Creatine: why it should not be missing from any diet
Creatine is considered one of the best-studied dietary supplements and is unreservedly recommended by many experts. A daily intake of just 3-5 g is enough to improve your physical performance during strength training . For many strength athletes and bodybuilders, creatine supplementation is therefore a must. But what about during a diet? Many people fear that taking creatine will bloat the body and refrain from taking it during weight loss phases.
Table of contents:
- How does creatine affect weight?
- How does creatine support a diet?
- Conclusion on creatine and why no diet should be without it
How does creatine affect weight?
The fact is that creatine can cause weight gain as it draws water into the muscle cell and stores it there. Taking the supplement can therefore cause an increase in weight of up to 2% . However, this is only the stored water. The body fat content is not increased by the intake. If you stop taking creatine, the water is released again and you lose weight relatively quickly. The pointer on the scales then also goes down quickly. However, this does not mean that the body fat percentage decreases. You should therefore not attach too much importance to losing weight quickly, especially as you miss out on many benefits of creatine supplementation.
As the water is bound directly in the muscle and not between the skin and muscle, creatine intake does not lead to a bloated appearance. The appearance is also not negatively affected. On the contrary, the water retention increases the volume of the muscles and they appear plumper.
Find out more about weight gain with creatine in our blog post: Why does creatine cause weight gain?
Of course, the primary goal of a diet is to reduce body fat. At the same time, however, it is also important to minimise the loss of muscle mass. Two things are particularly important for this: a protein-rich diet and intensive strength training. With the latter, you benefit from taking creatine. The supplement has been proven to increase strength in fast strength training. This means that you can train longer and more intensively. Especially when you are in a calorie deficit, when you tend to be a little limp and lack energy, it helps you to maintain a high training load.
In addition, the supplement ensures that you stay focused and concentrated. It's not just our muscles that contain creatine, but also our brain. It is therefore not surprising that creatine supplementation also has an effect on the psyche in addition to physical performance. In particular vegetarians and vegans appear to benefit from this effect. For example, studies show that supplementation in this group significantly improved cognitive performance . The test subjects had better memory performance and performed better in intelligence tests than the comparison group without creatine. Other studies also indicate that creatine improves physical and mental performance in cases of sleep deprivation.
Conclusion on creatine and why it should not be missing from any diet
Whether you're building up or cutting down, creatine supplementation can improve your performance and help you give your all in training.
If you are in a calorie deficit, it is recommended to take BCAAs in addition to creatine. BCAAs serve the body as an emergency reserve, so to speak, when there is too little glucose in the blood and the carbohydrate (glycogen) reserves are depleted. They prevent the body from using amino acids from the muscle to generate energy. You can read more about BCAAs under Products for competitive sports.
- D. Benton and R. Donohoe. The impact of creatine supplementation on cognitive function in vegetarians and omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition 2011; 105:1100-1105
- C. Rae et al. Oral creatine monohydrate supplementation improves brain performance: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 2003; 270:2147-2150
- T. McMorris et al. Effect of creatine supplementation and sleep deprivation, with mild exercise, on cognitive and psychomotor performance, mood state, and plasma concentrations of catecholamines and cortisol.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006; 185(1):93-103