Check if the company you’re buying from is an ESSNA member: either by checking the ESSNA website members’ page or by looking for the ESSNA kitemark on the product you’re purchasing
Only buy products that list all their ingredients and their quantities (not proprietary blends, which don’t tell you exactly what’s in them)
If you’re serious about your sport and want to compete in a competition, you might want to look for voluntary certifications by companies such as LGC (Informed Sport) or NSF on the labels, which indicate that the product has been independently tested for banned substances
Check the labels and claims on the product. Legitimate claims are those state benefits such as:
- Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise
- Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water during physical exercise
- Creatine increases physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high intensity exercise
- Daily creatine consumption can enhance the effect of resistance training on muscle strength in adults over the age of 55.
- Protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass
- Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass
- Information on beneficial nutrition properties, which a full list of can be accessed here
Be careful of counterfeit products. Where possible, buy a brand directly from the manufacturer or brand website/store, or from a well-known and reputable retailer
Use dodgy-looking websites
Buy from companies selling products with any of the following substances in them:
- World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances
Buy products from websites advertising products from outside the EU – the European Union has a set of laws designed to protect you, and products exported from other countries may not necessary follow the same laws. Stick to being safe and only purchase products from European manufacturers and retailers, unless they are an ESSNA member, in which case they will be international companies that specifically produce compliant products for Europe. Remember, you can find out if a company is an ESSNA member or not by looking for the ESSNA kitemark or logo, or by checking our members’ page here
Buy any steroids and/or any hormonal products – these are NOT sports nutrition products and could put your health at serious risk
Buy products that promise dramatic results. If the claims sound too good to be true, they almost definitely are. Avoid products that make claims such as:
- Lose 10kg in a week/ fast weight loss that works
- Increase fat burning potential with the best fat burner pills
- Build up to 10kg of muscle in 2 weeks
- Reduce your appetite, regulate your cravings to lose weight
Buy a product that is considerably cheaper than all the competition. The fact is, no reputable company using high-quality ingredients can manufacture high-end products cheaply. Unless there is a sale, if the product feels too cheap, avoid it!
We’re also producing some product specific guides to give you more guidance on what to look for for all things sports nutrition. We’ve started off with a protein guide but are working on separate guides for all categories and will continue to upload those to this page as we go along – so please keep checking back!