"The truth about sports products"

Panorama, tomorow (Thurs 19)

101 to 120 of 126 messages
21/07/2012 at 08:53
More interesting chat! Seems to be the best forum for it. A few quick points- the reason why the programme didn't focus on what works we really struggled to find good science in any area. We read over 700 studies- and only found 3 good ones that all suggested that the product has no benefit on a particular outcome. In science, that says a lot.

So, for trainers that was injury, sports drinks it was performance etc etc. It's disappointing that these huge companies can't do better. Lucozade, for example, is owned by drug company, GSK. you'd have thought that with their immensely skilled scientists that they could have done better.

No-one said it wasn't fine to drink sports drinks- it is. Glycogen stores get depleted and you need replenishment in what ever form you like to take carbs. But why would sports drinks improve your performance? Do you really need them if you're not running for a long period of time?

Also, the idea that you need electrolyte replenishment isn't always true. You only lose tiny amounts in sweat and you automatically adjust your urine output accordingly. We consume far too much salt in our diets anyway and GSK confirmed to me that the amount of salt in their drink was "trace".

About trainers, there just isn't the evidence on a large scale that wearing stability shoes reduce rates of injury. It just doesn't exist- despite companies trying for many years to show they do.

I guess the point is think about how you run rather than just focus on what's on your feet. People have their own preferences, but I've been into lots of running shops and gone on the treadmills etc, had my gait analysed and been 'prescribed' a shoe. The evidence just isn't there to support this. It's a case of what feels right for you. No one is saying don't do it- just that it's not based on sound science.

Just one quick point- how many different foot shapes and gait styles are there and how much variance is there in the stability shoe?
21/07/2012 at 09:14

"Also, the idea that you need electrolyte replenishment isn't always true. You only lose tiny amounts in sweat and you automatically adjust your urine output accordingly. We consume far too much salt in our diets anyway and GSK confirmed to me that the amount of salt in their drink was "trace"."

That's interesting. I don't use sports drinks but I do use electrolytes (in the form of Nuun tablets or equivalent) during long runs on hot days. I'm not a big guy but I sweat out bucketloads and often get gritty white salt streaks down my face - so I'm obviously losing a fair bit of something. The Nuun tablets do make a difference, I do feel less lethargic afterwards if I take them. Not a scientifically valid trial, just going on my own experience. Even if it is all in my mind.

21/07/2012 at 09:55
That's essentially the conclusion we've come to after looking a literally hundreds of studies- Do what works for you through trial and error. It's just worth bearing in mind that what we do isn't necessarily backed up by sound science
21/07/2012 at 09:56

I think this is the difficulty. I share Muttley's experience of finding white deposits on my clothing after exertion (ooo er mrs) and using Nuun tablets. 

And, likewise, the experience others have described of suffering persistent knee pain when I first started running, having gait analysis and being "prescribed" different shoes, and the pain very quickly going away.

This is all just anecdotal, but it is hard for us to believe that the studies that find no proven benefit have not somehow missed the point.

21/07/2012 at 10:14

Thank you for giving the link to that open-access paper. I'm not sure how it relates to the programme -- it doesn't mention shoes at all.  I didn't see the original programme, but am now reading the paper.

On the topic of caffeine, I am enthusiastic user of gels with added caffeine. When not running, I am a heavy coffee drinker, and it would be unusual for me to go more than 2 hours without a coffee. So if I'm taking 4 hrs to do a marathon, (plus the time spent waiting around at the start), for me using caffeine gels is less about getting a big boost, and more just about avoiding withdrawal symptoms -- keeping my caffeine levels up to normal.

I noted the hypothesis "Carbohydrate and protein combinations improve post-workout performance and recovery"  versus the conclusion "The results of studies of supplements containing a variety of carbohydrate to protein ratios show inconsistent and generally small benefits in some measures of sports performance, but generally do not show benefits over and above a balanced and nutritious diet" which is actually a different point from the hypothesis. The question was asking "does a suitable mixture of carb and protein promote recovery" (as opposed to say beer, or pure carbs) and the answer seems to say that "normal food" with a combination of C and P is as good as a specially formulated supplement .... the answer to a different question.

21/07/2012 at 10:39

Dear Deb Cohen - you seem to have ignored the most important question posed directly to you, so can I push you for an answer please?

Red or green - which makes the faster shoe???

21/07/2012 at 10:53
Green with red go faster stripes. Whoever said: "red and green shouldn't be seen" plainly hasn't seen my fab speedy footwear
21/07/2012 at 11:03
We did ask shoe companies. It's detailed in appendix. We Couldn't name check everything in research.

We couldn't see evidence in the literature with certain mixes of proteins and carbs...

Mike- your comment about knee pain is interesting. The research is about prevention (do trainers prevent injury) and not treatment (do trainers help recover post injury). From a science perspective they are two different questions. There is there might have been all sorts of reasons for your knee pain getting better. You'd need to set up a study to adjust for those factors so you'd know if it really was the trainers or something else
21/07/2012 at 11:31

Damn! Mine are red with green!!

On the subject of the army testing - was it taken into account that those with flat feet are not generally allowed to join thereby making those tests unrepresentative of the general public? (I stand to be corrected if this is wrong but a general internet search suggests flat feet are a no-no in the army, including the US). My grandfather was exempt from active service in WW2 because of his flat feet (something I have inherited) and spent the war labouring at Air Force bases.

