|Supplements: Friend or foe?|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Tuesday, 23 August 2011 21:53|
With classes starting and students living on their own, it’s easy to get hooked on unhealthy dorm food and skip workouts to go watch TV. Before you know it, your jeans are too tight and you’ve gained some weight. So why not pop a pill in your mouth to help shed those pounds?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 50 percent of Americans use dietary supplements and spend over $34 billion a year on ergogenic (or work enhancing) aids and vitamins. What’s so wrong with these supplements if they’re regularly sold and marketed?
It’s no surprise that Americans do not have the healthiest diet and don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, so most people make up for it with daily vitamins.
The reality is, it’s not that hard to get your daily needs from food (dark vegetables, fruits and nuts).
There are many brands that give you more than the recommended daily amount of vitamins – you can have too much of a good thing.
Overdosing on vitamin A can cause liver and eye damage and too much vitamin E could even be fatal. Also, the vitamins may not be absorbed properly because of how old they are, what they’re combined with and what you eat when you take them.
Your best bet is to eat vegetables and fruit on a regular basis. You can never overdose on healthy food. Check out www.MyPyramid.gov to record your diet and see how many vitamins you’re ingesting.
Ergogenic Aid Supplements
A few common examples of these supplements include: creatine, steroids, caffeine and ephedra. Nowadays, you can walk into any store and find weight loss pills that promise increased energy, fat loss and fitness improvements.
No weight loss drugs or muscle enhancers on the market are regulated by the FDA. This means there is little guarantee that the ingredients are all listed and there is often no warning for the harmful side effects. The FDA will only stop sale on the pills if it has been proven harmful by multiple consumers.
Weight loss pills have tons of negative side effects: nutrient deficiency, diarrhea, nausea, increased blood pressure, insomnia and many more. Many other supplements that claim to give you energy and help performance have been reported to wreak havoc on the heart.
There have also been multiple deaths reported from taking these supplements. Is your life worth a boost of energy for a few hours? Think twice before you take these unregulated pills and drinks – they are very harmful to your body.
A common misconception is that more protein means more muscle; actually, muscle is only 20 percent protein and 70 percent of it is water. Too much protein can result in liver damage, dehydration and added fat mass. In order to build muscle, you must work out and eat a balanced diet.
As mentioned in a Daily Vidette column on Monday, make it a goal to stay active all year long. Eat your greens, keep your meats lean and consume enough healthy fats. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.