How Sports Nutrition became a $50 Billion Industry

We have come a long way in our supplement game. Thanks to the progression of sports nutrition, there is no longer a need to drink your grandfather’s recipe of two raw eggs a day. Today, athletes of all levels have an array of options to help boost their fitness game. From shakes, to bars and even mochi, the choices are endless, and the sports nutrition market is thriving.

Currently, the sports nutrition market is worth $50.84 billion worldwide. By 2023, it is estimated that it will be worth $81.5 billion.

Sports nutrition overall is the study and practice of nutrition and diet in relation to athletic performance. Some of the factors sport nutritionists focus on are vitamins, minerals, supplements, carbohydrates, proteins and fats and their relation to overall athletic performance and well-being.

Some of the supplemental products developed from data found in the field of sport nutrition include energy drinks, baked goods and various shakes which athletes and body builders consume to advance their health, performance and muscle development. Findings and products from sports nutrition plays a critical role in augmenting the valuable effects of physical activity, ensuing in improved performance, recovery and injury prevention.

The fitness and healthy lifestyle trend that has been growing globally now plays a vital part in the increase of modernization in the sports nutrition market. Sports drinks are often consumed by athletes to replenish electrolytes, and protein shakes made for bodybuilders to drink after a work-out are now being consumed by the general public.

Lehi Kafri, M.Ed.-Exercise Science, is a certified personal trainer who not only instructs her clients on the proper exercises to perform in the gym but gives guidance with nutrition. She noted that the ease of immediate access and the convenience of products from the sports nutrition market appeals not just to athletes but the general population.

“Society is extremely fast paced but also there’s a huge market for it and that means lots of opportunity for businesses,” Kafri said.

Last year, the fitness and health club industry generated over $80 billion in revenue worldwide. The United States contributed roughly $30 billion to that number.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), supplements that supposedly increase athletic performance may have adverse effects on developing bodies.

“If the products are cheaply made and pumped with fillers because they really aren’t needed, it proves more problematic for the consumer in the long run,” Kafri said.

Some protein powders or drinks can increase the level of cholesterol in the body, resulting in liver, kidney or heart damage. These side effects could lead to a risky compromise in both physical and mental health.

Kafri believes the disadvantages with supplements, such as shakes or protein bars, “lay with product quality and actual nutrition value.”

According to Statista, the United States has the largest number of memberships in health and fitness clubs internationally. Often, gym goers are encouraged to consume sports nutrition products.

“I personally try to steer my clients and the public away from protein shakes, bars, etc., only because we have gotten so far away from a normal diet of real food that people end up supplementing everything in their diet with crap,” Kafri added.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and dietetics, diets that include vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can optimize an individual’s sports nutrition.

“Get back to the basics, keep it simple, and do what works best for you and makes you feel good,” Kafri said.

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