Chocolate protein powder in a scoop

Understanding 'SUPPLEMENTS'

We have all heard it before “This is the best product ever! I’ve lost 8 kilos in 4 weeks and I feel great” But how can you determine who is being paid for the promotion, what is marketing hype or what actually works? Supplements are an important part of nutrition and health. However I am not talking about the latest fat burning pill or shake. I’m talking about minerals that in this day and age we struggle to find in our foods alone, fish oil capsules and pure protein powders. For example, did you know that even buying organic fruits and vegetables will not mean you are getting the essential minerals and nutrients your body requires due to the soil depletion within Australia? Without the essential minerals we require in our food, this leads to a huge deficiency within the population. One of the easiest visual ways to detect a mineral deficiency is to look at our nails, if you have speckles on your nails did you know this is a sign of mineral deficiency in zinc and magnesium? 1992 Earth Summit Report indicate that the mineral content of the world's farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically.

Percentage of Mineral Depletion From Soil During The Past 100 Years, By Continent:

North America 85% **
South America 76%
Asia 76%
Africa 74%
Europe 72%
Australia 55%
  Dr Hungerford reports that in this day and age she believes with the quality in the soil, the processing and additive of the foods that most, if not all of us need to be supplementing our diets with minerals like zinc, selenium, calcium and magnesium as it is almost impossible to find these essential minerals in our food now. Along with these essential minerals for overall health, supplementation targeting fat loss are not to be overlooked either.   So, where do you start? -Always check the ingredients! In many cases, the latest fat loss pill charging $80 for a months supply is actually a low dose of caffeine, green tea and raspberry ketones- available for a quarter of the price in your chemist and at a higher dosage. -Marketing. Bigger companies have bigger marketing budgets, this does not mean the quality of their product is better. Also, remember a lot of health and fitness ambassadors are paid to represent certain brands so think of it as a job. You wouldn’t walk into a clothing company, lets say kookai and ask where you could find the best clothes in the mall is without expecting them to say kookai. Don’t expect anything less, unless of course they are not being paid/sponsored to do so. -Research! Ingredients are usually better than products if that makes sense and you can usually find them discounted online, bulk nutrients usually do cost effective supplements. Research the ingredients you want that will help with what you require, for example I use and love alpha lipoic acid. Along with it’s antioxidant effects it can also completely change your physique, combats free radicals, slows aging, protects against cancer and regulates blood sugar in diabetics. Certainly a supplement I use day in, day out.  See, not something that is marketed using banners or commercials. -Acetyl L Carnitine is a great one for fat loss, however studies have shown that it needs to be taken with a high GI carbohydrate, enough to induce a large spike insulin levels. In order for it to be shuttled into the mitochondria so therefore the body can utilize it to access body fat for energy in times of rest or as required. -Protein powders. Most proteins on the market are much of a muchness, so how do you decide? First off, you need to decide what you want in a protein- do you want a vegan protein for example- ie pea based or rice based. (the best peas based I have found is actually neways,  I include this in my children’s diet as they are lactose intolerant) If whey is your choice, you will not have a problem finding a supply! Look at the amount of protein per serve, the ingredients and the carbohydrate/fat grams. Always look per 100grams, not per serve as many companies will trick you as they alter the serving size on the nutritional panel. I prefer to eat my fats (think almonds, macadamia spread and avocado sauces) and carbohydrates (think pumpkin, sweet potato, quinoa or rice) rather than drink them- so for this reason I like my carbs/fats to be low in a protein powder. I usually try and find one that is sweetened with stevia. The ‘about time’ range is great for this. (and tastes amazing too- not something you can say about all of them!) Minerals  We always supplement our diets and our children's diet's using a product called feroxin, which can be seen here: This gives us peace of mind that although we still eat organic produce, that we are getting the minerals our bodies require!   As an overview, I believe that most adults require supplements such as essential minerals and vitamins. I also believe that a good quality fish oil is great for joints, cardiovascular health and will also keep you feeling fuller for longer. The other supplements available I do not believe are as important to your essential health and well being but work well in goal specific circumstances- ie fat loss, muscle tone etc   Reference and reading material: Wall, B. T., et al. Chronic oral ingestion of L-carnitine and carbohydrate increases muscle carnitine content and alters muscle fuel metabolism during exercise in humans. J Physiol. 2011 Feb 15;589(Pt 4):963-73.

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