'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

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'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby cake » 21 Jul 2012, 22:41

I watched the episode and I wasn't surprised at this.

Consumers could be wasting their money on sports drinks, protein shakes and high-end trainers, according to a new joint investigation by BBC Panorama and the British Medical Journal.

The investigation into the performance-enhancing claims of some popular sports products found "a striking lack of evidence" to back them up.

A team at Oxford University examined 431 claims in 104 sport product adverts and found a "worrying" lack of high-quality research, calling for better studies to help inform consumers.

Dr Carl Heneghan of the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine led the independent research into the claims made by the makers of sports drinks, protein shakes and trainers
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18863293
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby Formosa Fitness » 22 Jul 2012, 10:05

Note to non-UK readers: the "trainers" mentioned in the report refer to shoes, not personal trainers. That's British English for sports shoes.

I read the report and it says some good things but implies some bad things.

First of all, yes, most sports drinks, supplements, and shoes won't help the average fitness person who frankly isn't likely working hard enough to begin with for any of that to matter. People who are walking 30 minutes 3x a week on a treadmill, for example, shouldn't be taking carb drinks or wearing special shoes because they likely don't need them.

And yes, the effects of these accessories is sometimes overblown.

But for people that are seriously into fitness (way beyond the BBC's usual readership), these things can make a difference. For example, for really long, intense workouts, water isn't going to be enough. You'll lose too many electrolytes, especially in summer and you could likely benefit from the inclusion of carbs to fuel the workout.

Supplements are useful too but only in this order IMO: 1. fitness, 2. nutrition, 3. supplements.
If the fitness regimen is solid (it usually is not), and the nutrition you get from food has been addressed (this is even rarer), then supplements can be useful. They aren't just "expensive milk" as the article suggests.

Take for example whey protein. If you're on a heavy weightlifting regimen and need lots of protein, it can be tough to get that much from meat, etc. alone. It's cheaper, more efficient, and more convenient to supplement with whey protein. And the calorie count would also be lower.

Shoes depend on how much you exercise and what type you're doing. Running pounds the body and a good pair of shoes can make all the difference. Olympic lifting demands that you have a certain type of shoe for stability or you will court an injury. In these cases, normal shoes just won't work. Now that doesn't mean all the bells and whistles in the ads are justified. They aren't. But companies are just using marketing to sell their products.

Finally, I'd like to point out that the lack of "evidence" in a lab really means nothing. Studies are incredibly flawed and rarely show anything that improves real world results. That doesn't matter. Trainers and coaches are the mad scientists and the gym is their lab. They are paid to get results and the good ones do or their kids wouldn't eat. But in the last 20 years or so, science has heavily criticized them for not proving that these things work to the scientists satisfaction.

Fortunately the pendulum is starting to swing the other way. Folks are looking more to those that actually get results and can prove it through testimonials of other clients that have gotten results. What does or doesn't happen in a petri dish is irrelevant.

This is a good post from Arnold Schwarzenegger's new blog explaining this phenomena:
http://www.schwarzenegger.com/fitness/p ... -new-again
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Hope that helps.
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby Arteta » 24 Jul 2012, 18:43

I've always subscribed to the notion that one does not need any sort of supplement until they have reached what can be considered an advanced level. If you can't lift your own body weight in any way then you don't need them; if you can lift two times your body weight or are nearly professional in any sort of sport, then start looking into them.

It seems everybody I know (and a lot of guys at my gym) are all taking some whey protein and creatine, yet they spend their time curling. I also think that almost everything in a gym should be abandoned (or reduced) with the exception of a squat rack and somewhere you can do dips/pull ups/chins. I've tried to help people before and they choose to ignore it and lift some home weights from Argos instead, whilst taking protein etc. The women would also prefer to ignore advice and take their wisdom from women's magazines, so I say let them waste their money, whilst the few people who know what's up can spend very little and make big gains.
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby Mucha Man » 24 Jul 2012, 19:36

I think the Arnold article was exceptionally poor. I wouldn't trust his conclusions and frankly found it smelled of hype and self-promotion

Trusting results ovet research, yes, great, but surely there is a better article you could have linked to.
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby Formosa Fitness » 25 Jul 2012, 13:56

Arteta wrote:I've always subscribed to the notion that one does not need any sort of supplement until they have reached what can be considered an advanced level. If you can't lift your own body weight in any way then you don't need them; if you can lift two times your body weight or are nearly professional in any sort of sport, then start looking into them.

