BBC looks to LJMU for expert nutritional advice

BBC looks to LJMU for expert nutritional advice

Professor of Human Physiology Graeme Close offers expertise on the multi-billion pound protein supplement industry for TV documentary.

BBC iPlayer doc still

When the BBC started to research and record an emotive ‘Newsbeat’ documentary on the hot topic of protein supplements, they turned to LJMU’s sport nutrition department for expert advice.

Examining the effectiveness of protein shakes and bars, popular among lots of students, the programme features the views of experts and users: “We are trying to build the world’s greatest sport nutrition department at LJMU,” said Professor Close. “So we always welcome the BBC and the programme was very good.”

The main focus of the 30 minute doc was on Ali, a 23-year-old dentist from Cardiff who takes protein supplements, and his meeting with Professor Close. “I demonstrated to Ali that protein supplements are not needed - but if he feels they are more convenient than eating food, then that’s his call.”

The intriguing documentary, available on the iPlayer now, revealed the relevance and currency of this hot topic of university life, as students attempt to balance a healthy lifestyle with a strict timetable. “Supplements can be useful for convenience, but the key was to show that they are not essential if you can get your diet right.”

The film has proved a big hit with iPlayer viewers and Professor Close is happy with how it all turned out: “It’s an excellent and balanced programme,” he said. “Often these kind of shows tend to have an agenda and only give one side of the story – but I was happy with how they allowed me to bring balance to what can be quite an emotive topic.”

Graeme CloseIt certainly can. After all, the British Dietetic Association believes marketing for some protein products is “wrong and immoral” and means thousands of people are using the popular powders as a “substitute, not a supplement”. Professor Close agrees: “We work in professional sport, so we know what questions need answering,” he revealed. “We use cutting edge science to answer these questions at LJMU and then share our findings in the real world.”

The documentary has led to more debate and demonstrated the University’s expertise in the field to millions of BBC viewers. “We produce world class research and engage with some of the world’s greatest athletes,” said Professor Close. “We are perfectly positioned to comment on sports nutrition. Plus, with our social media engagement and traditional media influence, we are able to share these results with the world.”

If you're interested in studying Sport and Exercise Science, take a look at the courses on offer at LJMU.


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