Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ranking the best green superfood drinks of 2017

Green superfood powder drinks are on the rise.

People are consuming green drinks to lose weight, increase energy, boost mood and improve the immune system.

It’s no secret that eating vegetables is a simple and easy way to achieve all four of those goals and more. But eating 10+ vegetable servings per day is tough, especially for on-the-go lifestyles.

That’s where green powders come in. Think: nutritional insurance

1. Garden of Life Raw Organic Perfect Food

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“Perfect” might be a stretch, but Garden of Life’s green drink is pretty darn good. Garden of Life is known for providing vitamin and mineral supplements that use superfood extracts as a base, so green drinks are definitely home turf for them. With their Perfect Food supplement, the company flexes its superfood muscle: name a superfood, and it’s probably in this blend.

Tart cherry, chia seed sprouts, ginger, garlic, spinach extract – it’s got them all. The blend is a little weak on the fiber and protein side of things, but that’s not the purpose of the powder, in this case. If you’ve got the rest of your macronutrient bases covered, Garden of Life is a clear winner when it comes to the fruit and veggie category.

2. Natrogix Green Superfood Powder

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As far as a product that does it all, Natrogix is about as close as it comes. Its superfood blend is robust, inclusive, and comes at a high concentration.

On top of that, the product is fully one-quarter dietary fiber by weight (thanks to the psyllium husk included) and it includes a well-studied probiotic, lactobacillus acidophilus, to aid with digestion. Aside from being flavored with Stevia (if that even matters for you), it’s hard to find many flaws in Natrogix.

3. Amazing Grass Green Superfood The Original

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Amazing Grass has several popular variants of green drink superfoods, but the original is still the best. The dual-pronged approach from Amazing Grass consists of a blend of green grasses for overall health and special anti-oxidant extracts to fight inflammation and markers of chronic disease.

The green grass blend includes wheat grass, barley, spinach, spirulina, alfalfa, and broccoli, among others; these total almost six grams per serving.

The antioxidant blend is a little weaker, with some strong antioxidants like acerola cherry, acai berry, and green tea extract, but it doesn’t contain the same high-powered fruit and vegetable combo as some of the other green drinks out there.

4. Nested Super Greens

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Nested Greens is strong in the vegetable department, a bit lacking when it comes to fruits, but is definitely a category leader when it comes to probiotic content.

You’ve got your typical green ingredients, but one thing this supplement features that many others do not is a blend of six different probiotic bacteria cultures to jump-start your gastrointestinal health. Monk fruit extract acts as a natural sweetener, and a fiber blend helps keep the dietary fiber content respectable.

5. Peak Performance Delicious Green Superfood

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From the title alone, you can tell that Peak Performance is trying to fight one of the biggest stereotypes about green drinks: they don’t taste very good.

Their green drink powder is strong across all ingredient categories; it’s got the greens you’d expect to see, like kale, spinach, spirulina, and wheatgrass, alongside anti-inflammatories like blueberry, green tea, grape skin, and turmeric. The only real drawbacks (for some, at least) are that it’s flavored with Stevia and “organic flavors,” another word for natural flavoring.

6. Orgain Organic Superfoods

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Orgain delivers a very solid vegetable-heavy product that supplies a hefty serving of fiber, too. With plenty of green grasses and sprouts, you’ll definitely get your green vegetable micronutrients, and on top of that, there are seven grams of fiber per serving (your recommended daily intake is 25-30 grams).

Orgain is a little weak on the fruit and berry side of things, and it does incorporate several natural flavorings, so if you’re not a fan of those, it might impact your choice. Orgain includes a probiotic, Bacillus subtilis, but it seems more of an afterthought than anything else.

7. Organic LivFit Superfood Blend

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LivFit Superfood Blend is something of a hybrid: it’s not the best green drink out there, but that’s not its goal. The purpose of this supplement is to throw in some greens along with a more traditional protein supplement.

If this is what you are looking for, it does a fantastic job. In every 12 gram serving, fully half the mass is protein (derived from pea and hemp protein). The rest is made up of the superfood blend, which is lacking in the completeness department. For “protein plus” supplements, this one is a winner, but if all you want is the superfoods, you can definitely do better.

8. Jarrow Formulas Green Defense

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Most superfood powder throw in everything but the kitchen sink. In many ways, that’s the idea–get the biggest variety of fruits and vegetables possible, and hope that the exposure to a wide range of foods is what’s optimal for health.

Jarrow Formulas’ approach is a little different; their green drink has fewer ingredients, but they are more targeted. Each of them is a pretty well-known antioxidant or superfood, and it includes some stronger herbal extracts like ginkgo biloba and resveratrol that you might not find in other competitors.

Is the precision approach right for you? If you get a good range of fruits and vegetables in your diet already, then yes.

9. Parker Naturals Berry SuperFood

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Parker Naturals sells a popular green food drink, but when you analyze the ingredients, it’s pretty mediocre. There aren’t that many different ingredients, which means it’s exposing your body to a less extensive range of fruits and vegetables.

In addition, the superfoods that are chosen aren’t always the cream of the crop. It’s got natural flavorings in it, and is sweetened with monk fruit extract, a natural non-caloric sweetener. These are also drawbacks if you have strict purity requirements from your green drink product.

10. Hawaiian Spirulina Green Complete

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Hawaiian Spirulina dubs itself “complete,” but one glance at the ingredients tells you it’s far from it. Really this is more of a spirulina supplement, with a few other greens thrown in for good measure.

The number of green ingredients and fruits and berries is pretty small, and though it includes a probiotic, it’s not a well-studied one that’s been associated with good gut health.

Green superfood drink benefits and side effects

Here are 24 green powder ‘truths’ that should help you choosing your next green superfood cocktail:

1. Green Foods Are Full Of Phytonutrients

Green foods are more than the classic calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

They’re packed with carotenoids, antioxidantsamino acids, fiber, enzymes, vitamins and minerals.

These nutrients that fall outside the box of most bioscience or online advice are known to researchers as phytonutrients. As a whole, these phytonutrients have no recommended daily values- some haven’t even been isolated and discovered yet.

But research shows that phytonutrients actually decrease diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and certain autoimmune conditions (1).

It’s the rainbow effect, where all the different chemicals in green foods actually work together much more effectively than they do in isolation.

2. Green Foods Can Triple Your Energy

All over the world men and women are complaining that they have no energy, feel exhausted, and have no clue what to do.

Many doctors are stumped, too.

