Check if the company you’re buying from is an ESSNA member: either by checking the ESSNA website members’ page or by looking for the ESSNA kitemark on the product you’re purchasing

Only buy products that list all their ingredients and their quantities (not proprietary blends, which don’t tell you exactly what’s in them)

If you’re serious about your sport and want to compete in a competition, you might want to look for voluntary certifications by companies such as LGC (Informed Sport) or NSF on the labels, which indicate that the product has been independently tested for banned substances

Check the labels and claims on the product. Legitimate claims are those state benefits such as:

  • Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions contribute to the maintenance of endurance performance during prolonged endurance exercise
  • Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water during physical exercise
  • Creatine increases physical performance in successive bursts of short-term, high intensity exercise
  • Daily creatine consumption can enhance the effect of resistance training on muscle strength in adults over the age of 55.
  • Protein contributes to a growth in muscle mass
  • Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass
  • Information on beneficial nutrition properties, which a full list of can be accessed here

Be careful of counterfeit products. Where possible, buy a brand directly from the manufacturer or brand website/store, or from a well-known and reputable retailer


Use dodgy-looking websites

Buy from companies selling products with any of the following substances in them:

Buy products from websites advertising products from outside the EU – the European Union has a set of laws designed to protect you, and products exported from other countries may not necessarily follow the same laws. Stick to being safe and only purchase products from European manufacturers and retailers, unless they are an ESSNA member, in which case they will be international companies that specifically produce compliant products for Europe. Remember, you can find out if a company is an ESSNA member or not by looking for the ESSNA kitemark or logo, or by checking our members’ page here

Buy any steroids and/or any hormonal products – these are NOT sports nutrition products and could put your health at serious risk

Buy products that promise dramatic results. If the claims sound too good to be true, they almost definitely are. Avoid products that make claims such as:

  • Lose 10kg in a week/ fast weight loss that works
  • Increase fat burning potential with the best fat burner pills
  • Build up to 10kg of muscle in 2 weeks
  • Reduce your appetite, regulate your cravings to lose weight

Buy a product that is considerably cheaper than all the competition. The fact is, no reputable company using high-quality ingredients can manufacture high-end products cheaply. Unless there is a sale, if the product feels too cheap, avoid it!

Check out our first mental health vlog!

Dr Adam Carey, Chair of European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) and CEO of Corlife, argues that we must “rethink the altar of work” if we are to truly tackle mental health challenges in a post Covid-19 world.


ESSNA produces product specific guides to give you more guidance on what to look for all things sports nutrition.


Our newest guide to vegan and vegetarian sports nutrition, in partnership with sports nutritionist and author TJ Waterfall, is out now! 

Vegan and vegetarian sports nutrition guide


ESSNA’s latest guide to sports nutrition pre, during and after exercise, is here.

Pre, during and post exercise sports nutrition


Our guide on exercise restrictions can be found below, helping you exercise across Europe and stay Covid-safe.

Guide on exercise restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic


ESSNA’s guide to home-based sports nutrition can be found below, helping you stay healthy at home during the pandemic.

Home-based sports nutrition guide


Our 12-steps to getting you started with sports nutrition, is here!  As millions of Europeans are told to stay at home, this guide will help you to tailor your daily physical activity and to start supplementing their indoors healthy lifestyle with sports nutrition.

Sports nutrition: A 12-step guide to get you started


Take a look at our protein guide, which tells you all you need to know about getting the right protein for you.

ESSNA’s 10-step guide to protein