5 Truths About Dietary Supplements That You’ve Been Dying To Know

Dietary Supplement truths

Image: Flickr/ Mike Mozart

1. Protein powder can be replaced with beans, tofu, nuts, fish or meats.

Dietary Supplement truths

Image: Flickr/John Jeddore

Protein powders are marketed as necessary for weight gain and muscle building, and it is one of the best-selling dietary supplements in the US. Protein helps build muscles but the truth is that most Americans already get plenty of protein in their diets.

2. Creatine can be replaced by meats.

Dietary Supplement truths

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Humans naturally produce low-level amounts of creatine, a compound that helps our muscles release energy. We produce the most natural creatine when we regularly eat meat. While creatine does help moderately with specific kinds of short intensity workouts, there is no evidence to show that it is beneficial for more adverse types of exercises like endurance and aerobics.

3. Weight loss pills like Hydroxycut may not be all that they advertise.

Dietary Supplement truths

Image: Flickr/Mike Mozart

Weight-loss supplements like Hydroxycut always claim that they will help with your weight-loss with “pro clinical” ingredients. Their formula once contained ephedra, a powerful stimulant that was linked to 155 deaths in 2003.

The ingredients today are simply caffeine and four herbal extracts: lady’s mantle, wild olive, cumin, and wild mint. The strongest of the five is caffeine, which several studies show can help boost metabolism and help encourage moderate, short-term fat burning. But no long-term studies show caffeine helps with sustained weight loss.

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4. Ginseng — scientists say more is needed to prove that it’s safe to use to help curve fatigue.

Dietary Supplement truths

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The Mayo Clinic conducted a well-designed two-month study of close to 300 cancer patients that were given 1,000 or 2,000 milligrams of ginseng each day. They reported feeling more energized compared with those who took a placebo.

5. Fish oil pills are a waste — you can eat salmon instead!

Dietary Supplement truths

Image: Shutterstock/Olga Lyubkina

They say that the omega-3 fats in fish oil can boost brain function.

However, evidence for this isn’t very concrete. There was a 2012 review of three large studies found that omega-3 supplements taken for anytime between five months and three years didn’t improve memory or verbal skills in older people who did not have dementia at the start of each study.

Article: IFLS