Luckily, green foods pack in micronutrients in a way that is easily absorbed by the body to correct this issue according to the Journal of International Medical Research (2).

Researchers discovered that because of the typical American diet, low in plant-based foods, many men and women are low in micronutrients (3).

We may only need trace amounts of these nutrients, but they’re necessary for top-notch health and energy. 

3. With Over 10 Veggies A Day You Don’t Need A Green Powder

Green foods are convenient because you can mix them with water or take them in a capsule to ensure you get in enough greens.

There are some out there that don’t need green foods. If you already eat 10 or more servings of vegetables a day you don’t need to take are green food supplement on top of that (4).

The main idea is that once you hit 10 vegetables (and other superfoods) a day it’s redundant to add in a green powder supplement.  You’ve already got your veggies covered and that money can be better spent on different supplements to complement your diet.

4. Don’t Miss Out on Fat Soluble Nutrients

Green foods are famously low in calories because they don’t have much fat, protein, or carbohydrates.

That’s part of the reason we love them.  However, in the world of nutrition, there are two types of nutrients…

Water-soluble nutrients and fat-soluble nutrients.

Green foods actually have both, although they don’t have much fat.  This means you can miss out on vitamins A, E, and K if you don’t consume your green powders with a fat or you should take formulations that have bipolar, or amphipathic, compounds (5).  These compounds bind to water AND fat to boost absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
It’s a win-win.

So, when you’re shopping around for a green powder look on the label for lecithin or phosphatidylcholine.  These are two popular common bipolar compounds you’re likely to find in green powder blends (6).

The other option is to take your green powders with a teaspoon of coconut oil to boost absorption as well (7).

5. Chlorella In Green Powders Boosts Immune Function

Chlorella, a common addition to green powders, is best known as a detoxifier.

Basically, because it’s tiny and has a high surface area it can cling onto heavy metals and other impurities moving around your body.  The most common way chlorella is taken for this effect is over time, not to remove all heavy metals in the body at once, but do so bit by bit over time.

Research on mice being fed lead showed that this piecemeal approach helped to prevent lead poisoning (8).

As for human research, we can’t just feed people lead and chlorella and see what happens.  For some reason that’s generally frowned upon.

But supplementing with chlorella has been seen to enhance the immune system in patients in as few as 8 weeks of supplementing (9).  Even though the detoxification benefits of chlorella are seen in mice so far, the immune function benefits in humans are real and significant.

6. Spirulina In Green Powders Increases Satiety

Spirulina is similar to chlorella but packs much more protein.

In fact, spirulina is 60% protein by weight making it the most protein-packed food on the face of the Earth (10).

Research has shown that similar to chlorella, spirulina can assist in heavy metal detoxification (11).  But again, those benefits are only tested in mice.

Luckily, when people eat spirulina they do see fat loss results (12).  It seems that spirulina works to increase satiety from its high protein content and its impressive nutritional profile making it a great snack or morning boost.

7. Kelp In Green Powders Boosts Metabolism

Kelp is another common green addition to green powders, best known as a natural source of iodine.

Typically, if you don’t regularly eat seafood you’re missing out on iodine.  While you can cook with iodine-enriched salts, those tend to quickly lose iodine during the cooking process (13).  To add in a bioavailable source of iodine to keep your metabolism on track and keep your thyroid running in tip-top shape kelp is your go to.  One recent Russian study gave a kelp extract to patients and saw a significant 10-pound reduction in fat over 12 weeks because the kelp seemed to increase their resting metabolic rate (14).

8. Barley Grass In Green Powders Lowers Cholesterol

Barley grass is another popular green food component and is most popular for lowering your cholesterol by improving fat metabolism (15).

Regularly consuming barley grass in a green foods supplement ends up offering protection against heart disease through two mechanisms.  First, with your total cholesterol lowered you’re less likely to have your cholesterol oxidized, get all sticky, and form plaque.

Second, barley grass is a potent antioxidant, meaning that it can help prevent or repair oxidative stress before cholesterol forms plaques in your body in the first place.

Not to mention that antioxidants are associated with younger, softer wrinkle-free skin so you end up looking better AND living longer (16)!

9. Wheatgrass Is Rich In Satiating Chlorophyll

While many claims about wheatgrass may be exaggerated due to its popularity, there is some merit to using a green food supplement containing wheatgrass (17).  The main benefit is that wheatgrass is high in chlorophyll, the chemical that makes plants green.

One big benefit from consuming chlorophyll, amongst many, are that it helps to suppress appetite.  One study showed that chlorophyll amplified feelings of satiety to cut down on overeating for 20 obese women (18).

Additionally, chlorophyll is seen to boost recovery from injury from infection to keep your immune system going strong and dramatically cut down on sick days (19).

10. Alfalfa In Green Powders Helps Heal Your Digestive Tract

Alfalfa, the grass not the Little Rascal, is an excellent addition to a green powder supplement.

Not only is alfalfa a nutritional powerhouse just as wheatgrass, spirulina, and chlorella, but also alfalfa has been used successfully to treat upset stomachs anecdotally.

Alfalfa is seen to increase the number of digestive enzymes we pump out to improve digestion of our food (20).  This in combination with the unique blend of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and vitamin C in alfalfa sheds some light on more of the anti-aging and longevity benefits from regularly consuming alfalfa.

11. Green Powders Are Super Convenient To Take

One of the biggest benefits of consuming a green powder is that it’s simple. 

If you had to choose between drinking a glass of water or chowing down on 10 vegetables, which would you pick?

Having a green powder makes it simple to significantly increase your nutrient intake without all the cooking, planning, and prep typically involved making it a simple and easy way to go if you’re looking to lose weight, build muscle, and amplify your energy.

12. Alkalizing Claims Of Green Powders are Nonsense

It’s true, the alkalizing benefits, which sell many green powders, aren’t as “scientific” as they claim to be.

First off, what starts off as alkaline on your plate may not end up as alkaline when you absorb it.  One study looked at athletes taking alkaline supplements to change the pH of their blood and increase their exercise performance ( by boosting lactic acid threshold) (21).  The results were minimal at best because blood pH is tightly regulated and not something you can easily change with a supplement taken once a day.

A deeper review of alkaline diets and the research behind them shows that the alkaline promises are just covering up the nutrition basics of having more fruits and veggies in your diet (22).  So, while the promises of alkalizing your blood are all hype, there are real benefits to gain from eating more vegetables.

13. Alkaline diets are associated with more lean muscle mass

While alkaline diets are hyped up, the plant-based foods they promote do have a few benefits such as increasing magnesium, improving potassium levels, and increasing growth hormone (23).

