The British Dietetic Association has lambasted an advert for protein supplements aimed at the under 30s for use of ‘wrong and immoral’ marketing to sell its products.
A burgeoning sports nutrition industry has sprung up on the back of claims that protein intake can allow gym-goers to train harder, fueling a 20% year-on-year rise in sales of such products over the past five years.
This growth flies in the face of official health guidelines from the NHS, which warns that people with pre-existing problems are at risk of kidney damage if they consume too many protein shakes, bars and tablets.
Speaking to the BBC’s Newsbeat professor Graeme Close from John Moore’s University said: “I always talk about supplements being exactly that. The rise of Instagram and Twitter makes people think you can buy these bodies out of a bottle.
"Some of the advertising by some of these companies is wrong and immoral.
"You will see some ridiculous claims that you can move from out of shape and overweight in four weeks by taking a pill.”
Despite these warnings, market research firm Mintel estimates that 42% of UK consumers aged 16 to 24 have made use of sports nutrition products over the past three months, spending a cumulative £66m on sports nutrition branded food and drinks products in 2015.