Nutritional supplements are quite often controversial and some might say for good reason. There are tens of thousands of them that are heavily marketed, yet only a few have been proven to work. in this post we will look at my recommendations for 6 supplement staples to include in my healthy eating tips to lose weight.
There are two major categories of nutritional supplements: essential nutrients and nonessential nutrients. Essential nutrients are nutrients present in food, that we need for our normal bodily functions, these nutrients must be ingested, since the body doesn’t have the capacity to make them itself. Essential nutrients include proteins/amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, some plant based nutrients may fall into this category too.
Nonessential nutrients are food-based nutrients that either the body can make itself, as long as your nutritional intake is adequate, or nutrients that aren’t needed for normal bodily function. this is quite a broad definition, which is why you will find far more nutritional supplements that fit into this category than the essential nutrient category
My 6 supplement staples are all essential nutrients, the thought process for me is that as these essential nutrients are present in food I should be able to reach my daily dietary requirements with good food choices, in an ideal world! Of course we don’t live in an ideal world, work commitments, a dislike of certain food types and a preference for one particular macronutrient over others might mean I may need a little help.
Essential nutrient supplements for regular and occasional use
Protein supplement Preferably a milk protein blend, although egg, rice, or other plant based protein supplements will work. Food equivalent Any dense protein food including meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, etc. Use, if protein needs are met with whole food protein, supplement use will be infrequent: If protein needs are not met, supplement use will be more frequent.
Fish oil supplement High omega-3 content: food equivalent Fatty fish such as salmon, anchovy, or sardines. Use, a lot of the fish supply contains environmental pollutants. As a result, fish oil supplements should be taken every day and fish intake should be reduced.
Greens supplement Green food blend high in antioxidants, strongly alkaline, and vitamin/mineral rich. Food equivalent vegetables, fruits. Use, When a vegetables or fruits are unavailable
Multivitamin and multimineral. Food equivalent varied diet. Use, It is widely thought that the ‘average’ western diet is deficient in several micronutrients, as a result it is recommended that multivitamins and multiminerals should be taken every day
Protein-carbohydrate (P+C) drink. Should contain a mixture of quickly digested, well tolerated protein and carbohydrate in a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 carbs:protein. Food equivalent Any protein and carbohydrate rich food. Use, to be used during high-intensity exercise sessions where performance increases are desired. Use during workouts only.
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) Food equivalent Any protein-rich food. Use, during high-intensity exercise sessions when fat loss and muscle/performance preservation is desired.
It’s a common misconception that it is necessary to down a workout drink during every session and a recovery shake soon after the workout is over, but in reality essential nutrients don’t have to be an all or nothing consideration. If your diet is good 80% of the time, then it might be that you only need nutrient supplements the other 20% of the time. However if you only do well for 20% of the time then you’ll need essential nutrient supplements for the other 80% of the time. In reality I would say that I only have part-time needs, I keep some supplemental protein, some supplemental greens, a multivitamin/multimineral and an essential fatty acid supplement around in the cupboard for hectic days, travel days or the dreaded ‘vacuum cleaner’ workout.
Please leave a comment below if you found this post useful or would like to know more essential nutrient supplementation.