Ad description

The website, for a sports nutrition company, seen on 26 August 2015, stated “SIS … WORKS TWICE AS FAST AS ANY OTHER ENERGY GEL”.


The complainant challenged whether the claim “works twice as fast as any other energy gel” complied with the Code.


Science in Sport Ltd said that energy gels were used to deliver carbohydrate supplementation during endurance exercise. Because carbohydrate oxidation was high during endurance exercise, high glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrate sources such as maltodextrin were typically used to enable fast energy delivery. They said that their product was unique in that they used a specific maltodextrin which allowed them to create an isotonic formula and that the osmolality of a solution could affect the rate at which it emptied from the stomach, and subsequent absorption in the small intestine, and that, therefore, influenced how quickly energy became available to working muscles. They said that a liquid or gel had to have a tonicity of between 290 and 310 mmol/kg to be classified as an isotonic solution and that in one study, only one gel was found to be within that range and that gel was their own product. Because of this, they said that the study proved that they were the only isotonic gel on the market. Science in Sport provided an additional study and they said that both studies supported the claim made.



The ASA noted that according to Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, which was reflected in the CAP Code, only nutrition claims listed in the updated Annex of the Regulation (the Annex) may be used in marketing communications. In addition, products or ingredients must comply with the relevant conditions of use for permitted nutrition claims.

In the context of the webpage where it appeared, we considered that consumers were likely to understand the claim “works twice as fast as any other energy gel”, to suggest a nutritional benefit (providing energy at an increased rate) to those who took part in prolonged or high intensity exercise, compared to other energy gels.

We acknowledged the studies provided by Science in Sport however, they had not provided evidence to demonstrate that the comparative nutrition claim was listed in the Annex. The only ‘energy’ nutrition claims the Annex listed were “low energy”, “energy-reduced” and “energy-free”, and therefore “works twice as fast as any other energy gel” was not a permitted claim.

Because the ad made a nutrition claim that was not listed in the Annex, we concluded that it breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 15.1 and 15.1.1 (Food, food supplements and associated health or nutrition claims).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Science in Sport Ltd to make nutrition claims for their products only if they were listed in the Annex.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

12.1     3.1     3.33     3.7    

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