I don't think this will come as a surprise to most people since we just covered the concept of “non-foods” in my last post. Sports drinks are not food. I've attached a label to the right, and as you can see, it's water, sugar and chemicals. Let's break it down a bit further than that, and talk about each ingredient, shall we?
Water: This is the only redeeming ingredient in the list. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. We need lots of it to stay healthy and vital. Water is great.
Sucrose Syrup: Sugar dissolved in water. Sucrose is the chemical name for refined white table sugar.
Glucose-Fructose Syrup: More sugar.
Citric Acid: A preservative that is typically derived from corn sugar through much processing, though original forms of citric acid were formed from citrus fruits, corn is a much cheaper source and therefore the most common in our foods/beverages. Additionally, citric acid is a source of MSG as explained below.
“Citric acid” is produced by fermentation of crude sugars. When “citric acid” is produced from corn, manufacturers do not take the time or undertake the expense to remove all corn protein. During processing, the remaining protein is hydrolyzed, resulting in some processed free glutamic acid (MSG). “Citric acid” may also interacts with any protein in the food to which it is added, freeing up more glutamic acid. Source: Weston A. Price Foundation
Natural Grape Flavor with Other Natural Flavors: This is likely formed from grapes and other ingredients that came from nature, but passed through a laboratory and are no longer as “natural” as we'd like to think. “Natural Flavors” only indicates that the origin of the ingredient is a real food, however, the state it is in when added to foods is questionable. Typically MSG is listed as Natural Flavors in order to mask the name people recognize. If it's natural, just tell us what it is…don't be nebulous or ambiguous. (Do I sound like a broken record?!)
Salt: Added to this beverage to help replace some of the salt you lose when sweating from exercise. I understand this ingredient's purpose, however, it's likely not a pure salt.
Sodium Citrate: Sodium salts of citric acid. Here's a fun tidbit I found on this ingredient with a little searching…”A white crystalline or granular compound, used in photography and in medicine especially as an anticoagulant of blood stored for transfusion.”
Monopotassium Phosphate: A soluble salt which is used as a fertilizer, a food additive and a fungicide. Apparently it's also an additive in some cigarettes. Ick…
Red 40 & Blue 1: Food colorings.
Okay, so what's the point of all of this detail, really…? The point is that in an effort to simply replace fluids and salts to our bodies after exercise, we end up pumping ourselves full of chemical additives and more forms of sugar than we really need.
So, what CAN we drink after a workout that will taste great, be refreshing, AND replenish our electrolytes? Brace yourselves, it's something made from coconut…COCONUT WATER! Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the inside of a young coconut. Go ahead, crack one open and pop a straw in there. It's divine. To me, it's better than any cocktail.
Why drink it after a workout instead of a sports drink? It tastes great and is a natural source of electrolytes and minerals. Read more about why drinking coconut water is beneficial to your health here. Some of the information in that article is very interesting!
As an interesting side note, I think coconut water is a great thing to keep on hand for those nights when you go out and party a bit too much. Chug some before you go to bed, or with breakfast/brunch the next morning. It's a natural way to replenish your body and get yourself back on track after you've done some damage!
Drink up and enjoy!
Note: If you're not sure where to get coconut water near you, you can click on the photo in this article to buy some online!
Dr. Mercola also has a great article on sports drinks on his site. Here's a link!
Get more information about better food choices and how to replace items you currently purchase with healthier options by contacting me today to get started with Holistic Lifestyle & Nutrition Coaching.
Enjoy & be well!
Owner, Balanced Bites Holistic Nutrition & Wellness
C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach
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