Industry targets creation of perfect sports drink

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

The addition of protein to a carbohydrate-containing beverage
provides benefits superior to traditional carbohydrate based
beverages, claims the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) on sports
nutrition and performance.

Members of the industry-sponsored SAB, representing many of the world's leading firms involved with sports nutrition, met for the first time to review the latest science and clinical trials.

The objective of the board is to offer manufacturers of sports drinks and hydration products expert advice on the composition of the sports drink of the future in order to take advantage of a fast growing sector.

Sports drinks, which are designed to provide effective rehydration, boost sports performance and aid muscle recovery, have established themselves as a lucrative sector. The global sports drinks market grew by 10 per cent in 2005 to 9,700 million litres, according to the new 2006 Global Sports Drinks report from market analyst Zenith International, with fastest growth was recorded in Eastern Europe.

Consumption within this sector last year was up 19 per cent on 2004, though this was from a very small base.

North America remains by far the biggest market, accounted for 49 per cent of total sports drink consumption in 2005 and looks set to hold on to its global market lead to 2010.

"The sports drink category now encompasses a whole spectrum of different products - from advanced specialist sports nutrition for body builders and serious athletes to lighter products for everyday consumers,"​ said Zenith senior market analyst Sophie Carkeek. "It is broadening out with innovation at all levels so as to suit any exerciser, no matter what age or level of activity."

The SAB group concluded that adding protein to carbohydrate enhances the efficiency of carbohydrate utilisation. It also improves muscle tissue repair and reduces muscle fibre damage.

"The development of novel ingredients for sports beverages and their contribution to the athletes health and performance in the past few years has been astonishing,"​ said SAB chairman Jose Antonio.

"We can now plot a path towards the ultimate sports drink. Following our review, the SAB recommends that manufacturers focus on the addition of specific ingredients such as high performance peptides, (easily digestible protein sources), antioxidants and other nutritional ingredients."

Meeting in Turin during the 2006 Winter Olympics, the SAB studied existing sports beverages, ingredients and the latest scientific data on health maintenance and performance enhancement before developing an action plan for the development of sports drinks. The results of the SAB's deliberations and recommended action plan, covering research, development and trials of a range of new and existing ingredients, will be made available to selected parties.

"We are delighted that the SAB believes there is promise in the addition of high performance peptides, such as PeptoPro,"​ said John Dijkstra, DSM's business director for functional drinks. "We will be studying the SABs recommendations carefully and work closely with its members to help in any way we can."

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