The research was presented at the 2015 American Psychological Association’s meeting held in Toronto on Thursday by Dr. Richard Achiro, professor of psychology at the Alliant International University. It also points out the fact that low self-esteem or disappointment regarding one’s physical appearance could be the driving factors behind the decision to take such supplements.
“Body-conscious men who are driven by psychological factors to attain a level of physical or masculine ‘perfection’ are prone to use these supplements and drugs in a manner that is excessive and which was demonstrated in this study to be a variant of disordered eating” explained Achiro during the presentation.
The study was done on 195 men within the 18-65 age range who admitted to taking bodybuilding supplements in the month before, and also had a workout routine of at least two sessions each week. They were then all submitted to an online survey which questioned about a variety of topics, from self-esteem to the way they view their own body, current eating habits and how they started using supplements.
The results showed that over 40 percent of the respondents have increased their use of bodybuilding supplements as time passed, while almost a quarter of them started using them to replace meals – which is not recommended, as these supplements are not meant to be meal replacements. Almost a third of the questioned men also admitted to being concerned over their use of the supplements, while a minority of them were also either recommended to cut back on their dosage or had kidney/liver problems to excessive use.
The alarming fact was the fact that a good chunk of the answers were correlated with normal diagnostics for eating disorders. About a quarter of them were either restricting their normal eating habits or just bypassing them althogether; some of them were concerned with eating hindering the progress they would gain from exercise and the use of supplements.
Dr. Achiro put the emphasis on the factors for this concerning trend, and considered that most of them are psychical. Men who use these supplements to the point where they either develop eating disorders or even worse health problems are dissatisfied with their overall physical appearance, can’t assert exactly their masculinity or are also governed by low self-esteem.
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