When it comes to supplements, I think it's important to look at the research, but not without also looking at real world results. This is very important because: A) I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that much of the supplement information and research that makes it into the magazines is thoroughly "bought and paid for," in more way than one, and B) many supplements that look good on paper have fallen flat in the real world.
I'm very much a supplement minimalist, but I do take the basics and use some products occasionally for convenience, for example:
Flax oil, an essential oil blend and or fish oil Creatine
Post workout drink (whey/simple carb) during off season on mass building programs.
I use meal replacements and protein powder occasionally, but I have no problem eating 6 whole food meals a day, so my use of powders is minimal. I recommend them to clients for convenience only. The importance of real food as the majority of your calories can't be emphasized enough.
If you think about it, shakes and definitely the bars can fall under the category of processed man made foods, which violates #3 of the top three fat loss tips I mentioned earlier.
I don't doubt that there are many other supplements that have benefits, including health benefits, but I believe that most supplements are overrated and over hyped, especially when muscle growth or fat loss claims are made.
On the other hand, If I were an elite professional athlete, I'd probably be taking every product I could get my hands on which was legal and had any scientific support behind it because at the elite level, the line between winning and losing can be as fine as a razor's edge. But since I 'm not in a position where a tiny fraction of a percent improvement in my performance will matter that much and I don't have a multi million dollar sports contract at stake, then I don't bother with all the "might work" supplements, because the cost to benefit ratio is not in my favor and I think that popping pills all day long is a royal pain in the ass. I'd rather eat the food than pop a pill to get what's already in the food anyway.
I'm not a fan of weight loss supplements at all and the advertising tactics used in this segment of the industry make me sick. The entire concept of taking a pill to lose weight leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. No matter what the reputed mechanism involved (thermogenic, thyroid-stimulating, insulin managing, appetite suppressing, whatever), you're treating symptoms, not causes. Many "fat burners" are complete scams, and even those with some scientific support are overrated in my opinion. With the right training and nutrition, you can get as lean as you ever want to be and save a lot of money in the process.
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