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6 Diet and Fitness Breakthroughs
Part 1 of 2

Supplements may not be what you think.
Supplements may not be what you think.

Things have changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Smartphones, the internet everywhere and medical breakthroughs have revolutionized our lives. We have access to more information than at any other time in human history. There's so much data out there, it's become difficult to sort through it all.

Billion-dollar companies are pushing their versions of the truth. Powerful marketing messages trying to convince you to spend your money and sacrifice your health, for their profit. Their promises sound so tempting, it's not surprising they're so successful. Through it all, my job has been simple. Help my clients and everyone who reads this column, figure out what you should pay attention to and what you should avoid.

To make sure my advice remains sound, I've tried to only write about what's been proven by clinical trials and solid scientific research. That led me to create this list. Six research breakthroughs we've learned since the year 2000 that changed how we help our clients. This week I'd like to share the first three.

#1: Multivitamins and antioxidant supplements are a waste of time and money for the average person. In clinical trials over more than 10 years, involving more than a quarter of a million test subjects, researchers found some very scary things.

Multivitamins and antioxidant supplements do not protect against cancer. They do not prevent heart disease. People who took multivitamins had a slightly higher risk of cancer and death than those who took none at all. And people who took antioxidant supplements were dying sooner as well. DO NOT TAKE multivitamins or antioxidant supplements unless prescribed by a doctor for a specific medical condition. For most people, they're a waste of money and cause you to die sooner.

#2: Avoid supplements as well. When Consumer Reports tested supplements they found scores that were contaminated with dangerous bacteria. As many as a third of all supplements contain little or none of the ingredients listed on their labels. "...analysis of the US Food and Drug Administration warnings from 2007 through 2016 showed that unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients were identified in 776 dietary supplements...”

Here's the truly scary part. More than half of the supplements identified by the Food and Drug Administration as being tainted were STILL BEING SOLD in 2018. The FDA had not forced the companies making those sham products to pull them from the market.

Three things about supplements you need to remember. First, the U.S. government does NOT test supplements to prove they work. Second, The U.S. government does NOT test supplements to make sure they contain the ingredients listed on the label. Third, the U.S. government does NOT test supplements for safety.

All those things are left up to supplement companies to do on their own and far too many don't. Without oversight, many companies fill supplement bottles with cheap fillers. Those unlisted ingredients have been documented triggering allergic reactions, causing people to fail drug tests and in the most extreme cases, resulted in death. Don't take them and the life you save may be your own.

Fill at least half of every plate of food you eat with fruit and vegetables. You'll get all the health-promoting vitamins and minerals your body needs, without ever taking a single supplement.

#3: Quit stretching before a workout, there are two important reasons why. First, researchers found that if you stretch just before a weight training session, it reduces the strength and power you can put into the workout. Second, it doesn't prevent future injuries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed more than 350 studies on stretching. They found no evidence to suggest that athletes who stretch could reduce the risk of injury.

Instead, you should engage in activities that improve the flow of blood to your muscles before lifting weights. That means doing a little cardio before your workout. If you're trying to reduce pain in connecting muscles and joints, learn how to foam roll.

However, stretching muscles DURING a workout can make you stronger. The key is you've got to stretch the antagonist or opposite muscle you're working.

Don't hold a stretch longer than 30 to 40 seconds. Must studies on stretch duration show a limited return when they continue for a minute or more.

Don't incorporate other stretches into your workout. Concentrate on stretches that work opposing muscle groups only. Save the rest of your stretches for when you're finished with the weights and use those to improve your range of motion or flexibility.

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