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Deconstructing Sports Drinks

Most people have a favorite go-to beverage when they are hot, thirsty or want to perform at their peak. Sports drinks are designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted during training or competition. Replacement of the body’s vital electrolytes promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue.

Most people, however, don’t ever stop to question what is actually in these drinks. Are they actually the best thing for promoting body cooling, thirst quenching or performance enhancement? Here are some questions to ask the next time you reach for your favorite sports drink.

What are the ingredients in my favorite sports drinks? Most are a combination of water, sugar and electrolytes. Most sports drinks have between four and five heaping tea- spoons of sugar (between 13 and 19 grams per 250 ml) per five-ounce serving.

What is the source of the sugar? Most likely, it is not a naturally occurring sweetener and in some cases, it is actually a load of high-fructose corn syrup, so steer clear of these.

What is the source of the electrolytes? Most sports drinks add electrolytes in a synthetic form that your body may not recognize. Studies abound that show synthetic minerals and vitamins are absorbed by only about 10 percent into the body, so their effects are minimized.

Am I performing two or more hours of continu- ous movement? If not, you might reconsider a sports drink containing sugar. You have more than enough glycogen in the muscles to get you through a good amount of movement, so the justification of the glucose from a sugary drink just isn’t valid, and can be detrimental. Excess sugar can irritate the digestive tract and leave you with stomach bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation.

What do I need to help maximize endurance? Good quality mineral/electrolyte water and a small, whole food snack is your best bet.

Crazy Water, from Mineral Wells, is naturally sourced mineral water, loaded with beneficial electrolytes. Each Crazy Water option has a number assigned to it, based on the amount of naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes it contains. A few whole food snack recommendations for athletes include hard-boiled egg and fruit; oatmeal (Crazy Water oatmeal, raisins, pecans and local honey); and local cottage cheese with blueberries and granola.


Crazy water is available at Whole Foods market, Natural Health shop, Central market and other fine food stores.; and for more info call 214.521.9200 or visit FamousWater.com.

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