We see ads for large-brand sports drinks everywhere. Our favorite athletes and idols seem to be advocating these drinks.
Are sport electrolyte beverages necessary? How do you choose the best rehydration drink to help your family and yourself?
It can be confusing and misleading to use sports nutrition. However, there are great products available. You have to know which ingredients to avoid and when you should consume them.
Is it necessary to rehydrate your child or yourself with a water-based beverage?
Sports drinks are unnecessary for children and adults who exercise at a moderate intensity. Water is sufficient to hydrate them. Low-moderate exercise can be described as walking, yoga, light weights, swimming, biking, and medium-paced cycling.
Electrolyte replacement is needed after intense exercise for 30-45 minutes. It is best to determine if electrolyte replacement is necessary by:
- If you have broken a serious sweat
- You exercise at high intensity.
- You have participated in a long-distance race.
- You are engaged in a game of football or netball.
- If the exercise lasts more than 60 minutes
What should you avoid when choosing a drink that is high in electrolytes?
Most people do not recommend Gatorade, Powerade, and other rehydration products. Both have high levels of processed sugar. They can contain as much as 25g to 40g per serving. This is more than any athlete would need.
These artificial sweeteners are worse than sugar if you choose the low or zero sugar option. Both contain artificial flavors and colors and are therefore appealing to children, but not us.
These are just a few examples of the ingredients in these drinks.
- Red#40 is a suspected carcinogen linked to allergic reactions in sensitive people
- Yellow#5 is suspected of causing asthma attacks and behavior disturbances.
- Blue#133may cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people, hyperactivity, and is suspected to be a carcinogen.
- Sucralose: Artificial Sweetener that can cause DNA damage to the gut. It has been shown to decrease beneficial gut bacteria levels.
- PEG isn’t digested properly and can cause diarrhea. It can also cause cramps, bloating, and sometimes vomiting.
Which are the best options for you?
- Endura Endura.com.au is free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and PEG. It contains a balanced amount of key electrolytes that are easily absorbed. Endura products typically contain 15-20g of sugar per serving, so they should not be consumed in excess. I recommend this rehydration formula for high-intensity exercise where carbohydrate replacement may be necessary.
- Bioceuticals’ Ultra Muscle is free from artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. It’s high in magnesium and contains key electrolytes, some B vitamins, and amino acids that aid muscle recovery and rehydration. It is only available in natural health practitioners or health food stores.
- Pure coconut water is a wonderful, completely natural alternative. Studies have shown that it can rehydrate athletes and commercial sports beverages. It was also tolerated better by athletes post-exercise with no gastric problems. It has lower levels of all-natural sugar but slightly higher optimal sodium and magnification levels for athletes who train at higher intensities.
While there are many healthier options, I prefer organic coconut water for post-exercise. I recommend coconut water for endurance training to ensure you get the best magnesium and sodium levels. However, it can be complemented with Ultra Muscle, Endura or Endura to ensure you have enough.