The Best Type of Creatine

Everyone is seemingly taking creatine -- and for good reason. But make sure you're taking the form delivering the brain and body...

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • Are you taking the wrong creatine?

  • The food linked to depression

  • The blood sugar trick

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Are You Taking The Wrong Creatine?

If you haven’t been paying attention, creatine is having a moment. Research now suggests creatine can help your intelligence and memory, fight off neurodegenerative disease, boost energy, and add strength and lean muscle. 

There’s just one problem — many people are taking the wrong type of creatine. 

Research overwhelmingly suggests that creatine monohydrate is the safest, most effective, and most absorbed form of creatine — that everything else is fighting for second place. 

Two myths typically cause people to avoid creatine or purchase a potentially inferior version. First, people fear that creatine will make them bloated. Creatine pulls more water into your muscles. So, while the scale weight might change by a few pounds, you have healthier, more hydrated muscles. It will not make you look puffy or fat.

The second concern is absorption. Many supplement companies will claim that other options — such as creatine HCL — get more creatine into your muscles. While creatine HCL has better solubility, that does not mean it is better absorbed. 

If you want to take creatine, use creatine monohydrate, and only use brands that invest in third-party certification, such as NSF Certified For Sport or Informed Sport. It’s the only way to ensure that what’s on the label is actually in the product. Our go-to source for creatine monohydrate is Momentous. (All members of the village get 20% OFF when you use the code “PumpClub”). 

Every Momentous product is tested to ensure quality, purity, and — most importantly — safety. They are redefining the supplement category by doing things not typically done, including ten contracts with the US Military to help develop high-performance supplements that work.

If your goal is gaining strength or muscle or improving performance, 5 grams per day will provide the desired benefits. If you’re more interested in cognitive benefits, research suggests you likely need 10 grams per day. 

The Food Linked To Depression

You don’t need to stress about everything you put in your mouth. But, one type of food appears to do more damage when consumed too often.

Recent research suggests the more often you eat ultra-processed foods, the more likely you are to report feeling depressed or anxious. (Keep reading how you can easily offset that potential risk.)

Ultra-processed foods are engineered to be more desirable by adding salt, sugar, and fat. They contain hydrogenated oils, chemical additives, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, and preservatives.

Another study of more than 11,000 people found that cognitive decline increased an additional 28 percent in people who consume more than 20 percent of their calories from ultra-processed foods. 

Does this mean eating any of these foods will make you depressed? Not exactly. The research is all observational (so you can’t determine causation), and people who are more anxious or depressed may happen to eat more ultra-processed foods.

But you might not need to stress — even if you eat some ultra-processed foods — as long as you’re eating nutritious options most of the time.

Researchers found that people who ate ultra-processed foods but also had a balance of healthy foods like whole grains, green vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and berries showed no link with anxiety and cognitive decline. 

If you need help figuring out a balanced approach to nutrition, You Can’t Screw This Up outlines how to manage ultra-processed foods practically, so you can still eat some of the foods you love without the dangers.

The Blood Sugar Trick

Yesterday, we shared why research suggests you might be stressing too much about managing your blood sugar.

To show you how easy managing blood sugar can be, researchers found that adding a little protein to your meal can shift how your body responds to foods you’re typically told to limit or avoid. 

In the study, one group ate a bowl of Cheerios, and the other group drank a protein shake and then enjoyed the classic cereal.

Drinking the protein before the meal lowered blood sugar and insulin by 28 percent. 

And it had nothing to do specifically with the whey. Adding protein to a meal — whether a plant (think anything from tofu or lentils) or animal-based (like eggs or meat) — can help slow digestion and prevent big insulin spikes.

But this study showed that a small dose of whey protein — the participants drank 15 grams of protein, which is less than one scoop of most powders — can help lower your blood sugar response and help manage your hunger.

Remember, it’s normal for your blood sugar to increase after a meal. It only becomes problematic if it rises very high and stays elevated over a long period of time. Besides the whey protein appetizer, you can control your blood sugar by maintaining a healthy weight, lowering stress, prioritizing sleep, exercising, and including protein and fiber at each meal.

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell