Protein Powder. Digestive Enzymes. Probiotics. How do you decide which health products you need (if any at all)?

October 04, 2017 Alexandra Rank

Strong girl

It's easy to be captivated by all of the different supplements on the market. Many products make appealing claims: proven to enhance fat burn, increase muscle tone, improve digestion, so on and so forth. Do you need these things to be your best self? How can you tell which products are truly beneficial, and which products simply make these claims without any evidence to back them?

Although I’m no dietitian, in the last few weeks I’ve taken an interest in some of these products and decided to look further into their possible effects. At the end of the day, it’s important to realize what it is you’re putting into your body, and what it is you want to get as a result.

Protein Powder

In general, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about protein powder. The average American consumes nearly twice as much protein as is recommended, according to the national health and nutrition examination survey.

Although the high-protein, low-carb diet has been trending for a while, consuming too much protein can backfire. Amy Jamieson, nutrition professor at Univerys of California, Santa Barbara, says that unless you are working out and lifting heavy weights on a daily basis, there is a large chance that you don’t need to be consuming excess protein.

On the other hand, Livestrong.com argues that adding protein shakes to your diet can be beneficial for weight loss as a meal replacement, however adding it to your regular diet without making fitness changes may result in fat gain.  

Digestive Enzymes 

In some cases, digestive enzymes have been shown to decrease bloating, and potentially aid in weight loss. Bariatric physician Amy Lee advocates the use of digestive enzymes, claiming that they help to break down preservatives that are oftentimes found in the food we eat.

On the other side, there are concerns that digestive enzymes may cause your body to become dependent on the supplement, preventing your body to digest food regularly.

In my own personal experience, digestive enzymes have helped with digestive problems and bloating.  However, it is probably a smart idea to do research on the different types of digestive enzymes and what they should be used for before committing to taking them regularly.  

Probiotics

The many benefits of taking probiotic supplements have recently been brought to my attention, and I’ve mentioned them briefly in previous blog posts. Probiotics are a great supplement to take if you suffer from dairy intolerance, and therefore have a hard time acquiring them through a regular diet. Probiotics are great for bowel and gut health, as well as urinary and vaginal health, according to the Washington Times. While probiotic supplements may seem like an easy fix for digestive health, there are many different strains and it is unsure as to how many of them have actually been tested and proven to be efficient. Most experts suggest that you find a probiotic containing at least ten strains of bacteria.  

These are only three different supplements that captivated my interest, and there are many other circulating the media that you may be tempted to try out.  Before committing to any new product, however, I would highly recommend you do you your research!  Knowing how and when to use supplements is essential for their success, and makes all the difference in you getting the results you want!   



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