The hunt for the ultimate sports drink may be at an end.

The first meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) on sports nutrition and performance has concluded that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate-containing beverage provides benefits superior to traditional carbohydrate-based beverages.

The recently-formed board represents many of the world's leading authorities on sports nutrition.

Adding protein to carbohydrate enhances the efficiency of carbohydrate utilisation, the board noted. It also improves muscle tissue repair and reduces muscle fibre damage.

"The development of novel ingredients for sports beverages - and their contribution to the athlete's health and performance in the past few years - has been astonishing" said Dr Jose Antonio, SAB chairman, earlier this week.

"We can now plot a path towards the ultimate sports drink. Simple carbohydrate-based sports beverages are no longer the athlete's best option. Following our review, the SAB recommends that manufacturers focus on the addition of specific ingredients such as high performance peptides, (easily digestible protein sources), antioxidants and other nutritional ingredients."

Meeting in Turin during the Winter Olympics, the SAB studied existing sports beverages, ingredients and the latest scientific data on health maintenance and performance enhancement before developing an action plan for the development of the ultimate sports drink.