Nutrition Farmers market with various domestic colorful fresh fruits and vegetable. Tasty colorful mix.

Published on November 7th, 2015 | by Healthy Gay Lifestyles


Supplements vs Fast Food vs Real Food

by David Smith

It’s no secret that the supplement industry is huge. Bringing in over 5 billion dollars a year it is definitely big business and it’s not going anywhere soon. From athletes, body builders and even your every day person looking to get fit, everybody seems to be taking some kind of supplement, and there is definitely no shortage of them. Some popular supplements being taken are protein, creatine, glutamine and multi-vitamins. Walk into any GNC store, and if you can get past the high pressure salesman, you’ll be overwhelmed at what’s in the store.

The FDA has very minimal, if any, regulations regarding supplements which means they are not regularly tested for foreign substances and the manufacturers can essentially say what they’d like in regards to what the supplement contains, where it comes from and what it actually does.

A recent study came out to suggest that in post-workout recovery process, supplements are no more effective than fast food in refueling your body. Then are supplements really worth taking? With how fancy they are, coming in various powders, in bar form, and in so many flavors and what not many people believe that they are healthy but when you compare the nutritional facts you might be better off just eating a Snickers. Also you can get all the nutritional benefit from a protein bar without the chalky taste powders. One might argue that protein bars or other supplements contain fancy vitamins or minerals that make them nutritionally superior to a Snicker’s bar, but what if they just “claim” they’re superior.

Post-Workout Glycogen Restoration is easily achieved through simple carbs, in which are sugars in their most basic form that the body can easily and quickly absorb into the muscles for use. You’re body is very metabolically active as it works to recharge it’s fuel stores and repair your muscles. So the best time to have such naughty treats is post-workout since you will use it rather than store it.

Having said that, comparing supplements to fast food as the study suggests, there isn’t much difference in how your body processes the food. Again your body is very active post-workout and the absorption of nutrients is quite active, so while post-workout is a great time to have a cheat meal, it is an even better time to have a high quality nutrient dense meal. Nutrient dense foods are foods, which are high in vitamins, minerals and fibers. While many supplements are fortified with vitamins and minerals they don’t compare with that of nutrient dense food, not only do you get the necessary diversity of the nutrients but often times certain vitamins and minerals interact with each other in ways that supplements can’t necessary replicate. Vitamin D and Calcium is a common example.

Minerals can especially be found in leafy greens and vegetables, but aren’t always “bio-available.” That means that your body won’t absorb the entire mineral contained within the vegetable and ends up leaving the body. Eating such nutrient dense foods post workout increases the absorption of the food you eat, specifically the calories, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water that is contains.

For a quick snack post workout, sometimes you grab what you have on hand. As an athlete, I always try to leave the gym with a snack in hand. Usually a hard-boiled egg or even a fruit smoothie containing vanilla protein powder. The best advice is to “keep it simple.” Post workout you need some protein, you need some carbs and you need some fats. The amounts of course will vary depending on your goals, but focus most on consuming high quality, nutrient dense foods when possible.

Remember you are what you eat and the quality of food you eat has a direct effect on your bodies capabilities.

David Smith, Exercise Professional: Stonewall Fitness

Co-President: Team Colorado

Coach: Wheat Ridge Piranhas

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