Fitness & Fat Loss

Really Workout Supplements Lead to Eating Disorders?

Workout supplementsAccording to a recent reports published by various quarters, workout supplements may cause eating disorders in men. That one post referred these as “powdered supplements laced with protein” suggests that publishers of some of these news articles are either biased or not quite knowledgeable about nutritional supplements, particularly bodybuilding supplements:

Men who use powdered supplements laced with proteins to help bulk up are acting under psychological pressures that are similar to those found in people who have eating disorders, indicates the results of a new study. (See original post).

First, full disclosure: I’m a user and ardent believer in the benefits of bodybuilding supplements.

According to the above quote, “powdered supplements” are something good that have been turned into something evil through being laced with something that may not be good for you, protein. You know, more or less like brownies laced with hash oil. Not sure what is so wrong with so protein though.

This is not a review of the study itself, which I admit I have not yet read, but which I’m beginning to think is fundamentally flawed if the posts citing it are accurate. This is about the apparent bias against “workout supplements” in some of those articles citing that study.

For one, there is no such thing as a workout supplement per se. What may be referred to as such could be divided into three main categories:

1. Pre-workout supplements: Taken about 30 minutes before workout. May or may be not be contain protein as a major ingredient. Also, these may or may not contain stimulants.

2. Intra-workout supplements: Taken during workout. These are supposed to supply you with sustained energy during a workout session.

3. Post-workout supplements: Taken as soon as possible within one hour of completion of a workout session. These are supposed to “refuel” your body as well as prevent catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue).

Besides the above, sports and performance supplements come in so many varieties and are targeted toward equally diverse end goals. One research simply cannot give an accurate account of their effects as the articles appear to portray. Besides protein, which comes in different forms by itself, there are things like creatine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), glutamine, and nitric oxide, just to name a few.

According to the study, excessive use of “workout” supplements may cause eating disorders. These include increased use of the supplements (not a disorder according to my books), and replacement of meals with supplements.

As with virtually anything else, excessive use of nutritional supplements can be bad for you.

The research team found that 22 percent of the men replaced their regular diet with dietary supplements at times. However, the use of dietary supplements as replacement of regular diet is not recommended. (See original post)

This site has always maintained that supplements should be used as just that, supplements, and should not replace regular, healthy meals. Bodybuilders do use supplements to replace some of their additional meals (above and beyond breakfast, lunch, and dinner). But as in virtually every aspect of life, some people will try to find ways to cut corners.

This is mainly in order to get extra nutrients needed for muscle growth, without spending one’s life in the kitchen. Besides, there are certain nutrients and compounds that you cannot get sufficient amounts of from food alone.

The articles citing this study do not list which supplements were used for it. But the study as presented appears to be not only flawed but based on or initiated by a prejudice against bodybuilding supplements.

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