Sports and Energy Drinks

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Simon, May 14, 2011.

  1. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    The body sweats in order to maintain proper body heat, and in the process, electrolytes are lost. The body’s production of sweat is controlled to ensure that only small amounts of electrolytes are lost in perspiration. The kidneys also conserve fluid and electrolytes by cutting back on urine production during dehydration. Experts say it is only after one hour of strenuous exercise such as running that electrolytes need to be replenished.

    The key to good hydration is drinking a lot of water before, during and after any workout or activity. Water is essential for proper bodily function. According to a recent study, after 2% of a person’s body weight is lost through perspiration, the person experiences impaired performance. After 4%, the capacity for muscular work declines, after 5% heat exhaustion, 7% hallucination, and after 10% you experience circulatory collapse and heat stroke. Water however contains no electolytes or carbohydrates.

    Sports drinks do not hydrate better than water. Water though does not taste nice so we tend to stop drinking before we are fully hydrated. Sports drinks contain sugar or a sugar substitute and flavour, meaning it has a better taste. This means we drink more leading to better hydration.

    Juice is not to be advised for hydration, as it is not absorbed by the cells very quickly.

    So if you are training for less than one hour try putting down the sports drink and top up on the water.

    You really don't like water and have decided to opt for the sports drink, in addition you keep reading about replacing electrolytes, so what gives?

    What are electrolytes?

    Electrolytes serve three general functions in the body.

    • many are essential minerals
    • they control osmosis of water between body compartments
    • they help maintain the acid-base balance required for normal cellular activities

    The electrolyte composition of sweat is variable but comprises of the following components:


    There are three popular types of sport available.






    Isotonic is the most polular sports drink and replaces fluids lost by sweating and a boost of carbohydrates. This would be favoured the those training for middle to long distance running, gym work or us martial artists.
    Glucose is the body's preferred source of energy therefore it may be appropriate to consume Isotonic drinks where the carbohydrate source is glucose in a concentration of 6% to 8%.


    This would be prefered by those needing fluid replacement, but without the need for a carbohydrate boost. Gymnasts for example.


    To be used to supplement daily carbohydrate intake normally after exercise to top up muscle glycogen stores. In ultra distance events, high levels of energy are required and Hypertonic drinks can be taken during exercise to meet the energy demands. If used during exercise Hypertonic drinks need to be used in conjunction with Isotonic drinks to replace fluids.

    Can I make my own?

    This BBC website has details on making your own Isotonic, hypotonic and hypertonic drinks.

    A simple isotonic drink can be made with 200ml of orange squash (concentrated orange), 1 litre of water and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled.

    I have had some success with water, the juice from a few limes (adjust to taste) and a couple of unrefined salt crystals.

    So do they work?

    Jeanette Crosland, the consultant sports dietitian to Paralympics GB had this to say: -
    heidimade likes this.
  2. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    Thanks for this Simon.

    I'm probably being a thicko here but assume the proportions for Fruit Squash are diluted?

    I have four bottles of NAS Robinsons in different flavours, and usually mix at approx 1:5 concentrate:water ratio. I made something like the 'Fruit Academy' for 500ml today with a pinch of salt but probably had too high a concentrate ratio.
  3. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    You are welcome.

    I think a little experimentation is in order. Start of with weak dilutions and add to taste. We don't drink enough water because it has no taste. The trick of the sports drink is the flavour. Get your mix right and you will more than likely drink more.
    I understand that sips are the order of the day. Trying to hydrate too quick can actually flush salts from the body.
  4. tonyv107

    tonyv107 Valued Member

    I like to get the big 30oz? Gatorade bottles. Put 1 tbsp of Gatorade mix then fill it with water and add some lemon juice. Tastes great.
  5. embra

    embra Valued Member

    Personally I don't mind the taste of water - except for the ghack you folk have to endure from the tap around London.

    I drink as much water and general liquid much as I can, and eat a lot of fruit, but I could maybe consume more after training.

    As I am frequently travelling and living in Hotels and I have to be creative and disciplined about what I eat and drink, in order to get as balanced a diet as I can manage.

    However, one beverage that I drink too much of is coffee, and wonder what affect my 2-3 cups a day has on me.

    So apart from water and beneficial drinks e.g. sports drinks, what damage/benefit(if any) do tea/coffee have? Im sure alcohol is bad, but I only consume a small amount.

    What about prebiotic/probiotic milk drinks? - e.g. yakult - do they do anything usefull at all?

    The chemistry article at the bottom of Simon's post is pretty informative: Coffee and Tea do nothing for you.
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
  6. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

  7. embra

    embra Valued Member

    The usefull things you find on MAP.

    Regarding Hydration, other factors that will come into play are good kidney and urine functions (and bu implication, prostate in men) i.e. we must get rid of the liquid as well as absorb it.