22/07/2012 at 17:10

Good programme- the funniest bit was Noakes' reaction to the question about low -calorie sports drinks.

Remeber that the programme was looking for the evidence to back up manufacturer's claims, just becuase there is no evidence, this doesn't mean that there is no benefit- many areas of medicine have no evidence base to them- can anyone show me the randomised controlled trial that proves that it is better to use a parachute when jumping out of a plane?

About the whole dehydration/ overhydration thing- there is a really good site from the doctor who works on the WHW race, emphasisng the risks of water intoxocation, and suggesting that 2-4% total weightloss is fine, aiming to maintain weight can lead to overhydration. Can't remember the link.

22/07/2012 at 20:12
So far the only thing thats really benefited my running are t-shirt that wicks sweat away.

Adverts for 'branded' trainiers that make you run faster - Also known as the 'Lynx effect'
23/07/2012 at 08:16
Deb Cohen wrote (see)
More interesting chat! Seems to be the best forum for it. A few quick points- the reason why the programme didn't focus on what works we really struggled to find good science in any area. We read over 700 studies- and only found 3 good ones that all suggested that the product has no benefit on a particular outcome. In science, that says a lot.

Deb are you saying your research was to read 700 studies?  Surely research, if it is to have depth, should run the scientific tests themself?

23/07/2012 at 10:58
JF50 wrote (see)
Deb Cohen wrote (see)
More interesting chat! Seems to be the best forum for it. A few quick points- the reason why the programme didn't focus on what works we really struggled to find good science in any area. We read over 700 studies- and only found 3 good ones that all suggested that the product has no benefit on a particular outcome. In science, that says a lot.

Deb are you saying your research was to read 700 studies?  Surely research, if it is to have depth, should run the scientific tests themself?

The Oxford researchers were not trying to validate individual products themselves.  They were researching whether the marketing claims of sports companies regarding their products were backed by sound scientific studies.

23/07/2012 at 11:14

Indeed Tenjiso - they performed what is otherwise known as a review article (or meta analysis).

A very valid and very useful form of academic research that helps to solidfy trends in science. Review articles are amongst the most highly cited forms of research by other articles because they are like a summary of everything published to the date they were written (when they are well structured and well researched of course).

23/07/2012 at 12:44

Hmm am I getting this right, the research was based on research which they suspect was not carried out using sound scientific studies.  So their findings seem highly unsound. 

23/07/2012 at 12:59

No you aren't.

They took existing studies and analysed whether they were sound. This was the hypothesis (paraphrased):

Is there enough evidence in scientific studies to support claims by sports product manufactuers?

The main outcome of the research was there was not. Thus they proved a negative on their hypothesis.

This does not make the review unsound because it did not proport to make any scientific claims such as, shoes are or are not good for you, it merely says that articles that show support shoes are good are incorrect (or more precisely badly designed) for x, y, z reason (e.g. all studies were done with 4 elite kenyans only weighing 40 kgs).

23/07/2012 at 16:01

I have just watched the sections on nutrition and hydration again.  Professor Tim Noakes grudgingly accepted that carbohydrate rich drinks were useful after an hour of intense activity, but then made the extraordinary claim that the average user only exercised 2 hours a week and walked most of a marathon???  I quite accept that they are not necessary for the average gym session and definitely not suitable for children.  I also accept that you can provide your own sources of carbs and water much more cheaply, but for some people the drinks are a rather more convenient way of taking these in than by pureeing a jam sandwich with 500ml water. As it happens significant numbers of people do train intensely and the majority of entrants run most if not all the marathons they enter so their use of sports drinks is entirely appropriate even by Prof. Noakes' standards.

I also thought that they gave a rather mixed message about electrolyte replacement.  You probably do need more sodium than the drinks provide if you do prolonged intense exercise, but imaging the reaction if they upped the salt content - there would be instant headlines 'saltier than a Big Mac' - damned if they do and damned if they don't.

My point is that the results were presented in such a way as to minimise any positive benefits sports drinks may confer when used correctly.

That said I shall stick to my tried and tested Stronbow/Salt'n'Vinegar crisp strategy for marathons and sausage roll/chocolate cake for anything longer...

 

Edited: 23/07/2012 at 16:02
23/07/2012 at 22:03

agreed with pretty much all of the programme, except on shoes. after months of problems with the upper right side of my leg, saw a physio for a thorough check. she recommended a certain "light stability" shoe and custom-cut insoles...after a week, pain disappeared and could run three times a week again

23/07/2012 at 23:45
I think what the program said and Deb clarified was that shoes don't prevent injury. The causes for injury are mainly related to over use.

They didn't ask whether a shoe can help with recovering from an injury. I think it can, in the same way that wearing a support bandage can.

ie It wasn't the wrong shoe that injured you in the first place, it was the amount if running you did.
24/07/2012 at 07:55
On a personal basis I find that I only need gels or other carb suplements if I am running for 90 minutes or more. There isn't any benefit in taking any on shorter runs. Unless it is very hot I don't even need water on runs less than half marathon length. Thus I only use gels (when I can remember to uby them) on my weekend long runs.

Re trainers
Fortuneately I ignored the gym attendant who tried to get me to run with a heel strike and I use low drop light weight Newtons. Unfortuneately they are very expensive and don't last long.
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