Study reveals there is a ‘striking lack of evidence’ to back up claims made for trainers, drinks and supplements
Claims about how trainers, sports drinks and supplements will help grassroots or elite athletes train harder and achieve better times are usually based on no or flawed evidence, researchers have revealed.
Sportswear giants, such as Nike and Puma, and manufacturers of drinks, such as Powerade and Lucozade Sport, regularly insist their products confer advantages on users. But such claims are so difficult to verify because of a lack of reliable evidence to back them up that “it is virtually impossible for the public to make informed choices about the benefits and harms of advertised sports products, based on the available evidence”, according to a study by a team from Oxford University and the British Medical Journal.
“There is a striking lack of evidence to support the vast majority of sports-related products that make claims related to enhanced performance or recovery, including drinks, supplements and footwear,” conclude researchers led by Dr Carl Heneghan of Oxford’s centre for evidence-based medicine.
Half the websites for such products provide no evidence for these claims and of those that do, half the evidence could not be critically appraised.