There are so many people out there, desperately trying to lose weight with minimal effort. Why work your ass off, when it can be easier popping a pill? Something simple and quick. They all want that magic pill. But there isn't one.
That's why I've made it my mission to separate the truth from the nonsense.
Here's another episode of "Exposed & Solved". This time I scrolled through the web to research the most common supplement myths. And heck, I did find some really good ones. Enjoy!
1. Supplements improve strength and muscle mass even if you don't train at all
As I mentioned above, people are looking for the simplest and quickest way to reach their target. And I don't blame them. But be careful what you believe.
Supplements can improve your overall health, help you destress and might improve sleep, but they definitely won't turn you into a bodybuilding pro without putting in hard work.
Plus, supplements alone will not make you bigger, leaner or stronger. You have to lift heavy to build muscle mass, combined with a proper diet. Throw the damn pills in the garbage and go to the gym if you want to look like an athlete!
And even if you eat and train perfectly, supplements will only improve your results by a slight margin.
2. Everyone can benefit from taking supplements
Nope, total nonsense! Everybody is unique and it all depends on your training, diet and lifestyle if you benefit from taking a supplement. Supplements are optional and not mandatory, unless you have a good reason to use them, like a deficiency.
Let's take creatine for example. Some feel a difference when taking creatine and some - like me - are non-responder. There are simply supplements that work better for some people than others.
Furthermore, you should always aim to get all your vitamins and minerals through your diet first and then consider if it's really necessary to take supplements. If you live on a well balanced and healthy diet, there's usually no need for supplementation at all.
3. Whey makes you fat
Oh my... Whey doesn't make your fat. Like carbs and dietary fat don't make you fat. Eating too many calories will make you fat.
However, study after study has proven, that a high-protein diet will lead to better results. Even when the consumed calories are equal.
This is due to the thermic effect of food. To keep it short, 20-30% of the calories you consume from protein are needed for the digestion. Therefore, 200g of protein will increase your daily expenditure by roughly 160-240 kcal.
High protein is beneficial for reducing body fat. In general, aim for roughly 2g per kg/1g per lbs of body weight per day.
Oh, and by the way: Whey is actually considered a food, rather than a supplement, because it's basically milk powder and not a substance created through a chemical process.
4. Supplements replace a healthy diet
Don't ever think that way! Eat like crap, feel and look like crap. There is no sugar coating and supplements will never compensate for a bad diet.
Think of supplements as the icing on the cake. Something you can take on top of eating healthy. Even if you're taking your supplements properly, they can't supply all the benefits you get from eating a well balanced diet. Plus some are not as good as the real deal - like fiber supplements and fiber found in real food.
Please, never believe the crap that a restricted diet consisting of meal-replacing shakes and multivitamins will do all the work. Think again. Supplements are just that: supplements. They support a diet, but don't replace a diet. If you have to choose between a whey protein shake and a well balanced fresh meal, which is high in protein, always go for the meal.
5. Creatine is a steroid
What? I never heard of this one before, to be honest. Creatine is not a steroid. It's actually a natural substance found in the human body. The purpose of creatine is to supply energy to muscle cells.
Taking larger amounts of creatine is neither helpful nor harmful. Steroids, on the other hand, can be very harmful.
Long story short: The only way creatine is similar to steroid, is it's muscle building properties. However, creatine is a lot milder in it's effects (if you have any at all). Don't expect any noticeable changes from it!
You can also get your creatine through food by the way. It's mainly found in red meat like beef.
6. You can't overdose on vitamins
You're eating a very healthy diet with lots of whole foods, fortified cereals or sports bars and take additional vitamins and minerals? Then you might overdo it.
In fact, an overdose on vitamins and minerals can lead to damaged vital organs. Too much vitamin A, for example, can affect your liver. Too much of everything is never good. Remember that!
7. Supplements don't interact with medications
False! There are some supplements, especially vitamins (such as vitamin K, which helps blood clot), or zinc, that might interact with prescription and over-the-counter-medication.
Before using supplements, research if they interfere with your medication.
8. Your body can't digest more than 20-30g of protein
My favourite. Total nonsense! This crap has been passed around so long that is has become accepted as an unbreakable nutrition law: Never eat more than 30g of protein per meal.
There is no reason to limit yourself to 30g of protein per meal. In fact, most low-quality (low-leucine) protein sources will not even trigger muscle protein synthesis when you only consume 30g of protein (e.g. lentils).
And think about it from an evolution standpoint. Would we still be alive, if our bodies would simply not use any protein except for the first 30g? You hunt down a bison, a cow or a dear and then what? You stop eating after 125g, because the rest is useless? I'm pretty sure our species would be extinct by now, if that were true.
To wrap this up, it's better to split your protein intake across multiple meals, rather than eating 200g in one sitting, but there's no problem with 30g+ of protein in a single meal! None.
9. Taking creatine will help you get shredded
You will definitely not get shredded by taking creatine. You will only get shredded by being in a caloric deficit, combined with heavy weight lifting.
Supplements alone will never lead to an extreme change. Diet and workout lead to change over time.
In fact, creatine can make you hold water, so even if you lean out, you might look watery and not as hard, because of the water retention. It might be beneficial for keeping up your strength, but only to a very small degree.
10. Take fat burners and you'll lose body fat in NO time
Ah, fat burners. The tiny magic pill that gets you lean in no time, right? Nope, sorry to disappoint you. Losing weight definitely requires more than just swallowing a pill.
Here's why: No natural substance can just "burn fat" right away. What legal fat burners do, is increasing your metabolism and inducing thermogenesis. This will help you very little. You know what does the same thing? Coffee. Just have a cup of that instead.
If there were a magic pill like that, don't you think bodybuilders, people who are losing fat for a living, would take it ? They already take several other drugs and hormones, so they wouldn't mind. And yet, even they have to be in a caloric deficit and diet their asses off, to lose fat.
What makes you think you found the magic answer and people like that, with the best trainers in the world and enough money (steroids are expensive!) don't know about it? Think again!
Rather focus on a proper diet and workout routine, than spending your money on such nonsense.
If it's too good to be true, it's usually not! When you see a supplement claim or your gym mate tells you the latest bodybuilding news, always be skeptical!
Supplements don't build great physiques or tone your body. Hard work and dedication does.
Hence, many supplements can be a complete waste of money, but the right ones might help. Do your research before you buy!
Did I forget a supplement myth? Please, let me know in the comment section below about any nonsense you have heard!