Our monthly, episodical section, “By The Numbers” shows you in #44 if and where you can fill the gaps in your nutrition with supplements. Let’s see who comes out on top as we pit food vs supplements
Creatine – how much food to eat to reach the recommended 5g daily for muscular performance
Verdict: Your best bet is to supplement – WINNER : Creatine.
BCAA’s – How much food to hit your Leucine threshold for maximum muscle protein synthesis
6oz (US) / 170g (UK)
The amount of chicken, lean beef or fish to consume at a meal to reach the levels of BCAAs needed, specifically, Leucine (3g) for maximal muscle growth.
Recommended portions of oily fish per week by the American Heart Association to reach healthy levels of Omega 3s.
Omega 3 supplement capsules (depending on strength) required daily if you don’t eat oily fish.
The supplement industry worth
The global worth of the dietary supplement industry in US dollars.
Speed of digestion – Food vs Supplements
Digestion time of lean meat proteins
Digestion time of whey protein
Verdict – The Whey supplement is perfect post-workout or first thing upon waking.
Cost of protein – Food vs Supplements
cents for a serving of whey giving you 22g of protein.
cents for a serving of chicken give you the same amount of protein.
Verdict – Whey is the more cost effective option. Ideally, though, you want a mix of different sources of protein for their micronutrient benefits.
source : statista.com + bodybuilding.com
The amount of Americans who take a multivitamin supplement
Recommended amount of daily Vit D.
The estimated amount of the world deficient in Vitamin D.
Cod liver oil gives you 100% of your daily vitamin D requirement.
3oz / 85g
Oily fish gives you 100% of your daily vitamin D requirement.
Vitamin D available from Bodybuilding.com
after taking 5g of digestive enzymes with whey increased absorption by 100% vs whey alone.
grams of daily fiber recommended by the British Nutrition Foundation.
grams of fiber we actually eat on average.
Fiber in foods per 100g
Or top yourself up with fiber powder from Bodybuilding.com
Whey vs food for breakfast
Whey Protein group : Consumed a whey protein shake for breakfast
Eggs and tuna group : Ate an egg based or tuna based protein breakfast
Carbs group : Ate a breakfast high in starchy carbs
in 12 weeks…
weight lost by the whey protein group.
weight lost by the eggs or tuna breakfast group.
weight lost by the carbohydrate group.
source : The Endocrine Society
Conclusion : While supplements fair really well and sometimes, even better than food in some departments, they really are just to plug the gaps in an overall healthy nutritional plan. They’ll never contain the micronutrient profile of whole foods and although some come close, the sheer variety of nutrients we need can only be covered by a nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables. The wrong way to look at this debate is food vs supplements. Optimally, it should be “food AND supplements”