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Caffeine Health Claims on Sports Supplement Labeling. Analytical Assessment According to EFSA Scientific Opinion and International Evidence and Criteria

European Union

May 05, 2021

Caffeine is a food supplement widely consumed by athletes, but it has not been established. So far, the veracity of their labeling in terms of the dosage and cause/effect relationship aimed at the consumer. The aim is to analyze the health claims and the dosage presented on the labeling of caffeine supplements and to evaluate if they follow the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and international criteria. A descriptive cross-sectional study of a sample of caffeine supplements was carried out. The search was done through the Amazon and Google Shopping web portals. In order to assess the adequacy of the health claims, the guidelines of reference established by European Food Safety Authority were compared to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, International Olympic Committee, and Australian Institute of Sport guidelines; in addition, recent systematic reviews were addressed. A review of labels of 42 caffeine supplements showed that, in less than 3% of the products were the health claims supported by the recommendations and by the labeled quantity of caffeine. The claims that fully complied the recommendations were, improves or increases endurance performance, improves strength performance, or improves short-term performance. In most cases, the recommended dosage was 200 mg/day for these products, which is the minimum for the caffeine effects to be declared. The rest of the health claims were not adequate or need to be modified. Most of the health claims identified indicated an unproven cause and effect, which constitutes consumer fraud, and so must be modified or eliminated.

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