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Nutrition

  • Does eating late at night cause weight gain?

    Many people have emailed me with the belief that eating late at night is causing them to gain weight. However, this is nothing more than a myth. This old wives' tale propagates that our metabolism slows down at night because we are inactive and there...
  • Best Vitamins and Supplements to Take For Mental Focus

    Written by guest author Brenan Quirante Peak nootropics Noopept Nootropic Supplements Some people search for supplements and vitamins to help them improve their memory, cognitive ability and focus. It's not easy focusing on tasks that don't seem i...
  • The Difference Between Water and Sports Beverages

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Working up a sweat can feel great, especially if you have trained really hard. However, it is also very important to keep hydrated before, during and after your workout. Dehydration during your workout can easi...
  • Ten Reasons to Eat More Avocado

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Smoothies, salads and dips… you can have it all with avocados. This green fruit's name is derived from the Nahuatl Indian language which ironically means "testicle". Avocado is considered a healthy fat which no...
  • Health Benefits of Salmon

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Delicious and nutritious Along with being incredibly tasty, salmon offers many health benefits you might not be aware of. Though salmon contains quite a lot of fat, you can indulge without feeling guilty as t...
  • Healthy Eating on a Budget

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Some readers have emailed the website saying that eating healthy is expensive and this makes it difficult for them to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Even though nutritious food can be very expensive, it is defini...
  • Leptin and How it Facilitates Fat Loss

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff There are countless diets available on the market. A current popular diet is the so called "leptin diet." In this article, I'll explain what leptin is and how you can make leptin work to your advantage. What i...
  • How Healthy is Sushi?

    Written by guest author N.P.Burggraaff Sushi is known to be one of the healthiest meals. Sushi contains some great nutrients like omega 3 from the fatty fish, vitamins from vegetables and minerals from seaweed. Does this mean you can binge on sushi ...
  • 10 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff 1. Olive oil/healthy oils Olive oil is a healthy fat and fits perfectly into a healthy diet. However, although it is a healthy fat, it is also high in calories and can slow down your weight loss if you consu...
  • The Truth About Diet Soda

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff Regular sodas are loaded with sugar Regular sodas are known to contain a LOT of sugar. How much you may ask? Did you know that a can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of sugar? This is equivalent to 3 tables...
  • Glycemic Index Explained

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff I'm sure you've heard a buzz going around about the glycemic index. A lot of people are adjusting their food intake according to low Glycemic Index (GI) values. But what exactly is the glycemic index? Defin...
  • Natural Sugar Alternatives

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff Luckily I am not a sweet tooth, but I know many of you are! The main ingredient to provide sweetness in foods and drinks is of course sugar. There are countless reasons why it would be better to cut out, or a...
  • Is Coconut Oil The New and Improved Olive Oil?

    Written by guest author Nynke Burggraaff For years and years, the media and health gurus have educated us about the countless benefits of olive oil. Olive oil has become a staple in many households and for good reason; it is both healthy and tasty. ...
  • Guilt-free Healthy Snacks

    Snacks help to control our cravings, maintain our blood sugar levels and keep us energized throughout the day. It is recommended that people do not go more than four hours without eating and should always have snacks in-between meals. Many people go...
  • Habits of Successful Dieters

    When it comes to successful fat loss, your hard work will not end once you reach your goal. The next step is to successfully maintain your results with a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you maintain your weight and avoid relapsing. Lo...
  • How to Read Nutrition Labels

    Deciphering the information found on nutrition labels can be extremely confusing. Here is your quick and easy guide to understanding the basics Serving sizes The serving size always appears at the top of nutrition labels. Serving sizes can be misle...
  • How to suppress your appetite

    One of the hardest things about sticking to a diet is keeping a raging appetite under control. There is nothing more frustrating than being hungry and not being able to eat as much as you’d like. Here are some natural techniques to suppress your appe...
  • Top foods to eat daily

    Many people starting out with a body transformation program might not know the difference between clean food and the junk you should avoid, which means they risk eating food they believe to be healthy when in reality it is causing more harm. Familiar...
  • Low Calorie Diets

    One of the most frustrating aspects of starting a weight loss program is how long it takes to see actual results. Many infomercials try to sell you products and supplements promising fast results, but these are nothing but weight loss scams, or are b...
  • Healthy Fats Explained

    Many people view “fats” as unhealthy and best avoided. They link them to high levels of cholesterol, clogged arteries and major health problems. However, in reality healthy fats are essential for overall health and nutrition, provided you eat the rig...
  • Alcohol & Fat Loss

    One of the hardest things for people to give up during a fat loss program is alcohol. Some people find it impossible to go out and not enjoy a few drinks. The good news is drinking occasionally and in moderation will not likely affect your results; h...
  • How to dine out

    A healthy lifestyle means being healthy no matter where you go. Many people overeat, cheat on their diets or are not aware that they are making poor food choices in restaurants. Many people dine out regularly or eat out often for business meetings an...
  • Eat smarter

