"The truth about sports products"

Panorama, tomorow (Thurs 19)

61 to 80 of 126 messages
20/07/2012 at 13:01

Whilst I don't doubt the value of the Oxford lead research, in my own area of research I see published data supporting claims that are occasionally, at best, open to question .  I do feel however that Panorama has been dumbed down over the years to the level of Tonight on ITV and this episode showed that. For me, it didn't show that Sports products don't work, it showed that there is no conclusive evidence that they do.  Just as on swallow doesn't make a spring, one bloke in Calgary saying buy whichever shoes you like doesn't make a fact.

It appeared to me that BBC had decided that they wanted to prove that Product X was rubbish and then demonstrated it. I didn't see a balanced arguement with the researcher's peers arguing the opposite point. IMO without a double blind RCT with a suitable sample size, it would be difficult to conclusively prove that Product X works. Or not as the case may be. Until then, IMO, the jury has to remain out.

Loved Tim Noakes laughing about Diet energy drinks, I've always wondered about them. Then again, if the placebo effect works, all power to it. I personally prefer water.

Deb, red or green racing flats? Which is faster?

20/07/2012 at 13:15

It absolutely wasn't the case that Panorama had set off to prove that product X didn't work. You can read the research behind the programme. Oxford Uni had a predefined protocol for the study (as happens with science) that was to see what the science underpinning claims was. We had no idea what would happen before we started out.Given companies invest so much money into the science, it's disappointingly poor quality. I'm not convinced that some of these multi-billion dollar companies are unable to fund rigorous research.

I agree that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence - but that's not what people are buying into. They're buying into stuff on the notion that it's backed up with good science. That's simply not the case.

We have published the letter that went out to companies:


Dear xxx,




I am writing on behalf of a team of researchers from the BMJ (British Medical Journal) and the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine at Oxford University.


In the run up to the 2012 Olympics we are undertaking a piece of research analysing the evidence for sports health products. This will appear in the BMJ. Since we are on a very tight deadline we would appreciate your answers by the end of the week (18th May).


So far, we have used pieces of published research where possible. But we are aware that this might be the complete picture.




On your website you have listed the following references to scientific articles as evidence for




[Product names here]




Because we are trying to evaluate the evidence base across a range of products fairly, we would like to be sure that this represents a complete list of scientific articles that you have used to demonstrate how these products work.




[Found references here]


Do you think you could tell us:


If this is a complete list?


If not, what other data you have used to support your claims?


Is this published or unpublished?


If the research is published could you provide us with the relevant references?


If your research is unpublished, would you be willing to share it with us so we can fairly evaluate how your product works?




Please note, we are aiming to capture everything as accurately and fairly as we can. If you are unable to provide us with further information we will also note this in our research.


Don’t hesitate to contact us for further information, but we would appreciate a prompt response.







20/07/2012 at 13:22
"it didn't show that there isn't any evidence that they don't work, it just shows there isn't any evidence that they do" Sounds like the sort of argument the tobacco industry had for years.

I don't think you can say Panorama was dumbed down. It was presented at a level where it could be understood by it's audience. People who do sports. It wasn't for people who do research. I hate that kind of snobbery. The BBC is for everyone.
20/07/2012 at 13:28

"one bloke in Calgary saying buy whichever shoes you like doesn't make a fact" - no the programme did not rely simply on one anecdote. What message are you meant to give to consumers when there's a lack of good data for stability shoes or barefoot shoes?

20/07/2012 at 13:28

My concern about the programme is the dissing of sports shoes and the representation of barefoot running in a positive light in the same programme - now I am pro barefoot and use minimilist shoes or none if I am sure of the surface.  But surely  some of the same people who have bought into the 'energy drinks are essential for any period of of exercise' could now - go out thinking shoes are bad and run their normal distances barefoot without any build up - a few physios could do very well out of such a reaction

20/07/2012 at 13:32

Barefoot running wasn't shown in a postivie light. The point was made that you have to run in a different way if you are going to do it and it's not easy. Lieberman also said there's even less data to support barefoot running. Sports shoes weren't dissed - it was the bells and whistles that were questioned.

20/07/2012 at 13:38

Tenjiso - good point. According to EFSA there were two claims on caffeine (increased attention and increased alertness) considered "proven" for people in general (not specifically people engaged in sports).

The three claims considered "proven" for people engaged in sports were
increased endurance performance, increased endurance capacity, and
reduction in the rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise.

However, the European Commission have not sanctioned the latter claim as yet because of the harms of caffeine and the effect on kids.