One study showed that patients with chronic lower back pain fed an alkalizing diet saw less lower back pain after 4 weeks (24).

The best is that green powders can help you maintain or even build more lean body mass.  One study looked specifically at muscle wasting and showed that simply increasing potassium intake in over 363 men and women resulted in significantly more lean body mass compared to the placebo group taking a sugar pill (25).

14. Not a substitute for real veggies

While green powders are convenient and packed with health benefits, they are still not the real deal.

Even with the best ingredients, green powders are processed causing a loss in water, fiber, and nutrients pulling out some of the benefits found in vegetable consumption.

For example, vegetables can work synergistically to boost antioxidant activity in their whole unprocessed form but these same benefits are not seen in green food powders (26).

15. Green Powders Are Ideal For Fat Loss

A new study came out linking vegetable consumption with fat loss (27).  The key here is that by providing micronutrients and other often overlooked nutrients feeds the body on a cellular level to provide satiety and fight cravings.

The result? Simple and effective fat loss.

16. Green Powders Are Not A Meal Replacement

Green powders are not meal replacement shakes.  These supplements may pack a nutritional wallop, but they are super low in calories.  This makes it simple to develop poor eating habits by using green powders to replace solid foods in the hope of radical fat loss.

While green powders can help jump start your morning or pick you up in the afternoon it is still key to consume enough calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to encourage maintenance, growth, and repair.  Otherwise, your immune system, muscle recovery, and organ systems won’t be functioning optimally.

17. Be Careful Of Heavy Metal Contamination in Green Powders

As with many supplements, you have to keep your eye out for poor-quality formulations.

Unfortunately, along the path to making a supplement, there may be contamination with heavy metals.  Most notably, there is lead, cadmium, and arsenic (28). 

18. Green Powders May Have Low Amounts Of Promised Vegetables

Another pitfall of green food supplements is the number of ingredients.

While it may seem amazing to offer a variety of green, some labels boasting dozens of vegetables, this may be misleading.

While companies have to report what goes into their formulations, they don’t have to post how much goes into their formulations.  The rule is that the ingredients are listed in order of amount used.  Now, with numerous ingredients, companies can use small amounts to say they use an ingredient BUT it may not be enough to make a difference in your health.

This one is tough to figure out for yourself because you’ll have to do your research into whichever green food supplement you select.  For the most part, using a brand with many testimonials that show results is your best bet.

19. Herbal Extracts In Green Foods May Have Side Effects

There seem to be more and more green food supplements these days adding in herbal ingredients to their formulations.

Now, I love herbal extracts but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it is safe.  Many herbs out there can help with weight loss and improving your health but can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

The issue is that many men and women don’t consider herbal extracts as medicine they take even though it can interfere with other medications they are prescribed.  This can lead to further health complications and may even kill you.

20. Green Powders With Probiotics Have Long-Reaching Health Benefits

Another trend in green powder supplements is to include probiotics.

Having them in a green powder basically kills two birds with one stone.

By adding in probiotics you fuel the “good” gut bacteria you have that has long-reaching health effects from making you feel happier, increasing satiety, and boosting your immune system (29).

21. Prebiotics In Green Powders Triple The Efficacy Of Probiotics

Along with probiotics, green food powders come with prebiotics too.

Essentially, prebiotics are the food that probiotic bacteria eat.  It makes sense that you want your probiotics to eat the best and stay the healthiest to make them even stronger and more productive in your gut, right?

In your gut the same story is playing out.  Without prebiotics to feed your “good” bacteria, the “bad” bacteria can start growing stronger and overpowering that “good” bacteria.

Don’t worry though, if your green powder doesn’t have prebiotics then make sure you get enough, around 35 grams, of fiber a day.  That’s what your good bacteria thrives on.

22. Probiotics in Green Powders May Be Already Dead

If you know anything about probiotics, know this:

Probiotics are only beneficial if they’re still alive (30).

Otherwise, they won’t be able to carry on and prosper inside your gut.  Unfortunately, many green food supplements are not typically refrigerated or handled as carefully as probiotic supplements are causing many of the probiotics to die before you can start taking your green powder (31).

So, it may be beneficial to take a separate probiotic supplement aside from your green powder supplement to make sure you’re getting those probiotic benefits.

23. ORAC Scores Of Green Powders May Be Misleading

A big advertising promise of many green foods companies is the ORAC score, or the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.  Basically, this is a number to express how well a nutrient can fight oxidative stress.  The same type of stress that causes wrinkles, aging, inflammation, and disease (32).

The issue here is that ORAC may not be the best measure for antioxidants and you may be misled by companies using their green supplements ORAC scores to persuade you to buy.

The issue is that ORAC scores are calculated in vitro or in a test tube environment.

Since the body is much much more complex ORAC scores in the test tube might not represent what actually happens once a green powder goes down the hatch.

A great example of this is the Vitamin E Paradox.  The paradox is that vitamin E is actually a strong antioxidant BUT it has a surprisingly low ORAC score (33).  The bottom line is that while science and research do the best they can, they can’t predict exactly how a supplement is going to work in your body.

Again, it’s for the best to actually try out or get feedback from real people to discover what brands actually work.

24. Green Powders Can Interfere With Recovery

Antioxidants are a double-edged sword in the world of recovery and muscle growth.

If you take antioxidants too quickly after a workout, you can actually blunt the oxidation and inflammation that follows.  That may sound ideal, but your body needs that oxidative stress to signal that you need to come back stronger, faster, and more enduring than before (34).

On the other hand, if you’re sore the next day after a workout then sipping on green powders will provide many of the essential antioxidants and nutrients you need to support immune function to overcompensate and build larger muscles to come back stronger next workout.

Recap

Green powders are great to start your day and can be argued as one of the more “justified” supplements since most people do not consume enough vegetables.

Adding a green powder superdrink to your daily regime is a great way to hedge a healthy, on-the-go lifestyle.


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Ranking the best testosterone boosters of 2017

Testosterone boosters are helpful for most men over 30 who want more strength, energy and libido.

Testosterone is the granddaddy of all “hormones” and the dictator that runs all other hormones. In men, more testosterone can help with adding lean muscle and increasing sex life.

In the last 20 years alone, a man’s average testosterone levels have plummeted by 25% across all ages (1). That means that a 30 year old man in 1986 had significantly higher testosterone levels than a 30 year old man in 1996…

With each decade we’re producing less testosterone. It’s as if men are becoming less manly. And as we see this fall of man, this emasculation, we’re seeing increased obesity, heart disease, depression, and a host of other ailments rise in relation to it.

