Reaching for a sports drink after a sweat session might seem like a smart idea, but researchers say the calories in the drink could cancel out your hard work.
University of Oxford scientists reviewed 431 marketing claims in 104 advertisements for UK sports products, including sports drinks, protein shakes and sneakers.
The team of researchers, led by Dr Carl Heneghan from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, could only find three studies that credibly supported the marketing claims of the products.
"In this case, the quality of the evidence is poor, the size of the effect is often minuscule and it certainly doesn't apply to the population at large who are buying these products," Dr Heneghan told the BBC.
"Basically, when you look at the evidence in the general population, it does not say that exercise is improved [or that] performance is improved by carbohydrate drinks."
But Alan McCubbin, accredited sports dietitian and vice president of Sports Dietitians Australia, told ninemsn that Australia has much stricter guidelines when it comes to marketing claims.
"Products here don't make performance claims — they just say things like, 'It has fluids and electrolytes to keep you hydrated', but they don't actually say 'This will make you perform better'," he said.
However McCubbin says sports drinks only need to be used by people exercising for longer than 90 minutes or at an incredibly high intensity.
"If someone is going for a half hour jog there is absolutely no need for it," he said.
"If you are doing exercise to lose weight, then if you suddenly replace your sweat loss with a drink that contains a whole lot of calories, you're potentially negating your exercise in terms of weight loss."
But he did say that sports drinks can be beneficial for people who want maximum performance out of their exercise session because they contain fluid for hydration as well as carbohydrates for energy.
"In those longer sessions it will help you perform better for a bit longer," he said.
"If the quality of the training is important to you, then including some carbohydrate would be of benefit."