Protein supplements give no benefit to athlete's performance, researchers find

Protein supplements give no benefit to athlete’s performance researchers find

(Medical Xpress) -- The sports drink industry makes millions of pounds from selling drinks and other supplements to people who want to increase their energy and stamina while exercising.

But when scientists reviewed the effects of the supplements they found they offered no more benefits than the protein found in a normal balanced diet.

Dr. James Betts from the Department reviewed the results of all existing research into the effects of supplements containing carbohydrate and protein.

He said: “While many carbohydrate drinks are often appropriate for individuals keen to enhance their performance, claims that protein can be of similar benefit are simply not supported by firm scientific evidence.

“Aside from these proposed effects during exercise, many supplement manufacturers claim that supplementing our diets with added protein may help the body to adapt to physical training.  Protein is of course an essential part of our diets but even athletes who are training hard will almost certainly get more than enough from the food they eat.”

Dr. Betts’ review of the available evidence, due for publication in the current issue of Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise, identifies that much of the research into these supplements has been conducted on people in the morning who have not been allowed to eat anything for a number of hours, so food in any form might be expected to be beneficial.

He said: “There is a need for more evidence showing whether these supplements can be useful under ‘real-world’ conditions, such as following exercise later in the day when usual meals will have already provided the necessary nutrients.

Dr. Betts said that people considering the use of such supplements should be aware of the strength of evidence supporting the desired effects and that this should be balanced against the possible risks.

He said: “An analysis of around 600 over-the-counter nutritional supplements was conducted a few years ago and it was found that 10-20 per cent were contaminated with anabolic hormones not stated on the label, mostly testosterone and nadrolone, with supplements purchased on the UK market at the upper end of this range (19 per cent).This alone suggests that the decision about whether or not to consume any requires an evidence-based risk-benefit approach and we should not be surprised if any personal experimentation results in muscle gain which could be entirely unrelated to the listed ingredients.”

Related Stories

Protein sports drinks proven to give best performance

date Dec 24, 2008

Sports drinks containing protein are better at improving athletes' performance. Research published in BioMed Central's open access Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has shown that drinks containing a mix ...

Protein supplements are misused by athletes

date Jan 19, 2010

Protein supplements don't improve performance or recovery time and, according to a recent study, such supplements are inefficient for most athletes. "They are often poorly used or unnecessary by both high-level athletes and ...

Recommended for you

India's bidi workers suffer for 1,000-a-day habit

date 16 hours ago

Zainab Begum Alvi and her band of young helpers hunch over baskets filled with tobacco flakes and dried leaves, trying to roll a thousand dirt-cheap cigarettes a day at the behest of India's powerful bidi barons.

Key to better sex ed: Focus on gender & power

date Apr 17, 2015

A new analysis by Population Council researcher Nicole Haberland provides powerful evidence that sexuality and HIV education programs addressing gender and power in intimate relationships are far more likely ...

Journal tackles aging policy issues raised by White House

date Apr 17, 2015

In anticipation of the forthcoming 2015 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has produced a special issue of The Gerontologist that outlines a vision for older adults' econom ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Duude
Jul 05, 2011
The ready availability of a quick portion of protein is the key. Not everyone can prepare a protein meal as often as is needed. What's more is its best advised to consume a protein meal within 90 minutes after a high intensity session in the gym.
mbeezie
Jul 05, 2011
@Duude, can you provide evidence to back up these claims? What you are stating sounds a lot like the usual anecdotal gym rat advice, but has it been borne out in studies?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.