Enter testosterone boosting supplements. With promises of effortless testosterone boosting, it seems like a great solution to this continuously escalating problem.

1. EVLTest

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EVLTest attacks all the possible nutritional causes of low testosterone: it provides vitamin D, vitamin B, and zinc–deficiencies in all of these are associated with low testosterone in men.

The doses of these vitamins are very solid; unlike other supplements that put in a token amount of vitamins, EVLTest provides 40-550% of your recommended daily intake. On top of this, it supplies the full array supplements that have a promising record of increasing testosterone: fenugreek seed extract, tribulus terrestris, and D-aspartic acid.

Diindolylmethane is included, too, though its record is a little less definite. EVLTest delivers all of these at a high dosage, so whatever is biologically active is going to be present in a high enough concentration to do its job.

2. Nugenix

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There are a few token vitamins included, but it’s clear that the focus of the supplement is in the Nugenix proprietary approach.

Nugenix includes L-citrulline malate, which is not common in other testosterone boosting supplements. It’s an amino acid that plays an important role in blood flow, which is probably why Nugenix includes it. You might be wondering why bloodflow matters when it comes to a male supplement, but once you realize that erectile dysfunction is, fundamentally, a blood flow problem, the logic becomes a lot more clear.

Nugenix also includes the mainstays: a patented fenugreek extract and tribulus terrestris, so it’s not just a narrow, libido-focused product.

3. Vintage Boost

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Vintage Boost is styled like an old-school ‘70s product, but don’t let that fool you–it’s got the latest in herbal and vitamin supplements to keep your testosterone levels high.

One thing Vintage Boost recognizes that many other supplement makers don’t is that many men are extremely deficient in vitamin D, especially those who live in northern climates or have darker skin. To this end, Vintage Boost delivers a whopping 2000 IU of vitamin D, plus the other essentials for testosterone (magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B6). It’s not just a vitamin pill, though: it’s got tribulus fruit, maca root, D-aspartic acid, and PrimaVie, a proprietary herbal extract.

If you know you’ve got some dietary and lifestyle shortcomings that are lowering your testosterone levels, Vintage Boost is a good choice for you.

4. MuscleTech AlphaTest

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AlphaTest is a chiefly herbal blend that focuses on some of the most-proven testosterone boosters. The supplement includes zinc, a solid 300 mg of fenugreek extract, and tribulus terrestris.

As far as mainstays of herbal and mineral supplements that are thought to boost testosterone levels, these are pretty much the top three. If it was the perfect formula, it might have magnesium, some B vitamins, or vitamin D, but making a multivitamin isn’t MuscleTech’s intent.

It’s a great product if you’ve already got a solid diet or supplementation routine that addresses those other more basic shortcomings that can cause low testosterone.

5. TestoBoost

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TestoBoost has been around for several years now, and it’s picked up some big fans who happen to be professional athletes. How does it stack up?

It delivers a dual strategy approach: fight any possible mineral shortages with zinc and magnesium, plus add in several mainstay herbal supplements associated with testosterone, muscle building, libido, and energy. These include saw palmetto, horny goat weed, longjack, and tribulus terrestris, among others.

Does it work? Reviewers seem to think so. Users praise their increased libido, workout performance, and energy levels.

6. Superior Labs TestWorx

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TestWorx is a market-dominator, and it focuses on a few specific ingredients to boost testosterone. Nutritionally, it provides heavy doses of vitamins B3, B6, and B12. All of these can be culprits if you have low testosterone. TestWorx addresses zinc levels, too, though it doesn’t address another potential cause of low testosterone and the associated symptoms: vitamin D deficiency.

If you live somewhere sunny or if you supplement your own vitamin D, no worries here. The TestWorx proprietary blend includes tribulus terrestris, maca root, nettle root, and other herbal extracts intended to boost testosterone, but one notable absence is fenugreek seed. Fans of that herbal extract will want to look elsewhere.

7. Zhou Boost Elite

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As the name indicate, Zhou Boost Elite takes a decidedly Eastern tack when it comes to addressing low testosterone. Some standard supplements are present, like fenugreek and tribulus terrestris, but several Asian herbs play a role in the Zhou formulation too: panax ginseng, tongkat ali, and yohimbe bark are the big ones.

Now…do they work? That’s unclear. Western science hasn’t really put them to the test (pardon the pun), so you’ll have to trust the herbal wisdom of Zhou Nutrition. Plenty of people do; the product is very well-reviewed.

8. Athletic Edge APE Darknight

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In every supplement category, there’s a couple products that take a “kitchen sink” approach: pack everything that could possibly help boost testosterone into one product and see what sticks. That’s the approach with Athletic Edge APE Darknight.

It’s got everything you’d expect, and then some: Yes, fenugreek and diindolylmethane, but also green tea extract, green coffee bean extract, long jack, and melatonin. That last one is important: do not take this one any time other than right before bed! Otherwise you’ll get very sleepy very quick.

9. Androsurge

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Androsurge, along with its sibling supplement Primasurge, are perennially popular testosterone boosters. On the surface, they seem pretty similar, but Androsurge is the better one.

It provides vitamin D and zinc, while Primasurge does not. While these are pretty basic, if you have deficiencies in either, you’re almost surely going to have lower testosterone (and deficiency is more common than you think!). In addition, Primasurge caters to fans of more obscure herbal remedies, while Androsurge has some better-established ones, like diindolylmethane. It’s still missing some of the big hitters, like tribulus terrestris and fenugreek, though.

10. Prime Labs Prime Test

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This one’s the epitome of “trust us, we know what we’re doing.” The entire supplement is couched under the umbrella of “proprietary blend.” What this means for you is that you can see what the ingredients are, but you don’t get to know in what amounts they are present.

It also doesn’t have some of the usual herbs you’d see in a testosterone booster, like tribulus terrestris and fenugreek extract. Again, you’ll have to trust the nutritionists at Prime Labs instead. Do you? That’s the question you’ve got to answer before you go for this testosterone booster.

17 truths about increasing natural testosterone

1. Calcium helps increase “free testosterone” post workout

Calcium is one of the most important minerals in the human body.

