Skip to content

The Role of Caffeine in Sport


30 Jul 2014


Dr Jason Mazanov, Senior Lecture, School of Business, University of New South Wales
Prof. Louise Burke, Head of Sports Nutrition, AIS


Caffeine is naturally found in plants and is readily consumed in beverages, food and supplements including chewing-gum, by people in all parts of the world. It also acts as a central nervous system stimulant drug that can enhance athletic performance when taken in the right way. Since caffeine is widely available, socially acceptable, a valuable drug that is permitted under the WADA Doping Code, it has become a substance of choice across sport. Like any substance, however caffeine can be misused and may be damaging to health. Greater understanding of the new insights about caffeine and its use is warranted, in light of the increased and different ways in which caffeine is presented in daily food and supplement supply. This AIS Smart Talk will discuss the role of caffeine in sport that will allow athletes to make safe and ethical decisions about how, when and why they use it.

‘Caffeine was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List in 2004 and currently, its use in sport, is not prohibited. Caffeine is part of WADA’s monitoring program; this includes substances which are not prohibited in sport, but which WADA monitors in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport. The 2010 and 2011 monitoring program did not reveal global specific patterns of misuse of caffeine in sport, though a significant increase in consumption us the athletic population is observed’ (Source: World Anti-Doping Agency).


Part 1: Dr Jason Mazanov is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Business at the University of New South Wales. His research interests cover sports management and drugs in sport. Jason completed his PhD in Mathematical/Health Psychology in the context of adolescent smoking behaviour but has now shifted his focus to looking at the causes and consequences of drug use in sport, including alcohol, illicit drugs and doping. He is the author of an article entitled ‘Rethinking the management of drugs in sport’, which outlines his shared thoughts on evoking policy in this field. As such, Jason has collaboratively developed an empirical choice model of athlete doping that outlines the decision making that underpins doping behaviour. Jason’s presentation will explore the role and rise of caffeine in sport at all levels, highlighting the need for sports practitioners to, not only, give the right advice, but also be able to identify abuse.

Part 2: Professor Louise Burke is a sports dietitian with more than 30-years of experience in the education and counselling of elite athletes. Professor Burke has been Head of Sports Nutrition at the Australian Institute of Sport since 1990.

Her role as the dietitian for the Australian Swimming Team from 1991-2007 provided extensive overseas experience with the organisation of team travel and dietary concerns of the travelling athlete. She was the team dietitian for the Australian Olympic Teams for the 1996-2012 Olympic Games. Louise’s publications include over 150 research papers in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and the authorship or editorship of several textbooks on sports nutrition.

She is an editor of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. Louise was a founding member of the Executive of Sports Dietitians Australia and is a Director of the IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition. She is a member of the Working Group on Nutrition for the International Olympic Committee. In 2009, Louise was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her contribution to sports nutrition.

Return to top