    So what can we do to get these functions working well?
  8. embra

    embra Valued Member

    I did read somewhere that water is the most important aspect of life on our planet. We can do without food, sleep (in that order) to some extent, but not water.
  9. jumpfor joy

    jumpfor joy Valued Member


    That was a great read! Thanks for the education!
  10. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Thank you.
  11. evojm72

    evojm72 Valued Member

    Thanks for that Simon. Explains a bit as I had a funny turn during and after training the other night; vision did a nice 45 degree seesaw. Thought I'd had enough water but romf you're saying gulping it down between rounds obviously did me no good whatsover! You'd think I'd know by now....
  12. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    I've found Lemon flavour squash best so far at disguising the taste of salt, even with low dilution levels. Getting the right amound in a pinch is still very much trial and error but it has helped.
  13. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Definately worth a trip to the local health food shop and getting some unrefined himalayan salt. It comes in crystal form and one or two rocks is enough when mixed with water.
  14. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

  15. Princess Haru

    Princess Haru Valued Member

    Funny as I was thinking earlier that salt alone probably is missing some things. I sweated a lot this afternoon after 20-30 minutes of focus pad work followed by a 20 minute MMA style intervals circuit. I can only think of Holland & Barrett for supplements, but nothing on their website. Maybe Arjuna healthfood shop
  16. querist

    querist MAP Resident Linguist?

    Simon, thank you for researching that information for everyone.

    As a physician, I'm going to have to disagree a little with that article.

    The tonicity of a fluid usually refers to its electrolyte content. There are plenty of isotonic and hypertonic electrolyte drinks that have few to no carbohydrates in them at all.

    Hypotonic is anything without the electrolytes. That can be Pepsi or water.

    I will agree that you only really need electrolyte replacement after perspiring significantly. The "one hour of strenuous exercise" rule is not a good guideline because different people react differently. Perspiration is a good indicator. Generally, if you notice that you're sweating "quite a bit" then you need the isotonic or hypertonic sport drinks.

    Water is best after lighter exercise (not much perspiration) because you're not as concerned about electrolyte loss.

    Propel is an electrolyte drink with zero carbs, for example.

    Gatorade have three different drinks out now - G1 (prepare), G2 (perform) and G3 (recover). G3 has protein as well as some carbs and still has a good electrolyte balance. G2 is "standard" Gatorade. I'll check out exactly what's in G1 tonight.

    Also, be VERY careful with hypertonic drinks when you are EXHAUSTED. I'm not talking about the good "really tired" after a good workout. I'm talking about being so exhausted that you can hardly stand up on your own. If you're perspired so much that you are starting to feel weak, a hypertonic drink can cause severe stomach cramps and may cause you to vomit, causing you to lose more electrolytes. If you're so weak that you MUST sit down, then you need to take your electrolyte drink is small sips, or ideally dilute it 50/50 with water. (G2 is hypertonic and needs to be diluted this way in this situation.) Also, if you're that exhausted, do NOT drink "ice cold" anything. That may also cause stomach cramps and vomiting.

    Be careful. There is some excellent advice out there online, but there is also some not so good advice out there. Just like the instructors who do the bouncing stretches believe they're helping their students but don't understand that they're causing muscle damage, there are many well-intentioned people who have web sites trying to give what they believe to be good, helpful advice. Please, for your own sake, check the sources or consult a properly qualified health-care professional about these things. It's YOUR body and YOUR health.
  17. Microlamia

    Microlamia Banned Banned

    Thanks Guerist for the informative post!
  18. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Guerist, thank you for the professional advice. It is always appreciated here.
  19. righty

    righty Valued Member

    I agree with you there. It's a little bit simplistic. The tonicity of a solution in this case is going to factor in both salt and carbohydrate levels, with the salts having much more influence on this value. Therefore iso, hypo and hyper tonic solutions are more to do with the levels of salts rather than carbohydrate amounts. Particularly (as guerist mentioned) there are many carbohydrate free iso and hypo tonic drinks available.

    And to go into even more detail, the type of carbohydrate in the drinks can also influence your choice of drink to match you chosen activity. It really depends on how pedantic you want to be about your choose of drinks in terms of how much background knowledge you need.

    While it does help, I would advise people to also read through the links provided in the article to get a better idea.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011
  20. righty

    righty Valued Member

    In terms of coffee it is going to depend on how you take it. Obviously the more milk or cream in there, the less water and hence less hydration. More importantly is the fact that caffeine is a diuretic. This basically means that it will make you urinate more, decreasing hydration.

    The evidence is arguable here. It's known there a lot of flora in your gut which is what probiotics are meant to boost. However last time I checked there wasn't really any evidence that any live cultures from probiotic drinks and vitamins etc actually make it past your stomach (including acids and everything) alive and colonise your gut.

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