The primary reason all men should maintain optimal calcium levels has to do with how our cells work. Adequate calcium intake helps keep cell walls strong defining what goes into and stays out of the cell (which is very important because you don’t want unfiltered chemicals floating around in your cells)

Cells aside, calcium also appears to have fantastic testosterone boosting properties. In a 2008 study, a group of researchers saw that when exercising men take 35mg/kg of calcium after training, their free and total testosterone levels increased (2).

2. Low Magnesium levels are correlated with low T levels

Magnesium is a key mineral participating in over 300 bodily functions. We need adequate magnesium for proper sleep, cell energy (via ATP) and to maintain natural fluid balance.

It’s no surprise then that it plays an important role in determining testosterone levels in men.

2 studies showed that low levels of magnesium were strongly correlated with low testosterone levels and production (3)(4). Thus it’s imperative you are taking a testosterone booster that has magnesium.

3. Mucuna Pruriens can improve sperm quality and boost T levels by up to 38%

Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean) is a vine herb that produces these beans commonly ground up and used for medicinal purposes in the Indian herbal medicine, Ayurveda.

Mucuna pruriens contain L-dopa which quickly converts to dopamine (the reward hormone) in your body (5). One way dopamine helps to increase T levels by suppressing prolactin (6).

In human studies however the results are even better. In one study it was shown to dramatically improve sperm quality and boost testosterone levels by 38% (7). It also has been shown to aid in reducing cortisol, which is another enemy to testosterone production.

A dosage of 200-600mg/day of water extract M.P. is recommended. I’ll usually just dissolve the extract powder into liquids because it doesn’t clump and tastes fine.

4. Tribulus Terrestris is popular and fails to increase testosterone levels

Tribulus Terrestris is arguably the most popular testosterone herb on the market. It’s claimed that tribulus increases luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, and thus naturally enhances T production. However no science in humans actually proves this. Not saying it doesn’t, but the science doesn’t support the claim.

In animal studies it has failed over and over again to increase T levels (8) (9).

The poster boy study that everyone cites is also misleading. While in the study it did show an increase in LH and T, it is often left out that 1) the study was done with baboons 2) testosterone was injected intravenously 3) the effects wore off shortly after.

5. Maca

Maca is, after Tribulus Terrestris, is probably the second most-popular testosterone booster.

It doesn’t seem to be effective in those regards either. Several studies have found that Maca does nothing for LH, testosterone, or FSH levels (10) (11).

6. KSM-99 Ashwagandha reduces stress, anxiety and balances stress hormones

“Ashwagandha” loosely translates to “the smell of horse”. Ashwagandha is often grouped into the class of supplements known as adaptogens.

These supplements have adaptogenic effects, meaning that they help the body regain homeostasis.

In one study, 300mg of ashwagandha consumed by humans over a 60 day period led to a decrease in cortisol levels by 27% (12).

In another study it was shown to improve cardiovascular health and boost immunity based on its effects on T cells and killer cell count increases (13). Furthermore, it has even been shown to increase muscular strength and recovery in 57 subjects (14).

Prior to 2015 there were no studies proving healthy men would receive an increase in testosterone from the supplement.

A study with 57 young healthy male subjects proved its efficacy when KSM-66 demonstrated the herb raised testosterone levels from 630ng/dl to 726 ng/dl (about a 15% boost).

So ya, you should be taking this stuff; just make sure you get the KSM 66 extract. This extract is claimed to have the highest standardized amount of withanolides ( >5%) which are active compounds believed to provide the magical effects of the herb.  

7. Forskolin is effective for increasing testosterone levels

Forskolin is extracted from Coleus Forskohlii and became very popular after space cadet Dr. Oz claimed it as a magic pill for melting fat.

The market was then flooded with Forskolin supplements and thus it’s important to choose a seller that has 3rd party testing to prove that their product actually contains a standardized amount of the actual forskolin extract.

While it can increase fat burning slightly, it is by no means a miracle fat loss pill. That being said, there is some very interesting research behind the testosterone boosting properties it displays.

When isolated testicular cells were exposed to forskolin, up to 200% increases in testosterone were shown (15) . While that’s pretty profound, my jewels and (hopefully) yours aren’t just laying around, exposed to the world, which makes this study somewhat irrelevant.

Thankfully there was a human study (with all the appendages attached) proving its efficacy. In this human study, 250/mg a day of forskolin was consumed for 12 weeks.

The result? A 33% increase in testosterone levels (16). 

8. Boron

Boron is a trace mineral that originates from cosmic ray spallation. While not being popular, it does show some awesome benefits.

One study showed that just 6mg of boron a day for 60 days boosted testosterone levels by 29% (17). Another study, using 10mg a day, showed a 28% increase in T levels and a 39% drop in estrogen levels (18).

The best part? It’s cheap due its unfamiliarity.

9. Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are jam-packed with natural testosterone boosting compounds but it really shines in its ability to provide your daily dose of the trace mineral selenium.

Selenium has been shown to significantly increase testosterone levels and sperm quality (19). Brazil nuts are extremely cheap and you only need to eat 1-2 a day to reap the rewards.

10. Ginger

Ginger can potentially increase testosterone levels; which is nice because I can now (somewhat) justify my ginger ale binges whenever I was sick.

One study was done on infertile men and showed that ginger supplementation (dosage wasn’t specified in the study) increased testosterone levels by 17% (20).

Unfortunately no fertile men studies have been done yet. 

11. Vitamin E is a potent estrogen blocker

Vitamin E is a weird one. It has been shown to increase testosterone levels but not directly influencing testosterone production. Instead it works by supporting and optimizing other systems which in turn help elevate T levels.  

Vitamin E has amazing antioxidant effects in the body. By helping to reduce and deal all the crap thrown at you on a daily basis, it helps balance anabolic hormones and systems allowing for some testosterone-boosting power.

However, vitamin E really shines in serving as a potent estrogen blocker (the nemises of testosterone) (21) (22). This is excellent news for most men and their testosterone production.

Consuming 1000-2000 IU of vitamin E daily is plenty. However being a fat soluble vitamin, its important you consume your capsules with a meal containing some fat.

If you take your vitamins fasted, you can actually just rub the contents on your skin for topical absorption.

12. Zinc is probably the best booster

Zinc is the main mineral behind healthy testosterone production and endocrine system function. The correlation between high testosterone and high zinc levels is apparent in many studies (23) (24) (25). This means that if you are low in zinc, you are low in testosterone.

The unfortunate part is that we live in a zinc deficient society.

One reason is because eat a lot more processed foods which contain less minerals in general. Our bodies don’t have a natural zinc storage system so we need it on the daily.

