EU sports nutrition group challenges carbohydrate health claims

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

ESSNA: "The changes we are asking for are minor but would have a very big impact."
ESSNA: "The changes we are asking for are minor but would have a very big impact."

Related tags Nutrition European union

Europe’s largest sports nutrition group says EU-approved claims around glycaemic carbohydrates are constrained by burdensome conditions of use and should be modified to avoid consumer confusion.

The six claims related to physical activity support and recovery and metabolism support, but the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) says they will create confusion for consumers.

“…the European Commission is in danger of failing to accommodate the needs of different groups of consumers, such as the higher energy intake requirements of sportspeople,”​ the group said.

“ESSNA asserts that the quantities specified for the conditions of use for glycaemic carbohydrates claims are too large and need to be altered to reflect the availability of glycaemic carbohydrates in normal foodstuffs and beverages, as well as sports nutrition products.”

“Given how important glucose claims are to sports people, ESSNA believes it is essential that the Commission shows flexibility and common sense on conditions of use and/or the wording of claims to allow the claims for products that are targeted at the many physically active people across Europe.”

Dr Adam Carey, Chair of ESSNA said: “We should focus on the specific needs of the sports nutrition consumer – this is a big and growing sector, from casual joggers through to professional athletes, and there’s a lot of misinformation out there…The changes we are asking for are minor but would have a very big impact.”

ESSNA has written to European government authorities including the UK Department of Health, urging for amendments while asserting its ongoing support for the European Union Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR).

The group stressed the importance of the claims, “particularly as plenty of misleading information is currently readily available in the public domain, and warned that not making the adjustments would result in public confusion, undermining the purpose of the NHCR.” 

The EFSA-approved claims in question

  • EFSA-Q-2013-00234: “Glycaemic carbohydrates and contribution to recovery of normal muscle function after strenuous exercise”
  • EFSA-Q-2012-00270: “Glucose contributes to normal muscle function”
  • EFSA-Q-2012-00267: “Glucose supports normal physical activity”
  • EFSA-Q-2012-00269: “Glucose contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism during exercise”
  • EFSA-Q-2012-00266: “Glucose is metabolised within the body’s normal energy metabolism”
  • EFSA-Q-2012-00268: “Glucose contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism”

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