Published on November 7, 2023, 12:56 am
Are you putting in all the effort at the gym and eating a healthy diet, but still seeing the numbers on the scale go up? It turns out that some of the supplements you’re taking to boost your workouts might be to blame. According to diet experts, popular powders and potions that claim to make your muscles stronger can actually lead to unwanted weight gain.
Two of the main culprits are creatine, an amino acid that can be taken in capsule or powder form, and protein shakes. Dr. Shauna Levy, an expert in obesity medicine at Tulane University, explains that many protein powders and shakes contain added sugar, fat, and calories. This means that despite your efforts at the gym, these supplements could be contributing to weight gain rather than muscle growth.
But it’s not just these obvious offenders. Even seemingly virtuous supplements like Vitamin A can have a surprising impact on the scales. Taking certain dietary supplements regularly could result in a weight gain of up to 4 pounds per week.
In some cases, water retention caused by certain supplements can lead to initial shock as you see the numbers increase on the scale. However, this water retention usually resolves itself within a few weeks.
It’s important to note that dietary supplements are a booming industry worth over $160 billion. Almost four out of five Americans take some form of supplement daily for various reasons such as stress relief or better sleep. Creatine supplements alone have seen a surge in popularity over recent years with reports of annual sales exceeding $400 million.
Protein powders are often touted as beneficial for gaining lean muscle mass. However, when consumed in excess without a corresponding workout regimen to burn off those extra calories, they can contribute to weight gain instead.
Dr. Levy warns against blindly relying on protein content alone when choosing a supplement because other additives like sugars and artificial flavors can turn them into high-calorie milkshake-like drinks.
Additionally, studies have shown that excess vitamin A coupled with an unhealthy diet can lead to higher body weight and fat mass in rodents. While more research is needed to understand the effects of vitamin A in humans, experts advise caution when consuming daily doses beyond 3,000 micrograms.
In general, Dr. Levy suggests that most people don’t need supplements unless they are engaging in vigorous exercise for over 45 minutes to an hour every day. It’s possible to get the necessary nutrients through a well-rounded diet.
It’s essential to be mindful of the supplements you’re taking and to read labels carefully. Remember that maintaining a healthy weight involves a balanced approach that combines exercise, proper nutrition, and careful consideration of any additional substances you introduce into your routine.