You should consume at least 10-20 mg’s of zinc per day to maintain adequate amounts of the mineral in your system.  And luckily that’s not an expensive thing to do, as you can get high-quality zinc for under 10 bucks.

13. Creatine Monohydrate is an excellent booster, too

With hundreds of human studies proving its efficacy, it’s no surprise that creatine is the most used and respected bodybuilding supplement along with protein powders.

There’s many peer-reviewed studies which show how creatine effectively increases testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in human subjects (26) (27) (28) (29) (30).

Thankfully it’s also very cheap with no side effects. Creatine monohydrate is your best bet and you can get a year’s supply for under $60.

14. Velvet antler

Velvet antler is a supplement made by crushing the antler of elk or deer into a powder form.

Everywhere on the internet you can find claims that it’s full of all natural growth factors and testosterone boosting compounds, but the evidence speaks differently…

Studies consistently show that Deer antler powder does not increase LH, FSH, total testosterone, or free testosterone levels in humans (31) (32). Furthermore it does not increase human growth hormone or IGF-1 (3).

The bottom line: antler velvet hasn’t been proven to increase testosterone levels.

15. Grape seed extract is a potent estrogen blocker

Grape seed extract is an extract made from the seeds of grapes.

It’s a potent natural estrogen blocker, and this is due to the fact that two compounds in GSE; proanthocyanidin and procyanidin, can both inhibit the aromatase enzyme.

Furthermore grape seed extract is a potent antioxidant protecting testosterone molecules from oxidative damage (2).

The best way to take grape seed extract is on an empty stomach, as it has been found that the amount of proanthocyanidin/procyanidin in the bloodstream was roughly 5 times greater in a fasted state than in a fed state (33)

16. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is considered by some to be the best natural compound to increase testosterone levels. The problem is that only one study proves it effectiveness and that study was sponsored by a fenugreek manufacturer. (34)

In two human studies fenugreek has failed to increase testosterone levels (35, 36). 

Probably won’t hurt, but definitive results have not come through.

17. Rhodiola Rosea lowers stress and balances hormones

Rhodiola Rosea is the most beneficial adaptogenic herb the human race has discovered to date which grows in the harsh conditions of Northern Asia and Siberia.

Since it’s an adaptogen, it’s often used in lowering stress, and to balance hormones. By lowering stress and thus cortisol, it is able to boost testosterone on a recurring basis  (37, 38).

There’s no direct proof that it boosts testosterone, however at the very least it could improve the C:T ratio in exercising humans, and significantly lowers all the parameters of stress.

Recap

Most men over 30 (especially those with office jobs and sedimentary lifestyles) can benefit from taking a natural testosterone booster.

Although your testosterone levels can be increased through optimal nutrition, exercise, sleep, sex and posture, adding a testosterone booster to your daily regime is a great way to hedge your lifestyle to make sure you’re covering your vitamin and mineral bases that help testosterone levels.

There’s nothing magic out there, but some will give you a proper boost.


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Ranking the best meal replacement shakes of 2017

Meal replacement shakes are a trendy way to lose weight in recent years.

The short story? They work for many people as an alternative to other meals. Meal replacement shakes – like all dietary methods – are not perfect, but they offer great benefits in losing weight.

Whether you’re too “on-the-go” for a real lunch or are looking for a one-stop solution to weight loss, a meal replacement shake is a nice option. Instead of worrying about nutrient and caloric content, you can just down a shake and be sure it’s going to satiate your hunger, fuel your body, and help you stay (or get) lean.

Our research team ranked the best meal replacement shakes below:

1. Vega One All-In-One

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With 100% vegan pea and hemp protein and a blend of green superfood powders, Vega One is a very robust choice. It is very high in protein and fiber, while its sugar content is extremely low.

These are all exactly what you want to see if you are looking for a weight loss meal replacement shake. It’s got a little probiotic action with bacillus coagulans, and the only sweetener is the naturally-derived Stevia extract. For an all-around winner, it’s very hard to top Vega One.

2. Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal

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Garden of Life offers a raw, vegan, certified organic meal replacement shake with its hallmark superfood blends mixed in. Garden of Life is the best choice if you have some deficiencies in the rest of your diet; the high concentration of fruit and vegetable extracts present in the Raw Organic Meal might help make up for those.

The protein content is excellent, and the fiber content is pretty good too. Add in a strong dose of probiotics for good measure, and Garden of Life has a winning formula. As for sweeteners, the only one included is the natural sweetener Stevia.

3. Orgain Organic Protein

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Halfway between healthy protein shake and meal replacement, Orgain is a good option if your normal go-to meals are weak in the micronutrient department. With chia seeds, rice bran, and rosemary extract, Orgain pumps in some extra greens to keep your overall health going.

The protein in the shake is derived from peas and hemp and some emulsifiers included in the ingredients give it a thick, creamy texture without any dairy. It tastes sweet but it’s low in sugar–that’s thanks to the Stevia sweetener.

4. Idealshake

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Idealshake is a good example of a “label-focused” meal replacement shake. This just means that it focuses on hitting all the right nutrients, and not so much on how the product is put together.

Idealshake is basically a multivitamin pill plus a protein shake, and the protein itself is pretty high-quality (a combo of whey protein concentrate and isolate).

The fiber content is moderate, and the sugar content is low (though it does include the non-caloric sweetener sucralose). It’d be hard to describe the blend as “natural,” but if that’s not a concern for you, it will do the trick.

5. Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein and Vitamin

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The title about says it all with Nature’s Bounty Complete Protein and Vitamin. Just about all you get is proteins and vitamins–this shake is another in the “protein powder plus a multivitamin” genre; the ingredients don’t go above and beyond just checking boxes on the nutrition label.

There’s a little bit in the way of probiotics and enzymes, but they seem more like an afterthought than an integral part of the shake’s design.

6. Labrada Lean Body

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Labrada is a meal replacement solution that’s targeted for the fitness enthusiast. The company is careful to balance the amino acids and to deliver some of the most effective protein sources (whey protein and milk protein). The downside is that this meal replacement will be a non-starter for people who can’t eat dairy.

The fiber content is pretty good, with 7 grams per serving, but it’s a little disappointing to see “corn syrup solids” (read: sugar!) high up in the ingredients list.

7. Fit & Lean

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Fit & Lean’s philosophy might be be best-described as the “shotgun approach.” With an ingredients list about a mile long, it certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to breadth of ingredients. There’s everything from superfood powders to weight loss supplements like garcinia cambogia, plus a protein blend from multiple different protein sources.

