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To take (or not to take) that supplement

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

To take (or not to take) that supplement

In the course of my work I am often asked about the value of sports supplements to those who train regularly in the gym.

One of my favourite books on the subject, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan, provides an excellent answer to this question by offering the suggestion that it is better to be the kind of person who takes such supplements, without actually doing so.

As Pollan argues in his book, we know from the research that those people who take supplements are generally healthier than those who do not and also that controlled studies appear to show that most of the common supplements taken today have little effect on health or fitness.

Pollan seeks to explain this conundrum by arguing that supplement takers are healthy for other reasons than taking the supplements in the first place; that they are typically more health conscious, usually better educated and more affluent, more likely to exercise and eat well during the course of their exercising.

Polland then goes on to suggest that if you can adopt the mindset of the kind of person who takes supplements you can get the same benefits from fitness training as they do, without having to spend money by taking supplements yourself.