by 3j, www.3jsdiet.com
Being in the position that I am as a sports nutritionist, my days are filled with questions that are directed towards the individual needs of my clients. One of the questions that I have to ask as I am building a program for my clients is what supplementation does this particular client need? Then it got me thinking of all the people out there abusing and overusing supplements. So let us get into some defining of words here. Supplements are products that will, well, supplement your diet with certain nutrition that can be advantageous to your body. Whey, Casein, BCAA, ZMA, multi-vitamins, pre-workout energy powders, and creatine are all supplements that you can use at your disposal to better your body in terms of reaching your goal.
So what’s the issue? People forget that these things are only there to SUPPLEMENT your diet. They are not REPLACEMENTS for whole foods. You can get your protein from whole foods instead of whey and casein. Creatine natural occurs also, so do BCAAs. You can get your multi-vitamins from food and fruits also! Most of the micro and macro nutrition that your body needs can come from whole foods and SHOULD come from whole foods. The issue I see is people using supplements as replacements for whole foods, and whole foods is always king! Here is a basic example of what I mean. I have seen people get over 50% of their protein from whey. Whey plays its part, it’s a wonderful and quick way to get protein in your system while keeping the caloric intake low since most whey is fat and virtually carb free. But whey will not affect your metabolism the same way chicken will. There is a digestive process that is lacking with whey.
The correct use of supplementation is just that, to supplement your diet with things that are difficult to get in. Have you ever read the back of your multi-vitamin? Believe it or not, its not that easy to get that much micro nutrition in your diet from whole foods in one day. The diet becomes very complex. But if you’re eating well and using the multi-vitamin as a supplement to your diet then you are getting all that micronutrition that you need. We know certain supplements like creatine and glutamine are wonderful for working out and replenishing our bodies. It would be tough to get the amount of creatine or glutamine in our bodies that would be beneficial to our goals without supplementation. Whey can easily be replaced by liquid egg whites. Actually liquid egg whites are more bioavailable than whey. But it is tough to carry and keep cool the liquid egg whites, and whey comes in a close second for your goals and is much more convenient. So we use whey post workout for our protein needs and that’s ok!
The point here is that you should rely on whole foods every chance you can get and only resort to supplements when needed. Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who, due to time constraints, have to use supplements to replace their meals. This is not the most ideal way to approach your diet, but when you don’t have a choice, supplementation is better than nothing.