Such a broad array of ingredients does communicate some lack of an overarching purpose for the supplement, though–it feels like Fit & Lean just threw in everything that might help with weight loss, without much thought as to how the ingredients interact with each other.

8. Soylent

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Soylent promises not just meal replacement, but food replacement. The shake is the child of a Silicon Valley dream of a scientifically constructed replacement for all your dietary needs in one place. If you want “natural,” you are barking up the wrong tree.

One thing you can be sure of with this unique meal replacement shake is that it left no micronutrient stone unturned–it was designed so you could live on nothing but Soylent! Alas, for weight loss, it’s a bit carb- and sugar-heavy, and it’s far too light on the fiber content. If nothing else, it’s a fascinating concept that’s worth a try for the adventurous.

9. GNC Total Lean Shake

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GNC is yet another “protein plus a vitamin pill” products. The protein comes from a blend of high-quality dairy-derived proteins, and the fiber content–8 grams per serving–is good.

One drawback, especially for the carb-conscious–is the intentional addition of maltodextrin to up the carbohydrate content of the meal replacement shake. It comes through in the micronutrient department, but it’s artificially sweetened and flavored, and there are better, more holistic meal replacement shakes out there.

10. Slimfast Advanced Nutrition

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Can you believe SlimFast is still a top-selling meal replacement shake brand? The Original SlimFast was so bad it didn’t even make the list (number one ingredient? Sugar!) but the “advanced” formula is something of an improvement. It’s still heavy on the marketing and light on the substance.

The protein content is solid, but the sucralose, caramel color, and artificial flavors make it hard to recommend above your other options.

Part Two: 19 truths about meal replacement shakes

Here are the “truths” with meal replacement shakes.

1. Liquid meal replacements are easier to consume than solid meal replacements

There are two different types of food replacements available—solid and liquid (1). The study mentioned above compares your typical bars and shakes. 

The most important factor to note is usability.  While liquid meal replacement shakes are easier to consume and digest, solid meal replacements can travel more easily.  The bottom line is that in this highly competitive market place you have many options and should choose the meal replacement option that suits your tastes, schedule, and body the best. Or just opt for protein bars if you need more of a snack, less of a meal.

2. Liquid meal replacements are not terribly satiating

Because of a long-standing belief that liquid and solid food replacements differed in effectiveness, a study set out to determine if this were true (1). The study measured liquid vs solid food replacements regarding hunger in adults, and the results confirmed what had previously been assumed.

Researchers found that liquid food replacements didn’t do as much to curb hunger in older adults, leading them to eat more.

This can, in theory, lead to less success in losing weight, suggesting that solid food replacements (such as Quest protein bars) are a better choice for those who are hoping to put off a few extra pounds.

3. Meal replacements work better than deprivation-style diets

There appear to be more benefits than just losing weight for those who wish to use a meal-replacement dietary approach (2). A recent study measured how at risk participants were for developing metabolic disorders, comparing those who used meal replacement with those who used more traditional fat-reduction diets.

And, while we may think of fat-reduction diets as the standard, the study found that meal replacement helps promote healthier levels of insulin and leptin, as well as reduce other risk factors for metabolic disorders.

In short, meal-replacement diets may provide fat lose and keep your hormones balanced. Solid win-win.

4. High protein meal replacements seem to burn MORE fat

Another study measured the effects on weight loss from those who had high protein foods in their diet with those who ate a more conventional diet (3).

All subjects in the study used partial meal replacement as a form of weight loss. Though both groups did report a reduction in body weight, there was no appreciable difference between the two in this category.

However, high-protein diets did result in the reduction of more body fat when compared to conventional diet plans, so if you’re looking for a reliable meal replacement, stick with one that has high levels of protein to keep you full.

5. Meal replacements may benefit more men than women

A recent study found that meal replacement might benefit men more than it does women (4). While the study wasn’t necessarily focused on the effects of meal replacement and gender, when the results were examined, researchers found that men lost a greater amount of weight on average, than did women.

However, it must be noted that this only establishes a correlation between the two and that other important factors may not have been considered. More research is needed to establish any definitive links between meal replacement and gender.

6. Meal replacement shakes can keep you lean and fit in high-stress environments

The same study shows that for workers in high-stress environments (think firefighters, etc.), meal replacement has proven to be an effective way to lose weight.

This is important for those individuals who work jobs that require them to be nimble and good on their feet. And it is also a good way to maintain overall health.

High-stress environments often take a great toll on the human body—and usually result in a spare tire around your midsection.

This is because of your not so friendly friend, cortisol. Cortisol is known for being released during long-term stress AND correlated with weight gain right on the midsection (13).  This means that meal replacement has potential weight-related advantages that should not be taken for granted.

Instead, meal replacements should be considered for those individuals who work in environments that cause higher-than-average levels of stress and duress.  (4)

Basically, if it helps men and women who work around the clock in high pressure environments saving lives, catching criminals, and fighting fires, what excuse do you have?

5. Meal replacements can help you stay fit

Additionally, the study found another benefit of using meal-replacement methods. Unlike traditional diets, meal replacement was found to keep excess weight off better (4).

The study noted that participants who used meal replacement were more likely to keep the weight off.  Maintaining your new weight is essential in your weight loss journey to avoid any rebound weight gain.

It must be noted that there could be several other variables that led to this, so this correlation cannot be treated as causation. However, the notion that meal replacement can help maintain a healthy weight is one that deserves further research and attention—especially when meal replacement is an effective and easy means of shedding excess weight in the first place.

6. Meal replacements come packed with (usually) 2 types of protein

Two of the most common products in meal replacement are two different types of protein: soy and whey. The two have a similar effectiveness, but they differ in taste (5). In general, the taste of whey protein is considered more vanilla in flavor, while soy protein has a stronger nutty flavor.

In addition, whey protein was found to be smoother and more of a cohesive product than soy, which was deemed too dense.

7. Whey protein is the people’s choice

It may come as no surprise, then, that this same study found that whey protein was more favorable among consumers (5). Because whey protein offers a smoother and sweeter choice, it appeals to a wider range of tastes.

The taste of soy can be seen as nutty or gritty, all while having a dense and tough texture that makes it off-putting to the taste buds. This makes whey protein a popular meal replacement choice in both solid and liquid forms—in addition to being widely used as a workout supplement.

8. Meal replacements are often more nutritious than a conventional diet

Another study compared meal replacement to conventional diet means and came to a surprising conclusion (6). Though we’ve seen several studies that assert meal replacement as a more-effective means of weight loss, this study found that it was comparable to traditional means of weight loss and didn’t show significant reduction in weight for most participants.

