August 9/Washington/American Beverage Association -- The American Beverage Association (ABA) has claimed that a high profile study questioning the benefits of sports drinks displays a "clear bias" by overlooking previous research.

A series of articles published by the British Medical Journal said there was a "striking lack of evidence" over claims that sports drinks help boost performance and recovery. The authors claimed it was "virtually impossible" for consumers to make informed choices about the effects of sports products -- including supplements and footwear -- based on available evidence.

However, the ABA, whose members include The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, hit back at the study. "It’s important to note that the series of articles in the British Medical Journal exhibited a clear bias by overlooking widely accepted research on sports drinks," it said in a statement.

The group added, "Suggesting that industry-funded nutrition-related scientific studies may bias conclusions fails to look at the merits of the science in those studies and disregards the integrity of the peer-review process enforced by the highly regarded scientific journals."

The ABA said that the ingredients in sports drinks offer "significant hydration and athletic performance benefits."

The British Soft Drinks Associaiton has also previosuly spoken out against the study.