Nowhere in the triathlon world is this warning more appropriate than in the area of sports nutritional supplements, foods, and drinks. There is very little government regulation of these products in the U.S., and the manufacturers have a highly profitable business with a strong anti-regulation lobby.
When looking at these products with a critical eye - the incredible markups and total nonsense one sees!!!! "Sports" jelly beans at triple the price of regular jellybeans, just with a little extra salt in them. Jelly blocks at $2/bag which are practically the same thing as Chuckles candy for 50 cents but taste worse. "Sports protein" drinks which aren't nearly as balanced proteins as plain old milk.
In marketing their products, many vendors resort to making far-reaching claims and justify their products through the use of pseudoscientific babble. Monthly newsletters are put out by the companies selling these products which are filled with pseudoscientific nonsense which is intended to sound fairly plausible if you don't read it with a very critical eye for some actual objective evidence of efficacy.
In my opinion, one of the prominent examples is Hammer Nutrition, which targets the endurance athlete niche. Their resident "expert" and "Director of Research and Product Development" is "Dr." Bill Misner, who authors their "scientific" articles promoting their products. Let's take a look at his so-called "doctorate" credentials with a critical eye: He claims a "Ph.D." in 1996 (with high honors) and an "M.S." (with honors) in the same year from American Holistic College of Nutrition, Birmingham, Alabama. It seems this was changed to "Clayton College of Natural Health" in 1997. It's a non-accredited mail-order diploma mill, apparently (and they also market their own line of supplements and remedies). "Degrees" are available for $3500 to $9900. In the words of Quackwatch, "CCNH does have one potentially valuable aspect. Its credentials are a reliable sign of someone not to consult for advice."
You too can have a PhD, for less than you might spend on a new bike!! With high honors, even! Then you too can become a Director of Research and Product Development for a nutritional products company!
I should have gotten into the business of marketing sports nutrition products long ago - I'd be a lot wealthier now. Unfortunately I must be ethically-impaired, at least in the marketplace, because I just couldn't bring myself to BS people shamelessly into buying products that are at best, needlessly expensive and worse, often totally ineffective.