Depending on the sport and level of competition, 40%–100% of athletes use sports supplements, such as creatine and certain stimulants. Now, a study in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport suggests that athletes who turn to legal performance-enhancing supplements can have more favorable attitudes toward illegal doping than nonusers. The researchers used data from 557 individual and team sport athletes who completed a Sports Supplements Beliefs Scale.

What’s important to note is that it is not the protein powders and other supplements themselves that lead to more positive opinions on doping, but the underlying reason for their use—the view that they are necessary to bolster performance.

This belief over time can bring about an attitude that using banned substances is also an acceptable and appropriate method by which to improve performance. Tailored antidoping education for athletes could help prevent the progression from openly purchasing supplements at a GNC to acquiring illegal aids by shadier means.

See also: 5 Common Athletic-Performance Supplements: What’s the Evidence?