Nutritional supplements will offer little health benefits unless users know what the best product is for their needs and the correct dosage. The $5.69 billion Australian supplement sector is so overcrowded that consumers struggle to know what the right supplements are.
There is no one-size-fits-all supplement to safely support improving your athletic performance in the gym or in your training, so even quantities come in to play.
Consumer ignorance on supplements
There’s a lot of ignorance about ingredients and their claims and it’s in our interests to educate consumers so they trust the products they are buying and have confidence they are buying high-grade products and with the right information to support their decision.
In an era when everyone can track and download their health data on smartphones to analyse their health and fitness, consumers should ask themselves what their goals are before spending money on nutritional supplements. Are you an elite athlete that needs gains for a specific athletic performance? Or are you a regular person just trying to get healthy?
These questions will help Australian consumers determine the right ingredients, what products to buy and the differences a supplement may make to them and their health goals.
People buying supplements may want to lose weight or see performance benefits, so it’s important they buy from a reputable outlet selling premium products, where they can seek qualified information about the supplements they buy – and the products do what they say.
Tips on buying supplements
What you need to know about buying supplements:
Buy from a reputable outlet
When buying supplements, you want the person selling you the products to know the role the ingredient will play in their training, their effects on their body and exactly when they should be ingesting the pill or powder. Just as your gym instructor should know how to get the best out of a training, the person selling the supplements should know about them.
Not all supplements are created equal
The supplement market is already overcrowded so shopping in-store or online for products can be overwhelming. Ask yourself what you need the product to do, know the percentage of the key ingredient to look for and make sure it’s the best form of that ingredient because brands vary. Ask questions before buying and the answers you receive, suit your purposes.
Know your powders
Powders are popular because they’re easy to add to shakes, coffee or even water.
Protein, superfood, collagen and green powders all claim health benefits from weight loss and muscle strength to boosting immunity and detoxifying the body naturally and to improving facial complexion. These powders can be expensive so choose a premium product, follow the dosage recommendations on the packaging and shop around to find the best price.
Avoid fillers and choose premium quality
Check the main ingredient is in the product. No two supplements are made equal.
Since supplements can be expensive, avoid products with fillers, artificial flavours or added sweeteners. Don’t stop asking questions even after you’ve established the ingredient you think you need and make sure you’re buying the right product for your purposes.
Use protein powders as a guide to supplement buying
Protein powders make up the largest share of protein supplements purchased in Australia so use them as a rule of thumb when buying your supplements. There are different proteins and they all do different things. Ask yourself why you want to add protein powder to your diet.
Are you trying to lose weight, build muscle, or just sneak in extra nutrients? An isolate protein powder is good before and after working out because your body will digest it faster, protein shakes are a health snack option and if trying to lose weight they can serve as a meal replacement and if trying to bulk up muscle mass, ‘casein’ is a slow digesting powder.
Consult a nutritionist or doctor
It’s best to take supplements with the advice of a doctor or dietitian, especially if you take medications on a regular basis. Until the industry collects more scientific evidence to support supplement efficacy, The onus is on consumers to research the right quantity and quality of ingredients to maximise the positive effects on their body, training and performance.
Paul Wigger is the CEO of online sport nutrition supplement company, Fatburners. The company specialises in pre-and post-work out powders with the purpose of enhancing energy and performance levels. Paul has a focus on high quality products for elite athletes. The 750 square warehouse e-commerce business provides free next day delivery.