However, it did conclude that meal replacement is often more nutritious, making it a healthier option for those trying to lose weight.

This adds extra weight-loss benefits to those who are seeking to lose weight, as it provides a healthier dietary option that allows for greater personal fitness.

9. Meal replacements can save you money

One study notes another important part of a meal-replacement plan: its cost (7). When dieting, it can be difficult to find the right foods, as healthier foods usually come at a heftier price tag.

In fact, it’s so easy nowadays to purchase unhealthy fast food and junk food, that buying food that is not only more expensive but takes more time and effort to cook, that people are more willing to forsake their own health for convenience ( and we wonder why our obesity rates are greater than 30%).

This makes meal replacement a great alternative because it provides all the health benefits that you could want from a diet plan while cutting unnecessary costs that are associated with healthy eating.

10. Meal replacements support healthy blood sugar levels

Because solid and liquid food replacements have been shown to differ in some regards, another study was conducted to measure how they may differ in affecting blood glucose (sugar) levels (8).

While the study did reach the same conclusion that liquid food replacement diets were not as beneficial to older adults who are trying to lose weight, it did offer other important information: between the two alternatives, neither offers a clear benefit in terms of maintaining healthy glucose levels. That’s not to say that these meal replacements are not good for glucose levels—it’s quite the opposite.

Instead, both liquid and solid meal replacement options provide an effective means of positively influencing glucose levels. This means that liquid food replacement options don’t increase glucose levels despite not reducing weight as much.  Keeping blood sugar levels healthy means you have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and will have less weight gain with time, it’s a win-win.

11. Casein has no place in your diet.

Recent studies have shown that casein does not have a significant weight-loss advantage when compared with soy (10). 

In fact, there’s some evidence that casein can support tumor formation to cause cancer growth in rats (14).  Although casein is a slow-digesting protein that can offer available amino acids longer than soy or whey, it’s not proven to be as beneficial to your weight loss.

12. Soy Meal Replacement Better than Milk Meal Replacement  

Studies have proven that soy meal-replacement is better than milk meal-replacement (11). This is because soy naturally contains a wide variety of nutrients that are beneficial to the human body – but there is still a lot unproven with soy.

While milk is certainly not bad for you and will work in a pinch, it lacks many of the valuable minerals that make soy so rich for your health.

Though you might be a little unfamiliar with the taste at first, you will find that it has many positive benefits to your overall health. Furthermore, most who make the switch from milk to soy meal replacement find that they actually grow to love the taste of soy more after they grow accustomed to its unique flavor.

13. Soy meal replacements reduce triglycerides (fat)

One of the greatest benefits of soy meal replacement is that it reduces the appearance of triglycerides in your body (11). Though other forms of meal replacement are also beneficial to your overall health, only soy has been proven to greatly improve triglyceride count and improve metabolic health.

This means that soy meal replacement can play a crucial role in the prevention of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Because of this, soy meal replacement should be strongly considered by those individuals who wish to improve their overall metabolic health.

 14. Snacking does not make you gain extra weight

One aspect of meal replacement is that it will allow you to snack and eat like normal, even while you are on the diet. Though it may sound too-good-to-be-true, numerous scientific studies have proven that snacking does not play a significant role in weight gain while on a meal replacement diet (12).

This means that you won’t have to limit yourself to eating only at certain times of the day. It also means that you will be able to maintain a certain degree of freedom when it comes to what you are and what you aren’t putting into your body.

Simply put, meal replacement guarantees that you won’t feel suffocated and pressured by strict dietary standards that make you question whether your diet is worth it at all.

15.  Never ever believe anything you see on the label

Meal replacement products are supplements. In the United States they are “regulated” by the FDA.  Unfortunately, this regulation is not as thorough as you’d think. Often, the FDA does not routinely test meal replacement bars for quality before sale (15).

If you want to do some quick math beforehand, you can add up the calories from fat, carbohydrates, and proteins to see if it matches the total calories as marked on the nutrition block.

16.  Watch out for deadly herbal additions in meal replacements

Certain meal replacements, especially ones with claims of energy or with a list of herbal ingredients in lieu of a nutrition block can be dangerous. 

While there are some top-notch brands, others contain herbal supplements that can have interactions with any medications or any other foods you commonly eat.  For example, orange peel can increase the stimulating effects of caffeine, leading to higher blood pressure and greater strain on your cardiovascular system (16). 

Especially since some meal replacements jump over into dangerous territory to sacrifice your health in order to shed a few pounds.  Always be sure to know what you’re putting in your body to make sure you stay safe.

17.  Meal replacement nutrition labels can be misleading

Some meal replacement shakes and bars actually contain multiple servings.  If you check the label, your massive 20 gram protein bar might be ideal for a romantic post workout treat for two instead of just for you. 

Aside from accidentally overeating double or triple the calories, you might be overeating the rest of the day too.

Researchers examine how portion size affects appetite in adults and discovered that smaller portion sizes lead to greater hunger and lower satiety (17).

That all translates into you being hungrier and likely to eat more later in the day if you stick with energy-dense foods that have small portion sizes.

18.  A meal replacement bar goes with a glass of water

Meal replacements, even if they work for your body and health, are frankenfoods.

Frakenfoods are natural foods are processed and stripped of some of their water, vitamins, and fiber to create a bar for you to carry around and enjoy.  A solid trade off, however if you’re munching on a meal replacement bar you need to also down about 8 ounces of water.  You’ll see this right on the label of the bar because the water helps dilute your concentrated bar into a sea of nutrition you can actually digest and absorb.

Otherwise, you don’t fully breakdown and digest your bar and it can become sticky and actually get stuck in your colon where it breaks down to take down your health, give you bad gas, and make you bloated (obviously not ideal for a post workout date).

Do yourself a favor and stay hydrated when you replace your meals.

19.  Meal replacement shakes for gaining weight

Protein shakes and bars, often used as meal replacements, are often used in the hope of building up lean body mass. Without a smart exercise routine in place your muscles will have no reason to take up the protein you’ve eaten and turn it into hard muscle, researchers even tested it out (19). 

This stuff takes more than just one meal and one day to kick in, however meal replacements are excellent aids in reducing your body fat as you build more lean muscle mass.

Recap

Scientific literature supports the use of meal replacement as an effective and healthy means of dieting. However, it must be used with caution, as everything in life is beneficial only in moderation.


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