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Are supplements good or bad for you?

The debate around supplementation continues and never ceases, not only throughout the Fitness and Sporting worlds but from day to day living. Questions I often get asked from family, friends, and rushcutters health members are, who should be taking them? When should you be taking them? What type should I take?

Over the years, I have personally tried to keep an open mind on this topic after discussions with dieticians and nutritionists. The general consensus is that the problem with most supplements is the fact that you do not actually know what is in them and a lot of them may contain extra sugars and additives which are hidden on labels and do more harm than good for your overall health and may not be optimal for someone who may be looking at weight loss. People tend to look at them for a quick fix to bad nutritional habits, which in some cases may not necessarily be a bad thing if you research the product and consult with a medical professional, but in most cases people simply don’t. This is why in a lot of cases, medical professionals highly recommend protein intake through nutritional foods such as red meat, fish and eggs unless certain circumstances apply to that individual from a medical perspective. This is a fact that I would highly agree with, the option of obtaining nutritional value from foods should always be the first option.

However, from an athlete’s perspective, due to large amounts of training and volume, protein supplements can often be recommended, mainly to promote muscle recovery and growth in a shorter period of time due to regular high impact training and competition. This can become tricky as a number of supplements and pre-workout drinks may contain a banned substance which relates to performance enhancing. This is why it is even more important for athletes to consult and research any product they may be consuming with a club dietician. This also applies to parents of young and up and coming athletes, who are responsible for their child’s overall health and wellbeing and should be educated on the potential risk of supplementation with sports as it is important to stop bad habits developing early on in a career.

In summary, it is important for individuals not to fall for marketing ploys from companies and to assess the needs of a protein supplement based on their individual circumstance. Understanding where a product comes from, investigating ingredients of a particular product and consuming the product if applicable in a moderate way are all keys to maintaining a healthy nutritional lifestyle along with a balanced diet of high rating foods.

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