Stay Away From These

Many bodybuilders have looked on ginseng, first identified as useful in Chinese medicine, as a mild tonic that increases workout intensity and recovery ability, but I've found it largely useless to the bodybuilder. It also seems to adversely affect testosterone levels in the body and may thus set the athlete back in training to some degree.

Likewise, bee pollen and royal jelly have not been proven to present any anabolic or growth advantages. Though they may eventually provide some medicinal benefits, they're of little use with training or the Anabolic Diet.

It's also important to note that Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT's) get a big thumbs down for use in the Anabolic Diet. Very few foods actually contain MCT's, but you'll find many people are very big on MCT supplements, most of which are derived from coconut oil. They'll say, "It's fat, why can't we use it?" but it basically bypasses the whole energy pathway we're trying to establish with the Anabolic Diet and can be very counterproductive.

MCT's can be of great use on a diet high in complex carbs because of its protein sparing effects. But on the Anabolic Diet, the body, instead of using the long chain fatty acids that make up most body fat, uses the MCT's. The body ends up bypassing the very metabolic processes that the Anabolic Diet sets up: to burn its own fat and use the long chain fatties as a primary energy source.

The long chain triglycerides utilized in the Anabolic Diet also have several advantages over the MCT's. They have an even greater protein-sparing effect than the MCT's. And along with decreasing the formation of bodyfat, which the MCT's also do, they increase the amount of existing bodyfat broken down and greatly decrease bodyfat levels.

A lot of people will be tempted to run down to the health food store and buy some MCT's to be used on this diet, but don't bite. They'll actually work against the diet in terms of muscle production and fat breakdown.

I also wouldn't put any trust in those manufacturers of herbal and plant products who advertise that their products contain natural testosterone or have the ability to increase natural testosterone production and thus serve as a substitute for anabolic steroids. The fact is that no plant or herb, with the possible exception of truffles (which contain Androst-16-en-3-ol), contains testosterone or even any derivatives that the body can transform into useful hormones for growth. The steroids contained in these products are plant sterols, not the anabolic type humans can use.

It's also important to note that some of the compounds advertised may also end up having a negative effect on muscularity and performance. Beta-sitosterol, one of the most plentiful phytoestrogens found in alcoholic beverages, can actually work against the male athlete.

Nicotine is also used by some athletes in the belief it will increase performance. It can enter the body through smoking, chewing tobacco or snuff, nicotine gum, or by nicotine patches.

Smoking is the most common and least desirable way to take nicotine. When combined with the over 2000 other chemical substances in a cigarette, nicotine acts as an irritant and cancer-causing agent. It can also decrease the lungs' ability to clean themselves. Lung disease and cancer can result. Cigarettes also increase risks to cardiac health. Early research also shows a strong chance of lessened serum testosterone in men. The addictive nature of nicotine is well documented.

While less is known about chewing tobacco and snuff, it is still certain that it's just as addictive and can greatly increase oral cancer risk. As for the nicotine gum and patches developed to help the addicted smoker kick the habit, they have far fewer adverse effects and are, of course, very preferable to smoking or other orally taken sources.

There may, indeed, be some kind of up-side to nicotine. Both animal and human studies have shown nicotine can reduce caloric intake and aid weight loss. Ceasing smoking may also lead to weight gain.

But there seems little evidence that it possesses any advantage for the athlete. Smoking is especially harmful and generally has a negative effect on athletic performance.75 Any bodybuilder who smokes would be wise to give it up. If impossible to break, other oral forms of the drug will be preferable to smoking. But with the dramatic increase in chances for oral cancer and other possibly harmful chemical compounds contained in smokeless tobacco products, you'd be better to get off the stuff altogether.

Ditto on recreational drug use. As mentioned above, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine have adverse effects on serum testosterone and growth hormone. While a beer or two on the weekend is not going to hurt you, you'll still want to approach this area with caution to ensure the best results from the Anabolic Diet program.

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