    Fat loss expert Tom Venuto proposed a fun and easy method for others to improve their food choices in a free special report he wrote. He suggested categorizing your food choices into grades. If you want to be healthier and leaner, you need to work on...
  • Calculate Calories

    What is a calorie? Calories can be defined as measures of heat energy stored in food. The higher the number of calories in a specific type of food, the more energy will be released to perform biological functions or sustain physical activity. When w...
  • The essentials about protein

    Protein is your body's preferred muscle building fuel and can help you reach super-human levels of leanness.  What is protein and what role does it play in your body? Protein is a combination of essential and nonessential amino acids in the body.  ...
  • Water & Liquid Calories

    Water in our bodies One of most important compounds in our body is water, which constitutes around 60 – 70% of our total bodyweight. Water excretes waste from our cells, aids in digestion and brain functions, transports nutrients around the body and...
  • Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are our preferred source of energy and are used most efficiently by the human body. The brain utilizes carbohydrates to perform normal bodily functions, requiring a minimum of 100 grams of carbohydrate per day. Following a severely low ...
  • Repair a Damaged Metabolism

    If you’re someone who has a history of unsuccessful dieting, you may fear that you’ve damaged your metabolism permanently. One example of something that could cause this kind of damage is going on a low-calorie diet for a prolonged period of time, ex...
  • Your basic guide to supplements

    Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by supplements and products purporting to be from the fitness industry and promising quick fat loss and muscle building results. Although many of these products do have some nutritional value it can be hard to tel...
  • Create Your Own Meal Plan

    There’s nothing better than being in control of your diet, customizing it with the foods you like and tailoring it to fit your goals. It only takes one afternoon It might all seem exhausting and confusing at first, but all it really takes is one a...

Your basic guide to supplements

Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by supplements and products purporting to be from the fitness industry and promising quick fat loss and muscle building results. Although many of these products do have some nutritional value it can be hard to tell which are legitimate and which are a complete scam.

How can you determine which products are legitimate?

Has it been around for long and is it safe?

The first step is to research how long a product has been on the market. If the product has been around for five years or more, then you can have some faith that it actually works. If a product is a scam it will eventually disappear from the market, as it won’t deliver results, leading people to eventually stop buying it. Many products are also categorized as dangerous about a year after being released into the market. One example of this is ephedrine-based fat burning pills, which were eventually banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004. If a product has been on sale for a significant period of time and has not caused any health complications, you can rest assured that it’s safe.

Check scientific evidence

Tom Venuto, author of bestseller Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, recommends referring to scientific journals that document the results of a product, proving or disproving its claims. A good source of professional research is the National Library of Medicine. If your product has not been tested or has no scientific evidence to back up its efficacy, toss it away. Pay attention to your source of information. It’s important to note that it should be backed up by significant evidence, not press releases, magazine articles or industry professionals, who earn commission or profit by claiming that the product works.

View the facts from neutral sources

Another determining factor is to check for general information from neutral sources, which will not be swayed by monetary incentives. A good source is a fact sheet from the National Institute of Health, which offers a wealth of general information about supplements and products.

Fat burning products

Products that offer quick fat loss results mostly appeal to those looking for a quick fix - a fast, effortless way to lose weight. Claiming that pills, potions, creams or electrical machines can make you thin is a lot more palatable and appealing than telling people they’ll have to go on a diet and hit the gym. Many of these products are shams, which prey on the hopes and dreams of people who wish to have a better body. To quote Tom Venuto: “the track record for weight loss supplements is dismal, and the ones that work, barely work at all.” Although false advertising is illegal, it’s hard to keep tabs on online marketing and the overwhelming number of products available in the market.

The role of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Many of these ineffectual products are able to use disclaimers from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as long as their product is not harmful or viewed as a drug. While the fat burning products require further studies to prove that they actually work, some of these products disguise themselves as dietary supplements, which don’t require further regulation and do not need to prove their effectiveness. These products will only ever be removed from the market if the FDA deems them unsafe. Some products label themselves with the following text: “This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease," which makes their classification as a dietary supplement appear more legitimate. 

Do not trust the media hype

It is impossible to trust the media to begin with. Many fitness models are sponsored and paid what is sometimes thousands of dollars to endorse their products. You might see a ripped model advertising a particular product and believe that this product will give you the model’s body. What you might not be aware of is that the model has in fact followed a vigorous routine of exercise and dieting to look the way they do, and that their physique actually has nothing to do with the product they are endorsing. Similarly, many fitness magazines and websites are paid thousands of dollars to advertise fat burning products, and it’s unlikely that they’ll publish anything that will go against their advertisers interests (even if their claims are false), or ask for any scientific proof or evidence to prove that the product actually works.

