Science says - are we getting fooled?

We as cyclist and couch athletes are being told what to eat, how to train and what to buy BUT…

What does science say about all these “advice’s”, and how do we even stand a chance of knowing if any of these claims hold water?

My inspiration came from an article that basically states - electrolyte intake is almost worthless and that salt tables are of no use.

I had a few problems after reading:

  1. The article contains different scenarios for a 2 hour run and so I have no idea if this even relates to cycling.
  2. I can’t verify the author to be a reliable resource of information.


Would it be possible to make a section dedicated to ABSOLUTE “current science says”, answers to the legitimacy of current therms, snacks and diets?

I myself would pay a monthly fee to gain access to this type of information and to keep the researchers / scientists honest.

What I am suggesting must already exist somewhere but I haven’t been able to find it online

note: creating this post I could not find any Science category or science tag.


That article is excellent and I like your forum idea.

Would love to know if those hydration tablets genuinely work to hydrate you faster or not.

Hi Emil, I’m fairly passionate about science reporting in print or online, and I totally support your goals.

The trouble is that one of the whole points of science is that there is no “absolute” answers, it is designed to change as the evidence does, so I’d imagine more a wiki page with each subject, and links to supporting research papers.

Wikipedia does a fair job of this, but you need to see the quality of references and be prepared to take part in editing Wikipedia…Plus, you still have to make up your own mind.

The monthly fee you’re considering could go to legitimate scientific and medical research bodies that ratify research papers. But this is no easy reading, it takes effort and knowledge to get through a hefty research paper.

…These are the reasons we usually just get a headline summary from a science journalist.

But don’t be disheartened, I think you’re doing a good thing, just be prepared! :+1:


This is a bit of a hobby horse of mine I’m afraid. If you forgive the pun, you need to take with a pinch of salt a great deal of the information presented as science or research that is available to the general public on the internet. And even when interpreting what looks like science or research you still need to be able to critically appraise what you are reading to be able to make a judgement on whether what the article is saying is actualy the case. Just because something is in a scientific website, that doesn’t automatically mean that the conculsions are valid.

A vast proprtion of scientific research isn’t freely available to the general public on the internet. It’s available to academic bodies through subscription. A google search of articles availble does not constitiute research either.


Thank you for reading and replying to my post :slight_smile: !

I put in “current science says”, as i am aware its always a reflection of the present and could be changed at any time… However wiki pages are easily contaminated by bad information.

It should be possible to get some answers in the “for dummies”, kind of way.

An example of this could be:

Headline: The effect of electrolyte tabs for endurance athletes
Short answer: Little to no effect for endurance athletes

Short answer author: John Doe - title and reputation
Current research : [LINKS here]
Research funding: [Who payed for this research]

Historic answers: [Opens history for this subject if there has been any changes]


N=1 - no electrolyte tabs (High5) cramp. Electrolyte tabs - no cramp.

Now, is that because the tabs made me consume more liquid because I was conscious of it? Maybe. But even if thats one of the reasons…it works. :slightly_smiling_face:


As I understand the issue of electrolytes is that if you only replace what you lose through sweat with water, then you may dilute down essential body salts to the point where it becomes seriously dangerous. (Technical term is hyponatremia)

BUT you need to take in several liters of water for this dilution to become a serious problem, but your body can really only absorb about a liter per hour.

The study is probably correct for a 2 hour timeframe, but if you start talking about 4-5 hour hot bike ride, replacing electrolytes becomes much more important. Obviously temperature, humidity, acclimatisation, salt intake through food, what you are doing for the rest of the day, etc become factors in how much electrolytes you lose, and how important it is to replace those electrolytes.

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Wait. Do you mean that might not be 100% peer-reviewed evidence-based research? NOW you tell me.


Oh, speaking of which, you still owe me for those quartz crystals I gave you to help you win your races. And I just got a shipment of dream-catchers that you can use to ward off evil spirits which pester you during workouts.


Pub Med

Google search will get you what you are looking for.

Eg google - electrolyte ncbi - and you’ll get a list of scientific research on electrolytes. You get abstracts and some papers for free. Others by subscription.


Ross Tucker is legit

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PUbmed is sort of what Andy is talking about. I have subscriptions through my work and still only about 10% of the abstracts posted on pubmed are available through my subscriptions.

Elsevier usually has more content and free articles


@Bioteknik is this your recommended resource?:

It could work but I was thinking about this on my lunch run - people get very upset if they feel they are being told they are wrong, no matter how wrong or right they are. Perhaps it would be less upsetting if it were something a bit like:

Headline: Supplementing electrolytes for endurance sports

For x research papers
Inconclusive y research papers
Against z research papers

Then list the links for each?

This would allow people to draw their own conclusion from raw numbers or read the supporting papers.

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Better to skip through that and use the link, powered by elsevier contains 250,000 open access articles.

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that’s their goal. Try to give unbiased information about supplementation and nutrition by using research that’s available. They also kinda weigh the different results from research…

That would be the “science says” source you could be looking for


This is a great idea but as mentioned already it would need to be based on scientific papers for recognized sources such as elsevier. Using posts as the link from on the original thread can be dangerous because although they might make sense(and that specific one does make sense for efforts under 2h) they lack proper scientific back up - in other words, it is not science, it is just someone’s interpretation of a given subject.

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I would love it, but think it’s a minefield tbh. Scientific studies often “suggest” rather than “prove”.

Examples I frequently run into are around diet - as well as all the “bro science” around protein and amino acids, there’s the whole sugar addiction thing (based on rodents), the benefits of Intermittent Fasting on body composition (there’s some studies that have suggested additional benefits above being a way of maintaining calorie deficit, but very far from conclusive).

N=1… electrolyte tabs have zero effect.

As long as someone is willing to market something, there will be a market for it. Science often takes forever to do anything “absolutely”, so you’re probably going to have to try things for yourself and see as with this case.

For me, K.I.S.S. seems to be a good general rule with respect to nutrition, fueling, and supplementation. I try and limit to things that have been shown by science to absolutely work - carb fueling to replace glycogen; tart cherry juice… and avoid the other marketing claims - multivitamins and just about anything coming in tablet form; lactate reduction capsules; compression socks while running… it’s all unregulated so buyer beware!

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