Sports Drinks – The Good, Bad & The Ulgy

Sports Drinks – The Good, Bad & The Ulgy

Should you drink sports drinks – do you need them? One of the advantages to sports drinks is that you will most likely drink more because they taste better! Most of the average athletes probably doesn’t really need them unless they are exercising a great deal or tend to experience cramping.  Or, if they want to improve their athletic performance.

First, I have to admit I usually cringe when I see someone with a bottle of Propel, Powerade or Gatorade. Why? In my opinion, these sports drinks are just bottles of chemicals in water.

Whereas, the electrolytes are to some benefits – those benefits are outweighed by the chemicals like artificial colors, chemical preservatives and artificial flavors.

What do should look for in a sports drink?

First, a balance of electrolytes – most of the lesser expensive sports drinks like Powerade, usually do not contain magnesium and any nutrients like vitamin C.   Look for electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium.  Secondly, look for natural flavorings and coloring not chemical, like Red #40.  They also should not contain preservatives – easy to spot as these are usually chemicals that you have know idea how to pronounce like isobutyrate.

Let’s look at just a few examples of what you don’t want in a sports drink!

So what made my WORST List?
1. Gatorade – First clue that this is a safe sports drink is it vivid colors which are derived from petrochemicals that have been implicated in cancer and possible endocrine disruptors (hormone imbalance). Most of these chemicals are listed as food colors – Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6. For flavorings, they use a chemical known as sucrose acetate isobutyrate which replaced brominated oils that are commonly used in flame retardants. And, I haven’t got to the Gatorade that contain carbohydrates in the form of GMO high fructose corn syrup.
2. Powerade – Much the same at Gatorade – modified food starch, calcium disodium, brominated oils artificial sweeteners, and Red#40. It also contain high amount of high fructose corn syrup. Whereas it does contain some B-vitamins – they are low dosages and in forms that are not easily absorbed if at all.
3. Propel, Vitaminwater, Accerlerate – Contains very similar ingredients including GMO soy, corn and other nasty chemicals. Most of the chemicals used are not shown on the list of ingredients but instead are listed as their intellectual property names like Red #3.

Here are a couple of my favorites and why.

Ultima Replenisher, Grape, 30 Serving Canister, 4.5 Ounce This great electrolyte beverage does not contain any chemicals or sugar with a balance of electrolytes. It also comes in great flavors. You can purchase this product through Amazon or at locally at Whole Foods.
Jigsaw Health MagNowTM – Tart Raspberry Lemonade Magnesium Powder – 60 servings – Along with electrolytes, this offers more nutrients like B vitamins to replenish those vital nutrients that are needed for energy.
Thorne Research – Catalyte – Lemon Lime Flavored – Electrolyte Replacement Formula – NSF Certified for Sport – 9.52 oz – This sports drink was developed in their sports line to promote energy and assure a balance of electrolytes.

Whereas these are not easily purchased at your local grocery store, it is worth the extra money to reduce the toxic load from sports drinks like Gaterade and Powerade.  And, provide valuable nutrition. Upper end grocery stores like HyVee and Whole Foods carry a wide variety of safe and effective sports drinks.  Or, you can easily make your own. Please see my recipe – super easy and a great a savings. Plus you know what went into the recipe.