One of the most frustrating things I see are ads claiming that electrical stimulation with electrodes is a substitute for the gym, or that it will give you a six pack in weeks. Even worse - many people believe these ads and waste their time and spend hundreds of dollars only to see no results. It has been scientifically proven that electrical stimulation only works for rehabilitation and physiotherapy. It will NEVER raise your heart rate high enough to burn fat or damage your muscles enough to encourage muscle growth. If these ridiculous claims were true then everyone would be walking around with a six-pack. According to the Federal Trade Commission, “no electronic muscle stimulator device alone will give you ‘six-pack’ abs.” There’s a reason why the obesity problem is only getting worse. Many beauty centers have these machines, but they’re nothing more than scams.

The truth is you’re more likely to see results if you follow a clean diet and exercise regularly. You would be doing yourself a favor if you invested your time and money in going to the gym and buying nutritious wholefoods, instead of fat loss products. Although some appetite suppressants may help when you’re on a diet, they are only a temporary fix, not a long-term solution. The following quote from the Federal Trade Commission emphasizes the importance of hard work and dieting: “Whether it’s a pill, patch, or cream, there’s no shortage of ads promising quick and easy weight loss without diet or exercise. But the claims just aren’t true, and some of these products could even hurt your health. The best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and get more exercise. Don’t be hooked by promises, testimonials, or supposed endorsements from reporters; all you’ll lose is money.”

Some of the best supplements to take

Vitamins

When you’re following a restricted diet, taking multivitamins is a safe way to ensure that you’re fortifying your body with all the essential nutrients. Vitamin deficiencies can cause health problems in the long run and multivitamins are a healthy way to keep your body nourished and maintain the high energy levels needed to progress in the gym.

Essential fatty acids

As explained here, your body is unable to produce essential fatty acids, which are found in certain fats and must be ingested through food intake. Taking supplements containing essential fatty acids is another way of guaranteeing nutritional balance. Some of the best essential fatty acids are:

Flaxseed oils: a rich source of Omega 3 fats (plant based, therefore suitable for vegetarians)

Fish oil-based pills: another rich source of Omega 3 fats (animal based)

Muscle building supplements

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) pills or powder: these provide the body with essential amino acids, which promote muscle synthesis in the body. They help maintain and promote muscle repair.

Glutamine (pills): this is another type of essential amino acid, which builds, protects and repairs muscle tissue.

Protein powder: can be taken as a shake, mixed as a smoothie or even added to meals. Most protein powders are very low in carbs and provide the body with pure protein. Some of the most popular brands include Whey and Casein. Whey is quick-releasing and can be taken directly after a workout for fast absorption and recovery. Casein is slow-releasing and is only absorbed by the body after a few hours, which makes it ideal to take right before bed. Protein powder can also be consumed as a midday snack to keep hunger pangs at bay. There is no rule about how often or when you should take protein powder. Adjust serving sizes and frequency to fit in with your goals. For example, if you’re on a muscle gaining program you might take a couple of scoops of protein powder twice a day to help you gain size and meet your caloric intake.

Creatine: this supplement helps provide your body with energy and aids weight training workouts. It also helps you bulk up and build muscle. Finally, this supplement contributes to muscle gain and overall strength while ensuring that less recovery time is needed between sets. Many endurance athletes and bodybuilders take Creatine to support their intense workouts. It is taken as powder and mixed with water.  

A word about protein bars

Many people eat protein bars thinking that they’re muscle-building snacks; however, quite often they are nothing more than candy bars with some added protein. Although a protein bar is still a healthier alternative to a chocolate bar, make sure the nutrition label does not contain the words “high-fructose syrup,” which consists of huge amounts of refined sugar. Some of the best protein bars on the market are Quest bars, which can be found in nutrition or health food stores. Quest bars use the naturally sweet herb Stevia instead of sugar and come in a variety of flavors.

Final thoughts

You can walk into a nutrition store and come across a whole world of products, none of which you need. As long as you follow a good diet tailored towards your goals and exercise regularly, you’ll see positive results. Some of the supplements listed here can be taken if you’re on a restricted diet and your goal is to get extremely lean, or if you’re looking to pack on some muscle and want some extra supplementation. As Tom Venuto says, “nutrition from whole food, strength training, cardio training and mind training – the four essential elements - are the keys to your progress, not supplements.”  

 

 

Comments  

0
Guillermo
2015-01-15 18:44
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Katherin
2014-09-29 14:20
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0
Maya Nassar
2013-08-08 12:22
Hi Guree!

The best protein powder that is really low in carbs is Whey protein isolate. It is almost exclusively pure protein and comes in many different flavors! I love the chocolate best!
0
Guree
2013-08-07 12:20
Can you please tell me what is the best protein powder to have? I have seen a few but seems like they're high in carbs :(
0
Maya Nassar
2013-08-01 12:20
I'm always glad to help! Keep checking back for regular updates and feel free to send me all your questions!
0
nynke
2013-07-30 12:19
Thanks for clearing that up!! I absolutely LOVE the website it's so informative and motivating, keep it up!!

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