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  • Jenny Maloney RD

Sports Drink Confusion

Updated: Jun 12, 2020

Summer is here and with summer comes outdoor activities. Hydrating with water is the first thing to focus on. Are you drinking enough water? Here is a general recommendation:

2.7 liters/91 ounces of water per day for women

3.7 liters/125 ounces of water per day for men

You need more water if you are active and especially if you are active in hot weather. When do sports drinks come into play? Let me start off by saying you don't automatically need a sports drink or supplement when it's hot outside or when you are doing a long workout. Water is your first hydration source always and you can also get carbs and electrolytes from fruits, veggies, and other liquids. With that being said, when the weather is hot and humid, exercise is very intense, and after about 60-90 minutes of endurance exercise are indicators that electrolytes and carbohydrates should be replenished. You may be worried about the sugar content in these drinks but they have sugar for a reason- to replace glycogen stores and give you quick energy. The type of sugar and what other ingredients are in the product is the important thing to look at. Try to get the sugar from real cane sugar instead of corn syrup or watch for sugar substitutes like Stevia to lower the sugar content. Stevia is not going to give you energy and sugar substitutes are not a real food. And side note, flavored water and vitamin water are not sports drinks, they have added sugar or fake sugar, and you're better off having plain old water. Let's compare Gatorade to a more natural drink like Greater Than which uses coconut water to give you potassium and carbs. You can see that the Gatorade has more processed ingredients and more sugar. The Greater Than is a smaller size but has more natural ingredients and less sugar.

Filtered Water

Organic evaporated coconut water

Apple Juice from Concentrate

Mango Puree

Monk Fruit Juice from Concentrate

Natural Flavor

Sea Salt

Fruit Beta Carotene for Color

Fruit and Vegetable Juice for Color

All these drinks are already made for the general population and super convenient but we are all different so why not make your own sports drink? You can add a little more salt in there if you need it and less sugar if you want as well. Here is a recipe to start off with:

2 cups of coconut water

2 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ tsp of salt

1-2 tbsp of raw honey or maple syrup

Mix well and keep refrigerated until ready to drink.

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