A recent article in the British Medical Journal, "The Truth About Sports Drinks," calls into question the marketing tactics used by sports drink makers to underscore the importance of their products. Furthermore, much of the science studying sports drinks focuses on elite athletes, but the majority of those consuming the liquids are recreational athletes partaking in less than one hour of moderate exercise.
From the BMJ press release touting the article:
"With the biggest sporting event in the world just a week away, a joint investigation by the BMJ and BBC Panorama has found that there is 'a striking lack of evidence' to support claims about improved performance and recovery for many sports products like drinks, trainers and protein shakes.Click here to read the report.
"The investigation reveals new research carried out by the Oxford Centre for Evidence Based Medicine and the BMJ, and published in the online journal BMJ Open. It concludes that no sound evidence could be found to support claims made by some of sport’s biggest brands and that it is 'virtually impossible for the public to make informed choices about the benefits and harms of advertised sports products.'
"The findings are also highly critical of the methods used by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to regulate these marketing claims. Dr Matthew Thompson, Senior Clinical Scientist at Oxford University’s Department of Primary Health Care Sciences, told the Panorama investigation these methods are based on 'very meagre' research, supplied largely by manufacturers themselves. He would like to see 'a more scientific and rigorous approach' to assessing the basis of food claims in Europe.
"Their findings are part of a joint investigation by the BMJ and BBC Panorama which tests the science behind the marketing hype of this multibillion-dollar industry and suggests we could be wasting our money on these products.
"The investigation also explores the role of sports drinks companies in the 'science of hydration' and questions their links with some of the world’s most influential sports bodies in a bid to gain public trust in their products and persuade ordinary people they need more than water when they exercise."