It's worth pointing out that Oxford would dispute the quality of the science. You can read what they found about caffiene here:


20/07/2012 at 13:38

I thought it was a good programme, worth watching.  It reinforced my opinion that for the amount of running I do, sports drinks are not beneficial.  However, if I'm doing a 4 hour plus hike up a mountain, then they will be of some benefit.  Generally though I just drink water before or after a run.

As for protein/recovery drinks - I get  the argument that milk is all you need and have seen the results my boyfriend (who does ultra distance) gets when he drinks milk after long runs.  That said, I hate milk, so I use a brand of drink called 'For goodness shakes' which you mix with water.  I only use this when I run 9 miles or more and I have to say that after my first half marathon I found it really helped, so I will continue to drink it, as I believe it works for me.

With regard to shoes - not sure I agreed with that bit.  I struggled for about 2 years with shin splints and it's only when I got a pair of Brooks trainers and some orthotic insoles that my shin splints disappeared and made it possible for me to actually run more than once a week.  Now, I appreciate that some people's opinions that new runners are more gullible re shiny expensive trainers, but I say that the combination of orthotic and control shoe for over pronation has worked for me and if it isn't broken, then I'm not going to fix it just because someone is saying that expensive control shoes are pointless. 

20/07/2012 at 13:54
Your'e happy spending lots of money on sports shoes. The manufacturers are happy to sell you it. Everybody's happy(in Harry Enfield's Charcter)

The other Harry Enfield charcter would be the bloke in the Antiques shop(or sports shop in this case) called I Saw You Coming.
Edited: 20/07/2012 at 13:57
20/07/2012 at 14:01

You have your opinion Sussex Runner (NLR) and I'll have mine - it's a free country.

I have tried cheap trainers, neutral and control for over pronation and I had excruciating shin splints.  The dearer trainers (which I maybe buy once a year) may cost me more up front but if I run 3 times a week (or sometimes 4) then the cost per run over 52 weeks is £0.544 on an £85 pair of trainers.  I wouldn't say that is excessive.  Ultimately though, if I pay a bit more so that I can run pain free, then I am happy to, as is my choice, with my own money. 

20/07/2012 at 14:03

When one of the experts used in a programme is seen running barefoot - that shows it in a positive light to some viewers.  The point about needing to run differently for barefoot will nto have been picked up in amongst the talk about unsubstantiated  claims about cushioning and stability/motion control shoes.  People are going to go out and try it without lookinginto it properly.


20/07/2012 at 14:15

It does make me smile when I think about the shoe manufacturers marketing shoes to barefoot runners.  Genius.

20/07/2012 at 14:16

Deb thanks for coming on here and providing your take on the programme - am I right in thinking you worked on the M-O-M hip replacement story too?

(Not stalking, just work for an orthopaedics journal when not running!)




20/07/2012 at 14:26
Thankyou for allowing me my opinion Bob Roberts. I don't believe I ever suggested you weren't entitled to yours. Just suggested you were dim. Nice..but Dim
20/07/2012 at 14:31

The shoe manufactureres are protecting their market.  And its easy since there is alot of all the gear no idea tendancies - people WANT to beleive the hype.  I never pay alot of money but do have one pair of minimalist shoes (last years colour so £25ish quid).  I have also used £6 aqua shoes and would really like a funky collection of old style plimsols.

They are plugging into the fear of glass and dog shite just like the antibacterial cleaning products people plug into our fear of disease.

Sadly programmes like last nights although most of us could do with being shaken out of these crutches sometimes produce a backlash in some people which may cause other problems

20/07/2012 at 14:33
Deb Cohen wrote (see)

Barefoot running wasn't shown in a postivie light. The point was made that you have to run in a different way if you are going to do it and it's not easy. Lieberman also said there's even less data to support barefoot running. Sports shoes weren't dissed - it was the bells and whistles that were questioned.

And not one mention of the very real possibility of cutting your foot if you accidentally step on sharp stones or broken glass.  I wouldn't even run barefoot on a beach personally.

20/07/2012 at 14:36

It was on the BBC, enough said.

20/07/2012 at 14:41

I wouldn't want to run barefoot either - just not comfortable doing so. Having said that, the couple of pairs of racers I have are pretty minimalist, but very comfy. Like a previous poster, I tend to search out bargain running shoes online. Never had a duff pair that way, yet.

20/07/2012 at 14:44

I nearly always do everything on the cheap as well is either that or not afford to be able to do anything. 

20/07/2012 at 14:45
I think we were well aware it was on the BBC.

I think someone on the forum did mention stones and glass. I have one pair of minmalist shoes and I have more than once grimaced in pain after running on a stone. The smug beardy guy running in bareeet may not have looked so smug on my trailruns.
61 to 80 of 126 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW Forums