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Sports nutrition gains promise to level up endurance performance

Deep inside Maurten’s hydrogel
Sports nutrition firms and researchers are continually tweaking formulations to solve the perennial paradox of endurance sports: the fact the human gut can struggle to process the sugar load required to fuel efforts over multiple hours.

Gastro distresses bound across the endurance sports spectrum for this reason.

The likes of alginate hydrogels and shifts from the somewhat standardised 2:1 glucose to fructose ‘dual fuel’ ratio attempt to address the issue.

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‘Start with the dream and build backwards’: Beauty must tackle sustainability challenges post-COVID

Image by David Christensen from Pixabay
COVID and climate crisis-shaken consumers demand more from beauty, experts believe there remain hurdles in packaging, brand communication and supply chain logistics before industry reaches the zero-waste dream.

But ratcheted-up recycling, reuse and circular systems, joined-up communications and materials innovation (wood anyone?) are offering plenty of hope.

“Wood is natural by definition. It’s refillable,”​ said Pierre-Antoine Henry, head of categories at Spanish beauty packaging specialist Quadpack, at last month’s WeCosmoprof International’s Sustainability, For Now and Next​ CosmoTalks webinar​ elegantly moderated by CosmeticsDesign-Europe editor, Kacey Culliney.

“Of course, if you refill, it means you can go for packaging that you bring more time, love and durable materials to because you are keeping the initial pack. So, it could open up a lot of creativity because you can invest a bit more money in the initial packaging,” ​Henry said during the expert panel debate.

Reusable packaging, he said, offered the golden path to waste reduction.

“The more you reuse, you have the impact on the environment of a single-use. This, for me, is the dream. Start from the dream and work backwards.”

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Can CBD overcome its doping problem?

Brands like Biosportart are fighting to raise quality in the CBD sector…
The CBD sports nutrition sector had its game significantly boosted in 2018 when the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) removed the hemp-derived cannabinoid from its list of banned performance-enhancing substances – the market duly took off.

But the complex molecular profile of many CBD products means steadfast anti-doping guarantees remain difficult to achieve for a category seeking a legitimate seat at the table of clean sports performance.

“The sports nutrition category was slow to adopt CBD, but it’s now appearing in various products including pre-workout formulas, recovery drinks, and post-workout products,”​ said Rick Collins, partner at Collins, Gann, McCloskey & Barry in New York. “But drug-tested athletes use CBD products at their own risk.”

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) puts it this way: “Many products which claim to be pure CBD extract or oil from the cannabis plant have traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or other cannabinoids. Thus, a consumer who buys a CBD oil, extract, or other CBD product should be aware that there is a high likelihood it is a mixture of CBD and other prohibited cannabinoids, such as THC.”

USADA special advisor Amy Eichner told us anti-doping labs can test for and detect other cannabinoids​ of which there are more than 100 in common industrial hemp extracts – and all of which are banned by WADA in-competition except CBD (cannabidiol) along with THC below a certain threshold.

“Our recommendation to athletes is to not use any cannabinoid product, such as a CBD preparation, during or close to a competition,” ​Eichner said.

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Wear n tear…(into your PBs) – the latest in wearable tech

For half a century body monitoring wearable tech in sports has been all about one innovation: the heart rate monitor.

Finnish firm Polar in 1977 introduced a wireless HRM that revolutionised and popularised live-tracking of a key physiological biomarker: heart beats per minute. It had been done before, but only in labs with bulky, wiry machines. Polar’s wireless wearable strapped a really useful data gathering contraption onto the sternum of anyone interested in improving and optimising their performance. Sports science took a giant leap in 1977.

Until the advent of the power meter in the late 1980s, heart rate was the key metric for live-monitoring endurance sports performance.

These metrics remain vital statistics few competitive cyclists, runners or triathletes would go without (hands up who doesn’t own a power meter?) but there are some new kids on the wearable tech bloc and interest in them is ratcheting up fast among pro teams and athletes and into the amateur ranks.

Could blood glucose, core body temperature and blood O2 monitors become indispensable fields on your chosen GPS unit? Just this week the near-standard Garmin-backed ANT+ ultra-low power (ULP) wireless protocol that allows devices like GPSs and sensors to speak to each other, added ‘core temperature’ as a beta profile field for developers to work with, so it may not be long before it officially joins other ANT+ device profiles like ‘power’ and the lesser known ‘muscle oxygen’.

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Cereal killer: EFSA rejects Nestlé’s beta-glucan health claim

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has refuted a beta-glucan-based health claim from Nestlé – the Swiss food giant’s first EU health claim submission since 2010. Nestlé’s dossier linked oat and barley beta-glucan-fortified breakfast cereals with blood glucose management – but it was left to cry over spilt cereal milk after EFSA’s 16-strong health claims panel (plus four advisors) baulked over dosage and format.

A Nestlé spokesperson tells NutritionInsight “we’re disappointed” but highlighted “the positive feedback whereby EFSA confirmed the validity of the findings of one of our clinical studies”.

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