself isn’t dangerous, but supplementing it with other things very well can be.
Just as with the protein though, if you can get the same effects from real whole foods, then why risk it. It doesn’t make sense to supplement when there is no need. What I’m getting at is that the real only good pre-workout is coffee or tea. There is no need to have anything else. It would just give you too much caffeine and mix it with a bunch of other nonsensical processed ingredients and you get yourself something completely and totally unnecessary.
The gist of everything I am saying is that supplements are not necessary. There is only a small portion of people that really need to take supplements at all. There are definitely some tests out there that will let you know if you are deficient in any vitamins or minerals, then you can supplement based off that. I personally use a protein shake. I did some research to find the most affordable and least processed protein I could get, and I use it sometimes. I am also a flight attendant, so it is really hard to get the appropriate amount of macros in my diet. But, keep in mind, there is usually a way to make sure you can get all the nutrients your body needs with just real whole foods. That is for sure the safest and best route to take.