Sports Drinks vs Water: Which One is Right for You?

What are Sports Drinks? 

Sports drinks are products that are used to hydrate and replenish electrolytes that are lost in sweat during exercise.  

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals such as calcium and potassium that when dissolved in water become electrically charged ions. Electrolytes have a number of functions, such as transmission of nerve impulses, and helping to maintain the fluid balance of our cells. 

Join me for a Refreshing Chemical Cocktail?

Some of the not so delicious ingredients in leading sports drinks: 

•    Artificial colors.
•    “Natural” flavors: don’t be fooled by this ingredient, natural usually means it was made in a lab synthetically.
•    Synthetic chemicals such as Sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which is used as a plasticizer in cosmetics. Yummy. 
•    Brominated vegetable oil was used until concerns about it’s safety surfaced, and it was replaced with the chemical above, Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate. Brominated vegetable oil is used as a flame retardant and is banned in some countries. (A flaming hot body might be one of the desirables from exercising but I don't ever recall hearing about someone literally going up in flames).
•    High fructose corn syrup, HFCS is a highly processed genetically modified chemical that is super cheap to produce.
•    Artificial sweeteners or high sugar content.
•    Calcium disodium edta:  a preservative that protects color. Also used medically to chelate heavy metal poisoning. One of the risks when used to chelate heavy metals is the binding of nutrients. Obviously dosage is hugely different, but I know I wouldn’t want this in my body. It is also considered a persistent organic pollutant environmentally, and breaks down into a chemical similar to DDT.  

So, what do you do to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise? Unless you are an athlete, running a marathon, or exercising heavily for more than an hour, good old-fashioned water is generally adequate. 

Food also replenishes lost nutrients. Try some of the following for a refreshing post-workout treat:

•    Cucumber
•    Celery
•    Watermelon

Or make a smoothie: 

•    Kale/spinach/banana/almond milk or coconut water/pinch sea salt

Or you could try a DIY sport drink: 

•    1/4tsp Himalayan sea salt
•    ½ tsp baking soda
•    1tsp maple syrup
•    Juice of 1 lemon
•    Mix with water and enjoy

Still worried water might not be enough, or prefer something for when you are on the go?

There are alternatives to the big sports drink companies that can rehydrate and replenish electrolytes:

R.W Knudsen family

This company has a range of different flavored sports drinks with non-GMO and natural ingredients. 

The Orange Recharge contains:

•    Filtered water, fruit juice, natural flavor, sea salt, beta-carotene. 

Check out their website for more info and store locations:

Harmless Harvest

This coconut water is another delicious alternative. (Watch out for most other “coconut waters” because they tend to be highly processed and heat-treated. They don’t even taste like coconuts!)

Good On Ya Organic

Ingredients as found in the Berry Hydrate Electrolyte Drink:

•    Filtered water, organic cranberry, blueberry and raspberry juice concentrate, ionic sea minerals, organic stevia, vitamin c. 

You can find them online, or in some stores:

Drink up!!