Even without trying to lose weight, there’s no question any more about the importance/necessity for taking food grade vitamin/mineral supplements. The fact is the foods we’re supposed to be getting all our nutrients from are not anywhere near the same as what they used to be 30 years ago. Gmo foods, over-farmed soils and pesticides are creating produce with much less usable nutrients than what we used to be able to rely on for our vitamins. There are numerous fruits and vegetables that develop the majority of their vitamin/mineral content during the last 7-10 days of vine ripening. Unfortunately, unless you live on a farm and eat directly out of the garden, you get your produce from the super market. In order for fruits and vegetables to be fresh and last long enough for you to buy them from the store, they have to be picked well before this time. This means much of the produce we buy from grocery stores have finished their ripening process in dark crates or under fluorescent lights and never fully develop their full nutrient profile. Considering all of this, even if you are getting all 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, you should still take some kind of vitamin/mineral supplement to fill in the gaps your food may not be providing.
On a reduced calorie diet, the need for nutritional supplements is even greater. If your weight loss diet is properly balanced and correctly planned (which most are not), food is taken in smaller quantities while the exercise demand is considerably higher. As compared with normal (non-dieting) eating, a good weight loss nutritional program should contain much more vegetables as they are less calorie dense, cleanse the body and are supposed to provide the proper nutrients needed. While the greater volume of these foods should make up for vitamin deficient foods, the greater demand from increased exercise will cause the body to require more. Do not choose vitamin/mineral supplements based on price and go with the cheapest you find as these may not be the best for you. Do your research before buying and look for vitamin supplements that will be the most absorbable rather than affordable. The most absorbable vitamin supplements are colloidal (liquid) and/or as close to food sources as possible (minimal processing).
As important as good quality, absorbable multi-vitamin/mineral supplements are to your health, these products should be the baseline of every nutritional supplement program. They will not however make a noticeable difference in weight loss if they are the only supplements you’re taking. There are many other products designed specifically to help you lose weight and build healthy muscle. Like a good multi-vitamin, these must also be carefully chosen so you can get the best results possible for the cheapest price. When used correctly at the right times and for the right reasons, there are many nutritional supplements currently for sale that can help you achieve new levels of fitness and health very quickly no matter what your age is. When shopping, the number of different supplements available will keep your mind spinning; this market is huge and there are many good companies offering an astounding number of great products. However there is also an equally large number of ineffective junk products as well if you’re not careful. For simplicity reasons, you can categorize most weight loss nutritional supplements into three groups; macronutrient replacement, fat burners/energy pills and performance based products.
Macronutrient replacement type supplements are available as protein drinks and meal replacement powders. The goal of these nutritional supplements is to support your diet with more macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Meal replacement powders are a cheap and easy way to get excellent nutrition on the go in a very convenient way, a drink you can mix up and get down quickly on the go. These products make dieting much easier and tastier! Whey protein drinks and meal replacement powders are sweet, tasty, come in lots of interesting, delicious flavors and are excellent for satisfying the sweet tooth cravings everyone struggles with on a diet. For weight loss, protein drinks and meal replacement powders make it easier to get all the protein you need every day to keep you from losing muscle. When taken directly after a muscle building or strenuous workout, liquid protein drinks are the fastest and best way to get the nutrition you need for both growth and recovery.
If you’re not a breakfast eater, a tasty meal replacement protein drink can be easy to get down and an excellent way to get a good shot of vitamins with balanced, easy to absorb nutrition to start your day. These supplements are not expensive, especially when you consider they are replacing food, however cost-wise it equals out to about the same. Macronutrient replacement supplements can also be found as pocket sized, protein bars that are also very convenient. While these products are popular, they are harder to digest and will not absorb as quickly as liquid drinks. It can also be a struggle to find a protein meal replacement bar that’s tasty enough to want to eat it more than once. Compared to the flavor and ease of liquid protein meal replacement drinks, the bars are merely a back-up for most dieters.
Perhaps one of the most important supplements for weight loss are the fat burners. These are pills and/or powdered drink mixes designed specifically to help speed up your metabolism and target fat burning. They do work well however should be used in conjunction with rigorous exercise; in fact most of these products work best when taken directly before. Fat burner type supplements are also great for adding energy to your day. These products often have caffeine or natural substances such as herbs that cause a stimulatory effect. While macronutrient replacement supplements are deemed very safe for most people, fat burners should be looked at a little closer if you have a history of certain health conditions such as heart problems, etc. If you are prone to certain conditions that are sensitive to stimulants, you would be well advised to consult your medical doctor before taking a fat burner supplement. On that note, beware of asking any medical doctor about nutritional supplements, exercise or nutrition advice if they are not an athlete themselves. Overall, fat burners are helpful for weight loss, but very secondary to how much exercise you do and how good your nutrition is. If you’re hardly exercising and your diet is not dialed in for weight loss, fat burners will not do much for you. If your program is good and you’re exercising hard and regularly, fat burners can make a great difference.
Besides meal replacement powders and protein drinks the next most usable nutritional supplements are performance based. These products are powdered drink mixes to aid in your workouts. Performance supplements include pre-workout energy drinks that give you more energy for your training but also contain ingredients to help with other aspects. For example, some pre-workout drinks also help your muscles get a better pump and help them expand larger to make you bigger. Some pre-workout supplements are combined with fat burners and also ingredients for long term energy used best for endurance sports. Performance supplements also include drinks designed to be consumed during and after your workout. Intra-workout supplements are great for supplying your muscles with nutrients and amino acids while you train. These not only improve performance during the workout but also help you recover faster for the next set. Post-workout drinks are designed primarily to aid recovery and are perhaps the most valuable of all. These products are best consumed directly after training or right before bed and greatly aid the body in recovering faster and more completely.