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It seems every so often that when you’re doing your grocery shopping or watching television. There are some new sports drinks being advertised for us to buy, and the question still remains. I dare say to a lot of people. Do I need this or not? And will it help my performance and or recovery.
Last week there on BBC television’s panorama investigated claims as to whether or not we do or don’t need sports drinks at all manufacturers can make various claims claiming that we do need them, citing things such as that we shouldn’t allow ourselves to become partially dehydrated.
So in other words, we should be more careful and keep ourselves hydrated. Most of the time, however, the problem with a lot of these drinks is they contain a lot of sugar, as well as calories, which, in the long term, may cause you to gain weight as well, which is something that we don’t need or want. Authorities on this sort of subject from both Harvard and Oxford University say that you can become over hydrated, which in turn can lead to something called hypernatremia, which is swelling of the brain.
The sports drink industry is huge; it is worth approximately £1 billion pounds and rose by a factor of 10% last year to give you an idea of how much volume of sports drinks that is; it’s 440 million litres of it, which is enough to fill 400 Olympic sized swimming pools. Even though the drinks are marketed to people who go to the gym and keep fit fanatics. People in offices can tend to buy them, so they can have a quick energy boost.
A study, which this research was based on was published in the British Medical Journal analysed 104 types of products, which included protein shakes, trainers and sports drinks and looked at 400 types of health claims made by different manufacturers, said products, which were mentioned in adverts. One example is the famous footballer Alan Shearer, talking about Lucozade Sport “Designed for top athletes. It delivers fluid and energy so fast. I’m always on top of my game.”
Former Olympic athlete, Daley Thompson is seen waiting on the starting line with traffic lights, drinking a bottle of the same product, waiting for the off. And Wayne Rooney is seen drinking Coca-Cola’s Powerade and seen to be scoring a goal, compared to his other self, which is only drinking water. These types of celebrity endorsements can send powerful messages to us in deciding whether or not we should buy such a product 90% of the time it may sway our decision into buying it.
Deborah Cohen, who is an editor of the BMJ (British Medical Journal) had this to say, “These types of messages can be misleading and filter down to basic health advice, which is given by scientists who are company sponsored , who give advice to high-profile sports personalities who can be persuasive and convincing. We can be driven by our fears. A typical example is the dehydration myth. If we hear it enough, it becomes fact, as far as we are concerned, so much so it can influence us as to what to drink when we exercise.
It’s a case of marketing, trumping science. The authors of the study said that protein shakes are no better than drinking milk authors of the study went on to say that “There is a strong lack of evidence to support the claims made by the manufacturers of these products and whether or not they do help with performance and or recovery.”
The lack of good evidence is quite alarming to say the least. One of the spokespersons from a leading manufacturer Glaxo Smith Kline, which manufactures Lucozade, said more than 40 years, research and 85 studies have helped to develop Lucozade sport to what it is today. All our claims that we make been based on scientific evidence that has been looked at by the European Food Safety Authority.
And Coca-Cola that makes Powerade had this to say, “Sports drinks are the best researched in the world, there is a lot of scientific evidence that is reliable.” As for myself, I don’t actually think any sports drinks as I don’t feel I really need them myself, however at the end of the day it’s up to the person, whether or not they choose to drink these products or not.