Nutritional supplements are all the rage among athletes, even on Sundays

Whey protein, made up of 80% whey protein, helps build muscle mass. Illustrative photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Ten years ago, “nutritional supplements were frowned upon, people confused them with doping products like steroids,” says Thibault InShape, a 30-year-old sports YouTuber whose channel has nearly nine million subscribers. But thanks in part to the advent of social media, there is “democratization,” especially among young people.”

Like many others, the muscular influencer promotes nutritional supplements and launched his own brand in late 2019, which now appeals to customers “from 16-17 to 50+,” t-he elaborates.

The nutrients contained in these foods are already present in the main diet, such as meat, eggs, fruits or dairy products.

But “what’s appealing is the feeling that it helps speed up results,” coupled with the “social media body cult,” develops the YouTuber while acknowledging that “supplements aren’t magic.” “The basis of everything is rigorous training and a healthy diet, that is, varied and balanced,” he says.

Marketing Innovation

Very popular among athletes, whey protein (consisting of 80% whey protein, also called whey protein) is aimed specifically at supporting muscles and helping to build muscle mass.

But there are plenty of other products—branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, omega-3s, collagen, vitamins, L-carnitine, and more—that promise improved athletic performance, muscle hypertrophy, weight loss, or even better recovery.

“In fact, in recent months, manufacturers have redoubled their efforts to overhaul recipes and packaging in order to expand their customer base,” emphasizes Cathy Alegria, an expert at economic analysis firm Xerfi, in an article published in early 2022.

Unlike drugs, marketing of supplements does not require a marketing permit and there are now dozens of online sales sites. Large retail chains are also gradually mastering this profitable niche.

vigilance and moderation

However, be careful not to use any product or just any old way of warning nutritionists, especially in a market where the offer is plentiful and of very different quality.

With high-intensity training, “a normal diet may not meet the needs, and this is where we resort to complementary alternatives,” explains Nicolas Aubino, dietitian nutritionist. But “the food base has to be right first and foremost,” the expert adds, also cautioning against the risk of “drifting towards truly dope products” in the name of “always more.”

Online shopping de facto exposes the athlete to a greater risk of consuming counterfeit nutritional supplements or supplements with a lot of chemicals, which can lead to positive doping controls and cause health consequences, says the French Health Security Agency (Anses).

The agency notes that the possible performance gains associated with the supplements do not exclude health risks, as there have been cases of adverse effects on the cardiovascular system (tachycardia, arrhythmia and stroke) and the psyche (anxiety and mood disorders), on the liver or kidneys. , especially in case of excessive consumption. Increased risks in the smallest, whose body is more sensitive than in adults.

“These are health-related products and should not be downplayed,” emphasizes Irene Margaritis, Associate Director of Risk Assessment at ANSES, recommending that a health professional be consulted if using nutritional supplements.


Source: L Orient Le Jour

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