Gatorade & Powerade are TERRIBLE, what with the food colorings, preservatives, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup… and high price tag.
Why not make your own sports drinks?
- The purpose of sports drinks is to provide the body with quick-burning energy and electrolytes. This is not the time for protein and fat.
- Sugar is a good source of quick energy. It’s made up of half glucose molecules and half fructose molecules (this goes for all sugar, including fruit). It’s a good idea to keep your fructose level at <50% of the mixture. Otherwise, “digestive issues” may occur as a result of sugars “moving through you very quickly.” This means avoiding agave syrup and apple juice. Some people are more sensitive to fructose than others- they should keep the amount even lower and consider using glucose powder.
- Electrolytes make all the body’s chemical reactions possible (you know, minor things like pushing blood around, moving muscles and breathing). Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down… but we also lose electrolytes that way (mainly sodium and chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium). Muscle cramps are sure signs of electrolyte deficiency. Consider using sea salt instead of plain old table salt to benefit from the extra minerals. Morton Salt Lite is called for in some recipes because it has higher amounts of potassium.
- To enhance the flavor, use Stevia for sweetness and lemon/lime for taste. You could also get fancy and muddle in some mint!
- Consider using a juice high in antioxidants, like pomegranate, blueberry or grape (not wine! :)), which may help improve recovery & reduce muscle soreness (source).
- Test your recipe during training, not during an important event.
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz = 50 calories , 14 Gms carbs, 160 mg sodium
Source: “Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook”
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 1/2 cups cold water
In a quart pitcher, dissolve the sugar and salt in the hot water. Add the remaining ingredients and the cold water. The drink contains about 50 calories and 110 mg of sodium per 8 ounces, approximately the same as for most sports drinks.
Click the above link for a few recipes + a table for diluting your choice of fruit juice to the exact sugar level that is needed in a sports drink
Coconut water (unsweetened) + a splash of fruit juice or drizzle of honey + chilled green tea (optional)
Products to consider:
- Hyland’s cell salts, a homeopathic source of minerals: http://www.hylands.com/cellsalts/