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The AIS Supplement Framework

Apr 22, 2021

Today on Coffee & Questions ☕️   I gave a brief overview of the...

It is an EPIC, evidence-based resource from the great minds of Sports Nutrition. As a globally recognised framework, I think it's important to showcase. 

You can check it out HERE

Before you reach for your supplements though, I want to share with you my philosophy.

My philosophy

As a Dietitian, my philosophy is always “food first”. Focus on eating unprocessed, real foods as the foundation of a good evidence-based sports nutrition plan. It's not until you've nailed the foundations that you would consider adding supplements. They should be used as a supplement to a great diet. Not the first point of call. 

Remember to build your nutrition cake or pyramid in the right direction. I talked about this in more detail last week. If you missed it, check it out HERE

HOWEVER, some supplements and sports foods can play a small (sprinkles) but valuable role in your plan ONCE THE FOUNDATIONS ARE LAID

The AIS Supplement Framework

The AIS Supplement Framework provides a nice little framework that ranks sports foods and supplement ingredients into four groups - A-B-C-D - according to the scientific evidence that they can safely and practically contribute to an athletes performance goals.

It focuses on sports foods and individual ingredients rather than a specific brand or product. 

From an athlete perspective - there is less risk and more control when you take a single-ingredient supplement rather than multi-combinations. For example, taking creatine in its purest form rather than a creatine + caffeine + protein supplement.

Group A

There is strong scientific evidence for use in specific situations in sport using evidence-based protocols.


  • Sports Foods

e.g. Sports drinks, sports gels, sports confectionary, electrolyte supplements, isolated protein supplements, mixed macronutrient supplement (bar, powder, liquid meal)

  • Medical Supplements

e.g. Iron, calcium, vitamin D, multivitamin, probiotics, zinc

  • Performance Supplements

e.g. Caffeine, B-alanine, bicarbonate, beetroot juice/nitrate, creatine, glycerol

Group B 

Supplements of special interest or with some promise of benefits. Emerging scientific support deserving of further research


  • Food Polyphenols 

    e.g. Fruit-derived polyphenols (
    NZ Blackcurrant, Blueberries, Tart cherry, quercetin, pomegranate)
  • Antioxidants

    e.g. Vitamin C, N-Acetyl Cysteine
  • Tastants

    e.g. Menthol, transient receptor potential channel agonists (pickle juice), quinine

  • Other

    e.g. Collagen supplements, curcumin, ketone supplements, fish oils, carnitine

Group C 

There is no substantial scientific evidence to support worthwhile benefits

If a supplement isn't in A, B or D - it likely fits in here at C


  • Category A and B products used outside approved protocols.

    e.g. Fruit-derived polyphenols

  • Named Products

    e.g. Magnesium, alpha lipoic acid, HMB, BCAA/Leucine, phosphate, prebiotics, Vitamin E, tyrosine

Group D

Prohibited or at high risk of contamination with substances that could lead to a positive doping test


  • Stimulants

    e.g. Ephedrine, strychnine, sibutramine, methylhexanamine (DMAA), 1,3-dimthylbutylamine (DMBA), other herbal stimulants

  • Prohormones and hormone boosters

    e.g. DHEA, androstenedione, 19-norandrostenione/ol, other prohormones, Tribulus Terrestris and other testosterone boosters, maca root powder

  • GH releasers and "Peptides"

  • Beta-2 agonists

    e.g. Higenamine

  • Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMS)

    e.g. Andarine, ostarine, ligandrol

  • Metabolic Modulators

    e.g. GW1516 (Cardarine)

  • Other (consult WADA list for all examples:

    e.g. Colostrum - not recommended by WADA due to the inclusion of growth factors within its composition

Thank you for tuning in to Coffee & Questions ☕️ today! That is a quick walk through the AIS Supplement Framework. Make sure you check it out.

I am really passionate about educating you on supplements and ensuring what you're taking is SAFE, EFFECTIVE, BENEFICIAL.

As always if you have any questions you need answering, drop me a message and I'll talk through it LIVE in the future.

Taryn x

 P.S. If you need help with building your cake base, the foundations - check out our Nutrition Fundamentals Online Course before even considering using a supplement


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