The London Olympics games have a new discipline: scientists vs. sports drinks’ manufacturers. If the regular games are not providing you with enough excitement, you might look into the new study scientists from the Oxford University conducted on the claims power drinks manufacturers make about their products’ performance. In short, they greatly exaggerated what these drinks can do.
Powering the athletic performance?
Power drinks such as Powerade, the official Olympic sports drink, are the $7-billion industry and their manufacturers did not like to be called liars. Their spokespersons claim that each product is based on the scientific evidence. That is where Oxford researchers found a slight problem: the entire body of evidence used to back up the products consists of 26 scientific studies, which included total of 359 participants. 19 out of 26 studies were of poor quality. For example, study participants were 89 percents male and aged 20-30 years (65 percents). Another problem the researchers had with the ” Ëœproof” â„¢ of the high performance of sports drinks was that the research was funded by the drinks manufacturers such as Gatorade.
Most unbiased nutritionists are critical of the health benefits of sports drinks because most contain sugar and caffeine, and are of very little benefit for normal people who are not professional athletes.
Are the power drinks for everyone?
Another problem the nutritionists have with the sports drinks is their popularity with children. While schools are phasing out the sale of soft drinks, there is no limit on the availability of sports drinks for children. A number of studies linked the use of power drinks by children to the declining cognitive abilities due to sleeplessness.
The American Beverage Association, of course, disagreed with the study findings. They stand by the scientific proof that the sports drinks are “necessary for an athlete’s overall health, wellness and athletic performance,” they stated in their email to the NY Times.
But, Professor Thompson, one of the study authors, believes that the drink companies created a disease called ” Ëœdehydration’, which they are treating with expensive power drinks.
Considering how much money sports drinks make to their manufacturers, it is easy to predict who wins this race. But, that does not mean that you have to buy their sales pitch. Unless you are training for the next Olympics and want to hedge your bets.