When it comes to refueling, sports drinks can be very beneficial to runners. They aid in preventing cramps, dehydration, decreasing muscle damage and provide energy. Every year some new product hits the market claiming to be the best for your body. With many fads over the years favoring certain drinks over others, how do you know which to buy? Here is a review of several popular sports drinks available.
Sports Drinks Analysis
Like most sports drinks, Powerade provides electrolytes lost through sweat. Its patented ION4 formula includes sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, along with B vitamins for energy metabolism. Powerade provides 14 grams of carbohydrates, 100 milligrams of sodium, and 25 milligrams of potassium per 8oz serving. All eight flavors that Powerade sells are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. If you’re looking for a low calorie option with all the same electrolytes, Powerade Zero has zero carbs and calories, and is sweetened with sucralose.
An 8 ounce serving of Gatorade includes 14 grams of carbohydrates, 110 milligrams of sodium, and 30 milligrams of potassium. One major difference between Gatorade and other sports drinks is that its no longer sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The original Gatorade Thirst Quencher for example, is now sweetened with sucrose and dextrose. G2 is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, and has only 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounce serving. G Natural is made of all natural ingredients, including sea salt, fruit flavors and natural sweeteners. It is available at select Whole Foods Stores.
The G series is Gatorade’s latest collection of products. Prime 01 is a gel intended for pre exercise fuel, Perform 02 is just the original Thirst Quencher Gatorade, and Recover 03 includes 8 grams of protein per serving for recovery purposes.
Accelerade is known for its 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to proteins. Although the taste of protein in a sports beverage sometimes makes people cringe, Accelerade does a good job providing five different flavors, and there is evidence that the 4:1 ratio increases endurance, decreases muscle damage, and decreases perceived exertion. Pacific Health Labs, the founder of Accelerade, also sells recovery drink Endurox, specifically designed for post workout consumption.
These are an easy on-the-go option because they come in a tube full of dissolvable tablets. They have no sugar, less than 8 calories, and still provide electrolytes. Since they have no sugar, they dissolve easily without residue. Nuun contain 360 mg sodiym,100 mg potassium, 12.5 mg calcium, and 25 mg Magnesium. They also contain vitamins C and B2. Nuun tablets contain no carbohydrates, making them easier for quick absorbption, however, the body needs a replenishment of carbohydrates after 90 minutes of exercise. The tablets come in 11 cool flavors such as banana, tropical, lemon tea, and tri-berry.
Coconut water is great for its high concentration of potassium. ZICO coconut water for example prides itself for having more potassium than a banana (569mg), which is about 15 times that of other sports drinks. ZICO also contains sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, while skipping out on the fat, cholesterol, and added sugars. ZICO Natural has only 44 calories per 8oz serving, but does not provide as much sodium and carbohydrates as the average sports drink. It has all natural ingredients and has a lower acidity than the typical sports beverage.
Coconut water is also sold in powder form by certain companies. While the powder comes out much cheaper in the long run, it doesn’t come in the many delicious flavors such as mango, passion fruit, lima citron, pomberry, pineapple, and chocolate.
Make Your Own at Home
If you’re tight on money or don’t like traditional sports drinks, there are many recipes for homemade sports drinks such as this one which contains basic household ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
9 tbs. Sugar
3/8 tsp Salt
Water to 2 liters
Try it out and let us know your thoughts on our facebook page.
About the Author: Amanda Winslow, is a junior at Florida State University, and a member of the Seminoles Cross Country and Track & Field teams. She enjoys long runs on the sandy trails of Tallahassee, as well as creative writing, photography and painting (see original artwork above).