Fitness Supplements and why you should care

Fitness Supplements and why you should care

May 12, 2018

There is an age old saying: “more isn’t always better.” This applies in physical exercise as much as it does to what you're consuming. And they both have a pretty profound effect on your health, and how you perform.

The following is geared towards those who sit in the “healthy, young adult” category as well as those who sit outside of this category. Why? Because both form the opportune target in a global market with a combined marketing budget bigger than the national financial budget of some countries.

What is the reason for this article? The message we wish to convey is this, question EVERYTHING. For some corporations, ethics are simply a mission statement written on the corporate section of their website, without ever applying any ethics in their business model whatsoever. Our goal here is to educate, not in the sense of telling you what to take, but in telling you that everything is questionable unless proven otherwise.

The global market for Sports & Fitness Nutrition Supplements is projected to reach US$8.8 billion by 2020, driven by the rising consumption of dietary supplements. 

And that data sounds quite promising if you’re one of the big players in the dietary supplement industry. There’s a few possible deductions we can make from the staggering projections reaching US$8.8 billion.

  1. More people are turning to exercise than ever before,
  2. More people are turning to supplementation than ever before,
  3. More people want more, for less than ever before.

Let’s call number one false, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare numbers don’t lie. Almost 2 in 3 Australian adults were overweight or obese in 2014-15. That leaves us with statement 2 and 3, for which only one outcome is plausible. Instant gratification.

“I’ve been doing this for two days now, why am I not seeing results?”
“You haven’t been taking supplement XYZ”
Bang. Buy and use this.


We’re not going to delve into illegal supplementation covered by the World Anti-Doping Agency, such as testosterone and human growth hormone supplementation. We’ve already written about HGH, which you can read by clicking here.

There are numerous products marketed as “approved” by the US Food & Drug Administration that claim to boost testosterone or growth hormone production naturally. Ok, direct from the FDA website:

“The FDA doesn’t approve dietary supplements.
Unlike new drugs, dietary supplements are not reviewed and approved by FDA based on their safety and effectiveness.”

Yes, we’re in Australia and the FDA doesn’t regulate us, and there are supplements available in the US that are not available in Australia. But what makes you think the Australian Food Standards Code is much different? Most can just preface any claims with *possible in the smallest font you can find, and they're good to go. Remember our opening argument? Question everything?

Every. Single. Item. you consume has a chemical interaction in your body. And science hasn't fully established the interactions specific substances have in your body, nor are they any closer to understanding how certain substances interact with each other.

Instagram in particular accounts for a very large portion of the Fitness & Dietary Supplement platform used to reach this core marketing group. Either through overt advertising, or influencer marketing.

"That fitness chick you’re following, simply because you like looking at tits & ass, has, or is (potentially) selling you something. That fitness dude you’re following because he wears tight shorts and has a deep squat (hey, it’s 2018, no judgement) is also (potentially) selling you something."

We’re not passing judgement on those who plug supplements, we’re all for everyone getting ahead in this life, through one means or another.

We’re passing judgement on those corporations who profit from unsuspecting individuals by deception. Now don’t get the wrong idea, there are products out there, that actually work. They are backed by scientific literature and an excellent corporate structure. But there are also shady dealers out there who don’t really care, and are really good at marketing.

Believe it or not, and this applies to food packaging as much as it does to dietary supplements, down to the contents label, some are bullshitting you. Just for money.

There are at least 61 different names for sugar listed on food labels. Unless you’re a molecular scientist, there’s no chance you can name more than 10 of them. So what makes you think you’ve got the faintest clue about the dietary supplement you’re holding? We’ve already told you the FDA doesn’t review supplements based on safety and effectiveness. Even simple supplements like protein, don’t always have the listed percentages of protein contents as per their claim. Some brands do, some brands don’t. This simply comes down to how ethical the brand is.

“How to read a label” is actually curriculum in studies covering nutrition these days.”

And even when a product does contain exactly what it says it does. The scientific literature on the interactions of testosterone and growth hormone are often very much misunderstood by the average individual. 

“Testosterone supplementation acts via numerous mechanisms as a highly potent anabolic agent to skeletal muscle. Although growth hormone (GH) strongly affects collagen synthesis and lipolysis, as well as increasing lean body mass, it is not anabolic toward the contractile (ie, myofibrillar) muscle tissue in healthy individuals. However, there is a persistent belief, both in scientific literature and among recreational weightlifters, that exercise-induced release of GH and testosterone underpins muscular hypertrophy with resistance training. This is a premature assumption because although pharmacological GH supplementation can increase muscle strength or size in individuals with clinical GH deficiency, there is no evidence that transient exercise-induced changes in GH have the same effects in individuals with normal GH levels.” 

In conclusion, basics are the foundation to progress. Eat good food, follow a structured physical exercise program, rest & recover correctly and most importantly, sleep. Once all of those are the foundation to your daily routine, consider dietary supplements. You are solely responsible for your own welfare, and what you consume. Tread your own path, and make up your own mind in regards to your goals and your overall well-being. Again, most importantly, question everything. Unless you really enjoy creating expensive excrement.

Sources:

Sports Nutrition Supplements Market Trends. Strategyr Market Research

AIHW 2017. Impact of overweight and obesity as a risk factor for chronic conditions. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 11. Cat. no. BOD 12. Canberra: AIHW.

Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle: restoring the identities of growth hormone and testosterone. West DWPhillips SM.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm047470.htm 

Ng, S.W., Slining, M.M., & Popkin, B.M. (2012). Use of caloric and noncaloric sweeteners in US consumer packaged foods, 2005-2009. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics , 112(11), 1828-1834.e1821-1826.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, . (2004, November). How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/labelingnutrition/ucm274593.htm

Sigman-Grant, M., & Morita, J. (2003, October). Defining and interpreting intakes of sugars. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 78(4), 815S-826S. doi:PMID: 14522745

Food and Drug Administration, U.S. (2012, May 31). Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Experimental Study on Consumer Responses to Nutrition Facts Labels With Various Footnote Formats and Declaration of Amount of Added Sugars. Federal Register , 77, 32120-2. Retrieved from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-31/pdf/2012-13141.pdf

Johnson, R.K., Appel, L., Brands, M., Howard, B., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R., Sacks, F., Steffen, L., & Wyllie-Rosett, J. (2009, September 15). Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation , 120(11), 1011-20. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.192627. Retrieved from http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf

Australian Federal Register of Legislation: Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, health and related claims Latest – 13 Nov 2017 *Keynote regarding the Australian Food Standards Code. Every single source listed was quite easily obtained. However, the Australian Food Standards Code was buried under four different links, and had to be downloaded as a PDF. Following this, specific terms had to be searched to find the exact sub-clause containing, what should be, very basic information. It was, by far, the hardest information to find in order to form the basis of this article. Whether there is a reason for this or not remains to be seen, but for the sake of public well-being, such information should be made made easier to find, not harder.

 



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