It seems everybody I know (and a lot of guys at my gym) are all taking some whey protein and creatine, yet they spend their time curling. I also think that almost everything in a gym should be abandoned (or reduced) with the exception of a squat rack and somewhere you can do dips/pull ups/chins. I've tried to help people before and they choose to ignore it and lift some home weights from Argos instead, whilst taking protein etc. The women would also prefer to ignore advice and take their wisdom from women's magazines, so I say let them waste their money, whilst the few people who know what's up can spend very little and make big gains.


Well, yes and no. Creatine and protein powder are two of the most widely researched supplements you can take. Their usefulness has been clearly demonstrated for a wide swath of fitness enthusiasts. I was reading the other day that they were giving creatine and protein powder to cancer patients in some places because it was easier for them to digest. That's how useful those products are.

So I don't think they are only for people that can already lift 2x body weight, not by a long shot.

But yeah, someone who curls in the squat rack likely shouldn't be wasting their time with supplements. I assume they know they should be squatting, deadlifting, etc. but outside my own gym, that may not be the case. I'm quite proud of the fact that everyone at Formosa Fitness does the deadlift. I don't think any other gym can say that. :)

Muzha Man wrote:I think the Arnold article was exceptionally poor. I wouldn't trust his conclusions and frankly found it smelled of hype and self-promotion

Trusting results ovet research, yes, great, but surely there is a better article you could have linked to.


Sorry you didn't find it to your liking but I had it open in a tab when I read the above post. So it seemed timely and relevant. As long as you got the point of results over research then I think that's good enough. The research will catch up....about 10 years later, as it usually does. :)
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby sandman » 25 Jul 2012, 14:38

Arnie? That's the dude who's so buff that he has pig valves in his heart, right? Or is that some other dude?
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'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby flike » 26 Jul 2012, 01:25

Formosa Fitness wrote:Creatine and protein powder are two of the most widely researched supplements you can take. Their usefulness has been clearly demonstrated for a wide swath of fitness enthusiasts. I was reading the other day that they were giving creatine and protein powder to cancer patients in some places because it was easier for them to digest. That's how useful those products are.

So I don't think they are only for people that can already lift 2x body weight, not by a long shot.

What about branched-chain amino acids? I've found bcaa's to be effective in relieving muscle soreness from heavy squats and dead lifts, although the real muscle heads swear they're also effective in protein synthesis and muscle building.

The latest what, fad is silk amino acids, SAA's. A guy in the gym last week (coulda been a USN SEAL, they work out sometimes among us mere mortals here in Virginia Beach and this very fit guy was doing a VERY robust if quirky workout) swears they're much better than bcaa's.

What does your practical experience tell you about both bcaa's and saa's?
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby flike » 26 Jul 2012, 08:15

Formosa Fitness wrote:Shoes depend on how much you exercise and what type you're doing. Running pounds the body and a good pair of shoes can make all the difference. Olympic lifting demands that you have a certain type of shoe for stability or you will court an injury. In these cases, normal shoes just won't work. Now that doesn't mean all the bells and whistles in the ads are justified. They aren't. But companies are just using marketing to sell their products.

Very true. In my experience, old skool Converse Chuck Taylors work great for any kind of lifting that involves moving your feet under a loaded barbell.

Relatively cheap, too.

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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby Formosa Fitness » 26 Jul 2012, 10:01

flike wrote:What does your practical experience tell you about both bcaa's and saa's?


First, that BCAA pills cost a lot. Get powder if you can but dang does it taste terrible. True story, I got a BCAA pill caught in my throat and it dissolved. I coughed and a whole cloud of BCAAs came out. Tasted awful.

That said, a lot of people say they find BCAAs useful, others say there's already enough in protein when consumed in quantity. My guess is if you feel it's useful, then go for it. People's protein sources are different, their situations are different, etc. A lot of people use BCAAs to do fasted workouts (on an empty stomach) and that's certainly one use for them.

I don't know much about SAAs.

About the Chuck's, some people find them useful but having a flat sole isn't so good for actual OL. Having the raised and solid heel makes a difference for the OL because that shift forward can assist in catching cleans, it helps with the first pull, and it feels noticeably different on the split jerks. But Converse is good for most lifting.
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Re: 'Lack of evidence' that popular sports products work

Postby urodacus » 26 Jul 2012, 10:37

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