Posts Tagged 'supplements'

Weight Loss 101: Cut the Nonsense and Get Back to Basics

Working in the Australian health and fitness industry, I find it quite concerning the amount of weight loss nonsense that gets promoted by many supposed ‘experts’. This often leaves the consumer frustrated, confused and lighter in the wallet.  So here are my updated and foolproof weight loss steps. Best of all they are not tainted by self-interest. I don’t have any supplements to sell you, don’t mind if you have a trainer already and couldn’t care less if you say thank you.

STEP 1: First throw out all the stupid diet books, pills and shakes that the fruitcake Naturopath / Clinical Nutritionist / Nutritional Medicine hippie at the health food store sold you. Also, unless you are pregnant or have a specific medical issue it is unlikely that you need to take vitamin or mineral supplements. And incase you are wondering, this includes the Juice Plus+ supplement you were tricked into buying for you and your family.

STEP 2: Ignore anyone spruiking a very restrictive diet regime. These people are often found at your local gym where they preach the supposed benefits of their latest diet. Their enthusiasm for their regime ebbs and flows, depending on how convinced they are that they have found the silver bullet they were looking for. Unfortunately much like Santa the silver bullet does not exist.

STEP 3: Start keeping a food diary until you get your diet under control. Write down everything that goes in your mouth, if it is food or drink it has to be written down.  Make sure you write down everything you consume as you do it. If you wait to the end of the day you WILL forget or underestimate how much you had.

STEP 4: Examine your food diary and aim to improve your diet gradually. Eating well isn’t hard but it takes a little commitment. Start by reducing portion sizes, increasing fruit and vegetables, cutting out high sugar/ high fat foods, reducing alcohol consumption and drinking more water. If you are unsure how to go about healthy eating and need some specific guidelines see the Federal Government’s Healthy Eating website.

STEP 5: Get off your butt and get moving! It doesn’t matter what you do, the best exercise is one that you enjoy and will keep doing in the long run. Start slowly and gradually increase the frequency and intensity of your exercise sessions.  If you have not been physically active recently or have any health conditions I recommend you consult your doctor first.

Best of luck and let me know how you go!

– Chris Vavakis

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Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Health Necessity or Nonsense?

Supplement companies, naturopaths and many personal trainers often aim to have you believe that if your not supplementing your diet with vitamin and mineral pills, you are being irresponsible with your health.

What is the reality and what is just marketing spin? 

Research has shown that it is best to get vitamins and minerals from eating a wide variety of healthy unprocessed foods.  This is because the vitamins and minerals you obtain from food are generally better than those in pills. This is despite supplements being synthesized to the exact chemical composition of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. It is thought that this is because the vitamins and minerals in foods are also influenced by other components of the food. A key exception to this is the vitamin folate, which is better absorbed by the body when part of a fortified food or supplement.

Are supplements safe?

Vitamin and mineral supplements can be toxic when taken in high doses. Examples include fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, which can be stored by the body and some water-soluble vitamins including B6. Taken in excess these vitamins can build up to toxic levels and cause serious health issues. Minerals can also cause toxic effects, and at just five times the RDI (recommended dietary intake), zinc, iron, chromium and selenium can be raised to dangerous levels in the body.

Multi-vitamin and mineral supplements

The evidence suggests that there is little risk, but also little benefit in taking a broad-spectrum multi vitamin and mineral pill for most people. However, there are specific cases where the supplementation of certain vitamins and or minerals may be beneficial. Examples of such cases include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, some vegetarians, heavy alcohol consumers, drug users and the elderly.

Feeling tired, stressed? You’ll feel better…

For most of us vitamin and mineral supplementation is simply not necessary. So next time your feeling tired or stressed you should probably look at your diet, lifestyle and physical activity levels.

If you require more information on supplements please seek the advice of your Doctor or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.


Should I Supplement with Creatine?

Lately i’ve been getting a lot of questions from clients about creatine supplementation and the potential benefits for bodybuilders and recreational weight trainers. Creatine is certainly one of the most popular supplements around, attracting a ton of hype and plenty of misinformation.

So, I thought it was time to get the information from the most reliable source and had a look at Sports Dieticians Australia’s (SDA) website. It turns out they have produced a great fact sheet on the topic, so just follow the link below. This will allow you to make a decision about creatine supplementation based on reliable scientific evidence.

If you would like clarification on anything creatine related feel free to contact me or  SDA direct.

Creatine supplementation and sports performance – Fact sheet

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