In response to a public consultation on measures proposed by the UK Government to reduce obesity, the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) has argued that any restrictions implemented should not impact sports nutrition.
The Government’s policy paper – Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives – lays out steps to deal with obesity, including an intention to place restrictions on the promotion and advertising of products that are high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS. However ESSNA stresses that the Government must clearly define exactly what products will come under HFSS regulations and provide a clear list of exemptions for products intended for sportspeople in order to avoid consumer and industry confusion.
“There is a serious gap in the upcoming regulation of HFSS products in the UK; at the moment, we do not know whether the Government’s proposal is based on the Nutrient Profile Model (NPM), which looks at food composition while disregarding the specific purpose sports nutrition products serve,” says ESSNA chair Dr Adam Carey. “These products are, by design, made with higher levels of certain nutrients to cater to the specific needs of people engaged in high intensity exercise and other forms of activity, and the benefits of these products are very well documented in scientific literature.”
Sports nutrition products provide clear information and labelling to ensure that consumers have access to safe products
Carey states that blanket restrictions would risk harming a number of specialist food sectors, including the sports nutrition industry, and urges the UK Government to acknowledge and support the contribution of this industry in promoting healthy diets and active lifestyles.
“Sports nutrition products provide clear information and labelling to ensure that consumers have access to safe products and can make healthy, informed choices,” adds Carey. “The Government needs to provide adequate guidance to enforcement authorities in respect to the products that fall within the scope of the proposed legislation and clearly outline that specialist products, including high protein bars and carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks, should be exempt from HFSS restrictions.”