Sports drinks not supported by science or medical claims

Sports drinks not supported by science or medical claims

Carl Heneghan, MD, of the University of Oxford in England and colleagues found that advertised claims about performance-enhancing sports products often are not supported by scientifically relevant studies.  Drink the expensive sports water, for what?  Nothing actually.  

An entire industry busted
The researchers measured the quality of support for claims made in website advertisements covering 104 sports-related products, such as sports drinks, supplements, footwear, clothing, and devices with “performance or recovery enhancing qualities or claims”. 

Looking over 431 “scientific claims” on 1,035 web pages, they found:

  • Only 4.1% of the studies were judged to be of high quality and at low risk of bias
  • Not one of the studies included a systematic review
  • 84% of the studies mentioned by those products that did provide them had a high risk of bias
  • 50% of the sports products had no references to studies supporting the claims
  • Over 40% of the studies had no randomization
  • Only 27% of the studies included blinding of outcome assessors, participants or investigators
  • Irregularities and concealment was apparent in nearly 7% of studies

The studies were evaluated through the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine Levels of Evidence and Cochrane method.  The researchers summarized as “Half of all websites for these products provided no evidence for their claims and of those that do, half of the evidence is not suitable for critical appraisal”. 

Study by Heneghan C, et al “The evidence underpinning sports performance products: a systematic assessment” as published in the British Medical Journal Open 2012; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001702.  As reported by MedPage Today on July 18, 2012.

Posted: Thursday 2 August 2012

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