There are a lot of people that think this way and of course the advertising and propaganda that the supplement industry puts out there leads you to believe this is true. The fact of the matter is that they don't have really anything in GNC for fitness that you can't accomplish on your own. This is especially true with products that don't even do what they say it will do anyway.
Almost everything those expensive and gigantic plastic bottles and bags at the nutrition store contain can be found in normal food products you can buy probably in the same shopping center at a supermarket. And it doesn't necessarily have to be the expensive stuff either. One of my favorite supplements and consequently one of the only ones that I use is Whey Protein. It is no secret that a lot of things contain protein and a protein shake contains about as much protein as a big piece of chicken or a steak. So if you have the patience or the wherewithal to prepare one of those instead, it may actually be better for you to do that since the whey protein on its own has almost zero nutritional value outside of the protein.
I pick on GNC not because they are doing anything terribly wrong, I pick on them because they are a largest of their kind globally. I pick on them because they have a wide array of products and most of them have bogus claims on them with "research" that was funded by the company in question and if you look at 95% of the packages for sale in that place, none of the statements have been evaluated by the FDA or any other government body. This isn't to say I want the government to do everything for us, but the reason why the FDA hasn't looked at the statements is because supplements work very hard to make sure that they DONT review their claims because if they did look at it, nearly every product in GNC other than whey powder would have to remove the claims.
Just like the claim for whatever product they are selling in the window. I don't know what it is, but it says "PROVEN" and then something about 6 x and "slimming." I can all but guarantee you that this is complete BS.
GNC and stores like it have a purpose, but mostly they peddle lies. If you are going to shop there, go there knowing what you want before you get there because you definitely won't get the truth once you are inside.
I feel a little bit bad because I just saw that GNC is closing half of their stores in the USA and filed for bankruptcy. Crap.
Anyway, I went off on a anti-GNC rant there for a bit too long. :) The point of all of this is that while supplements might be necessary for some people who simply can't get enough protein by eating alone, almost everything in a supplement can be found in certain types of food. If you start seeing these crazy chemical names that certain products claim to have, there is a really good chance that you don't need that or that it doesn't actually do anything. There is also the opportunity that whatever supplement you are buying doesn't even contain it anyway. Remember, these products are not regulated and they can say basically whatever they want to on the bottle, including what the capsules actually have in them.
Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario analysed a wide range of common supplements and found that 1/3 of them didn't even contain the major ingredient the bottle was claiming they contain. Others contained fillers that were NOT claimed on the bottle, and others contained some additives not listed that could actually cause certain people to get ill. Less than 20% of all products tested contained exactly what it said on the bottle.
The bottom line is this: You can get all of your nutritional needs from traditional means, that is, by simply eating. The human race has done so for thousands of years, there is no reason why we can't continue to do so.