Tafone: Supplements should be a minor addition to whole foods

By Phil Tafone

Guest Columnist

As I turn each page of my health magazine, I get bombarded with ads for protein supplements and fat burners. Just this one issue would have you convinced that 25 products are all the best (an impossible concept). Unfortunately, a great deal of dietary supplements are detrimental to our health.

The reality is that many of these items are not reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration until a certain amount of illnesses or fatalities occur. It is only then that an item gets pulled from the shelves.  As many of the students I have encountered are on campus with limited fresh foods, it is important to select the right packaged foods. Generally speaking avoid aspartame and review caffeine content in fat burners or “pre-workout” drinks. Remember that a large cup of coffee is typically 150 mg of caffeine an energy drink may be as high as 400mg. 300mg has been shown to be a safe amount to consume prior to exercise.

There is infinite information regarding how much protein a person needs, and the research is ongoing. In adherence with what I can legally recommend (I’m not a licensed dietician), the best advice I can give is to be aware of your daily caloric intake. If you are not working out, or primarily performing cardio workouts, be sure that protein is 20-25 percent of the calories you consume. If you are weight training in any way, that number can go as high as 33 percent to 40 percent. I believe strongly that we all have different bodes and need to log what works for us and what does not, and that organic whole foods are over the best choice over packaged ones. Having said that, I know we are all doing the best we can to get through hectic days and there are instances where something has to go in a back pack to be eaten later. Considering the amount of protein you are ingesting, when, and why, will give you the edge to get whatever you want from your body.

This week, if nothing else, I want you to be mindful of what foods are presented to you via magazines and online media. Consider what you are being told is a “finding” and how often a “new formula” is created. When you actually begin to log these things down you will that they are pitched to you so often that they could never be true. Every week exercise and dietary trends change.

You could actually make yourself dizzy with reading every magazine every month. The best thing to do is adhere to as much whole food as possible and remember that supplements are there to be minor additions to actual foods.

Phil Tafone is the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at Mesalands Community College. He can be reached for advice and inquires at PhilT@mesalands.edu

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