Gym bunnies puzzled by mixed messages over ‘healthy’ diets

Eight in 10 admit they are “clueless” over the nutritional benefits of different food types – and have no idea what they should be consuming in order to bulk up or slim down. Seventy-two percent of the 2,000 regular exercisers polled believe misleading food adverts are partly to blame for a lack of understanding over what is or isn’t healthy. But this doesn’t tell the whole story – 44 percent regularly get nutritional information from internet searches which can provide unsubstantiated claims.  

Commissioned by Optimum Nutrition, which has launched a nutrition education course for personal trainers and fitness experts, the study found just 15 percent utilise peer-reviewed studies and books.

And fewer than one in 10 tend to seek advice from a personal trainer (PT) – however, 30 percent would consider doing so in the future.

Paul Coppin, UK marketing director for Optimum Nutrition, said: “It’s surprising to see a large number of consumers so confused about nutrition when it comes to training for sporting goals – with many consumers potentially using unreliable sources for their nutritional information.”

The research also found around one in 10 actively rely on influencers on social media for their healthy lifestyle advice – despite them potentially issuing inaccurate information.

One in seven has even purchased a “nutrition product” after seeing it advertised by an online influencer even though they didn’t know if the item had proven benefits.

Carried out through OnePoll, the study also found a lack of understanding over what is good for you could also be dangerous when it comes to working out.

Typically those polled spend four hours a week exercising and two fifths have experienced lightheadedness, shakiness or dizziness during a workout.

Crionna Tobin, the head of science and education for Optimum Nutrition, said: “The new course addresses the most common queries and nutritional myths, from the principles of weight loss, demystifying diets, to how to eat to support performance.”

The Optimum Nutrition For Health & Performance Course launches this week and is available for PTs and fitness experts – further details are available here.

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