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Consumers could be wasting their money on sports drinks, protein shakes and high-end trainers, according to a joint investigation by BBC Panorama and the British Medical Journal. The investigation into the performance-enhancing claims of some popular sports products found “a striking lack of evidence” to back them up.
A team at Oxford University examined 431 claims in 104 sport product ads and found a “worrying” lack of high-quality research, calling for better studies to help inform consumers. Dr Carl Heneghan of the Oxford University Centre for evidence-based medicine led the independent research into the claims made by the makers of sports drinks, protein shakes and trainers.
Dr Heneghan said the mountain of data included 101 trials that the Oxford team were able to examine before concluding: “...the quality of the evidence is poor, the size of the effect is often minuscule and it certainly doesn’t apply to the population at large who are buying these products.”
Nutrition expert professor Mike Lean has been quoted in a BBC report saying the market for supplements is “yet another fashion accessory for exercise… and a rather expensive way of getting a bit of milk.”
A new dimension for printers
Three-dimensional printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is heading straight for the mainstream. Common products created via 3D printing include jewellery, figurines and cell phone cases.
Rather than creating a detailed object by sculpting it from materials, computer savvy consumers can create designs online and download them turning them into physical objects, creating them layer by layer. While the technology has been around for decades, prices are dropping and experts predicts the technology will become commonplace in consumers’ homes by 2013.
There is a potential for future concerns surrounding the creation of counterfeit goods. Current intellectual property laws do not cover items created with a 3D printer, so there may be a grey area for 3D printing and physical replication, analysts say.