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Reasons why Nutrition Labels are not helpful for Athletes

Nutrition Labels are facts labels which are required on most packaged food ,suggesting what nutrients,supplements and ingredients are involved in the food. Here we look at the reasons why Nutrition Labels are not helpful for Athletes.

Last updated: 10.12.2021
Reasons why Nutrition Labels are not helpful for Athletes

Nutrition Labels are facts labels which are required on most packaged food in many countries,suggesting what nutrients,supplements and ingredients are involved in the food. This gives the information about the composition of nutrients possessed in the product. These labels are very useful from the health perspective. However, it is meaningless to refer to these labels for an athlete.

Nutritional Elements

Nutrition labels on packaged-food products needs to adhere to the guidelines of their authorities, and also these guidelines vary geographically. Notably, these labels show us the listing of carbohydrate,fat and protein as well as many other nutrients.

Need for some nutrients increase with more calorie burns

For any type of athlete, it is known that they may expend 2000 kcal during training. But for the average person in our country, who doesn’t train everyday, the composition percentages.i.e Nutrition Label on the food package is appropriate.

Now, have a look at few examples:


Generally, if you reckon, people eats too much salt and this may have subversive effects and rampant challenges in terms of high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease. However, athletes sweat more and lose more amount of salt and hence they will always need to consume more salt. Notably, the general advice we see on food products is not useful for athletes who have salt needs which is may times than that of the recommended levels written on Nutrition Label.


Sodium is an electrolyte which affects absorption and hence it is important to know how much amount of sodium is used rather than salt. Notably, it is useful to know how much is the composition of  sodium is used.


The composition written on the intake mentioned in the sports nutrition products is questionable sometimes. On that note, the behaviour of the particular carbohydrate is more important to look upon. For example, Fructose and galactose are both sugars but behave very unsimilarly than glucose. And then also, these are grouped under “sugar”. Now, suppose a rider in the Tour De France will take the go past the specified sugar intake in the first hour itself and hence he would not be able to finish the race without sugar intakes. That’s why context is something to focus upon, and generalising these things are dangerous.

Missing Information

It would be delightful to know about the exact ratios used of different carbohydrates in a product. There is also information that is not relevant such as the amount of sugar versus carbohydrates and this missing information can create some confusion for athletes who train hard.


Authorities are considering the people generic view while labelling. But from the athletes perspective, manufacturers need to mentioned the composition in detail; they can make subgroups for each ingredient. To be more clearer about the ingredients used can give a clear picture to the athlete. And hence, the bottomline is that values mentioned on the Nutrition Label are adhered to the specific guideline, but are not useful for an athlete who trains hard.


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