Monday, February 1, 2010

Thirsty? Drink Water.


The overuse of sports beverages is a growing trend and pet peeve of mine. Someone who has just finished a gym workout that consists of 30 minutes on a stationary bike while reading their favorite book, does not need a Gatorade afterwards. In fact, they would drink back all of the calories they just burned (and then some).


Parents are now concerned enough to give their children gatorade after simple activities such as baseball, or t-ball, where most of the child’s time is spent waiting for their turn to bat or catch. Other than running bases, baseball is not very aerobic. Soccer... another story, especially if it is hot outside. Sports beverages contain plenty of sugar and are very hard on teeth (eroding the enamel).1 If you still insist on providing it for your children, dilute it with water - they will easily receive the electrolytes they need, without as many unnecessary sugars.


Despite these issues, I also understand the importance of electrolyte replacement; however, this is mainly an issue for serious athletes who engage in continuous exercise for well over an hour. If you’re out in the sun all day working in a climate comparable to Phoenix, Az., you probably also need electrolytes; however, you can still get away with watering down your gatorade. Hyponatremia is deadly and can occur during long bouts of exercise from over hydration when blood salt (required for many physiological functions) becomes too low. Sadly, many athletes have died from it. For some people, salt is not the enemy. Salty foods, salty water, or diluted gatorade have sufficed in the past. The sports drink, Gatorade, was invented based on the chemical make up of sweat: sodium and dihydrogen monoxide... also known as salt + water. It was a great idea, but in order to become marketable, they added sugar, artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives.


G2 enhances the chemical smorgasbord by adding the chemical sweetener, sucralose, to cut back on its plentiful calories. It still has high fructose corn syrup for that quick, useless energy burst; therefore, it’s not a calorie free beverage, it just has one more chemical added to the mix.


A peek at the ingredients (reminds me of an old chemistry assignment):

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sucrose Syrup, Citric Acid, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Monopotassium Phosphate, Ascorbic Acid, Niacinamide, Sucralose, Calcium Disodium EDTA, Calcium Pantothenate, Alpha Tocopherol Acetate, Acesulfame Potassium, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Red 40, Blue 1.


Water’s ingredients: Water.


See you at the drinking fountain.


1. SM Hooper, JA Hughes, RG Newcombe, M Addy, and NX West. A methodology for testing the erosive potential of sports drinks. Journal of Dentistry. 2004. (33) 4.



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