Sports drinks are supposed to rehydrate a person after working out, but it appears these beverages have no proven health benefits, according to scientists.
These rehydration drinks are not as deadly as tobacco, but Australian researchers say fans and spectators may be misled into thinking these products increase their ability to play sports and are good for health.
“Such sponsorship could mislead the public into thinking these products work well and/or are good for health—for which there is no strong scientific evidence,” researchers wrote in the British Medical Journal.
Previous study in BMJ Open reveals a “striking lack of evidence” to support the claims these sports drinks improve performance and recovery.
Specialist sports drinks provided little benefit when compared with water if exercising for 90 minutes or less, experts say.
The main concern at this level of activity is to replenish fluid lost after workouts to avoid dehydration, and water gets the job done without all the added sugar.
“Successful sponsorship campaigns remove or minimize any skepticism about the product, a common reaction to advertising,” Simon Outram and Bob Stewart of the Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living, in Melbourne, Australia, wrote in the BMJ. “A form of seamless or hidden product association is created whereby such products come to be seen as integral to sport — the sports supplement or sports drink.”
They added that celebrity endorsement helps to promote that idea.
"It is for good reason that nutritional supplement and sports drinks companies invest heavily in sports sponsorship," they argued. "Such sponsorship — together with associated product endorsements and advertising — conveys the message that their products are integral to sporting engagement and achievement."
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