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Should Soft Drinks Companies Sponsor Sports?

Posted in General Health 25 Sep, 2014

How gullible are we? It seems the general public, especially kids, keep falling for the same old marketing tricks rolled out by sports drink manufacturers. In a new review issued in the Journal of Medical Ethics, researchers are claiming there is no strong evidence that many nutritional supplements and sports beverages are good for health.

Well, that’s pretty obvious if you take a quick glance at the ingredients of the vast majority of sports drinks. Not only will you find it difficult to pronounce some of the chemicals listed, but if you weigh up all the ingredients, you’re more or less drinking pure sugar.

What about our sporting role models?

These high calorie, high sugar and caffeine heavy sports drinks are a growing area of concern for healthcare professionals, especially when huge sports manufacturers promote them like crazy. And it’s not only billion dollar manufacturers who are to blame.

What about some of the biggest sports stars in the world? Why do they continue promoting these products when they know children are so easily influenced by this kind of marketing? Don’t they make enough money from other lucrative advertising deals? It’s easy to understand the allure of standing in front of a camera with a can of diet soda and getting paid millions for it, but someone needs to draw the line.

Sponsorships from world-renowned companies like Coca-Cola, Powerade and Lucozade represent a direct attack on global efforts to tackle consumption of unhealthy food and drinks.

They only want your money

To sum it up, sports manufacturers only want your money. The basic goal of most of these companies is to promote their products and generate profit. Period. Why else do they invest so heavily in sports sponsorships? Such sponsorship, together with allied product endorsements and advertising, sees an upsurge in sales growth.

Don’t be fooled that their products are integral to sporting engagement and achievement. The sponsorship of global sporting events by sugary drink companies is part of their marketing policy to achieve one main thing, to encourage people, including school children, to drink more of their rubbish.

Leads to poor performance

Sports drinks are almost as bad as soft drinks. Therefore, excess consumption will increase the risk of obesity. And that’s what tends to happen when children get hooked on these drinks. Maybe Wayne Rooney is addicted to Powerade, the drink he famously sponsored during his ‘glory’ years. His glory years involve one world cup goal and carrying more excess fat than the regular footballer. And how about Steven Gerrard, the ambassador for Lucozade? He’s been more or less anonymous at all World Cups and Euro championships. Maybe all that Lucozade caused him to slip up and cost Liverpool the Premiership title last season.

There needs to be large-scale change

In 2009, the American Dietetic Association, Dieticians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine (are these all separate organisations?) published a joint statement claiming that nutritional supplements are advertising false claims about their products, while others are only helpful for a few sports.

If sporting authorities and sports stars stopped sponsorship deals with these drink companies, a big financial gap would be created, but remember what happened with the gradual restriction of tobacco sponsorship? If proper rules are followed, there will not be a wholesale collapse of sport like some drinks manufacturers love to argue. Perhaps they’re all high on sugar if they really believe that.

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