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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Claire Byrne Live debate on sports supplements sparks major debate online

Aoife Hearne and Ray Shah debated the use of sports supplements on Claire Byrne Live
Aoife Hearne and Ray Shah debated the use of sports supplements on Claire Byrne Live

Sasha Brady

Claire Byrne Live viewers were skeptical of one of the experts invited to discuss the benefits of sports supplements on last night's show.

The rights and wrongs of gym culture were debated on Monday night's show a panel of nutritionists and dietitians examined the question: has Ireland developed an unhealthy obsession with being healthy?

The debate around the use of sports supplements was led by Operation Transformation dietitian Aoife Hearne and former Big Brother contestant Ray Shah - who is also the Managing Director of Bodyfirst Nutrition, a company which supplies diet supplements.

Aoife argued that people feel under pressure to boost their regime with complicated supplements and suggested that they're an "expensive waste of time for the vast majority of people".

There are real dangers with using supplements at schools level. Picture posed by model
There are real dangers with using supplements at schools level. Picture posed by model

As a registered dietitian, she pointed out that supplements are only useful for athletes training at a really high intensity and not for regular people - those people should instead "put a little bit more focus on what they're eating".

She also expressed some concerns that the industry is not properly regulated, despite the fact that the Food Safety Authority claim that the products coming into Ireland are safe.

"Research has shown that 15 percent of supplements have contaminated stuff, like steroids, stuff that's not on the label," she argued. "We've seen athletes testing positive for something they thought was innocent."

However, Ray, on the opposing side, claimed that his shop is regularly visited by the HSE and argued for the benefits of supplements, insisting that he has seen some real changes in his customers.

"I've seen transformations, I've seen real changes. It is scientifically proven that these supplements do what they say they do," he said.

He explained that he doesn't just sell supplements to athletes but to "all sorts of people", including athletes, regular people and even teenagers who play sports.

The debate continued online as viewers expressed skepticism over Ray Shah's claims to expertise, with some feeling his views were driven by commercial interest rather than facts or qualifications.

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