This summary is from the IAAF 2nd International Consensus Conference on “Nutrition for Athletics“ held in Monaco from April 18-20, 2007. Copies of the CD and booklet are available from the IAAF website www.iaaf.org.
Presenter: Ron Maughan (GBR)
The knowledge level of athletes concerning sports nutrition is not good and very much influenced by the supplement industry. Advertorials are often seen as a good source of information. In general, the supplement industry is better in communicating their message than are scientists.
It is recognised that because of limitations in research design it is very hard to prove if a strategy or supplement works. “No proven effect” is not the same as “proven no effect’: There might be an effect that cannot be detected by present research methodology.
Athletes should be warned against indiscriminate use of supplements. The risk of contamination of supplements with substances that are on the WADA list is very real. Some dishonest producers put substances like ephedrine in their supplements to make it work. Other supplements are cross-contaminated because doping substances have been produced in the same production line.
It is reassuring that only 4% of elite athletes buy supplements online, where most contaminated supplements are sold. However, purchase in a regular store is by no means a guarantee that the supplement is doping free. Even a disclaimer on the label offers no certainty. It should be concluded that there is no such thing as a risk-free supplement. However, risk can be minimized by buying from reputable manufacturers. Use only supplements with at least some scientific evidence.
In Germany and The Netherlands, the anti-doping authorities have made a list of checked product-batch combinations. This offers athletes the best risk reduction. Hopefully, other countries will implement a similar system.
The above summary was written by Peter Res
If you wish to download this handy Grams and Calorie Calculator for Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat, click here for the Excel spreadsheet.
This is part 11 of 14 in a series from the 2007 2nd IAAF International Consensus Conference “Nutrition for Athletics”