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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sports Drinks

Marketplace did a show called Father, Faster, Fitter.

They mainly dug deep into sports drinks (like Gatorade, Powerade) and whether you actually need them.

The Tests

On the show, they measured people's blood for 3 things - signs of dehydration, glucose levels, and electrolyte levels.

The Runners

They ran for 45 minutes and their blood was tested.  This looked like a pretty even-paced run, nothing too intense (although they didn't really delve into the nature of the run).

Electrolyte and glucose levels were high, with a tiny bit of dehydration.  So the conclusion was water might have helped, but sports drinks weren't necessary.


A triathlete hit the stationary bike pretty hard (allegedly).  At 45 minutes, she actually had her blood glucose levels had dropped "a lot" - so they concluded she "could benefit" from some sports drinks.  Electrolyte levels were fine, though, until almost 2 hours.

Mixed Messages?

Runners, cyclists, triathletes - anyone doing any of this seriously does a lot of workouts over 45 minutes, at high intensity.  If our blood glucose drops "a lot" in that time, then are we leaving some performance on the table?  Should we not be hitting the sugar to keep them high?

I think so.  I definitely feel it when I'm out there, if I'm over an hour and I don't have a hit of sugar, my performance is threatened (sooner if I'm doing something at intensity).

Sure, kids probably don't need it... they rarely do endurance stuff, and kids chug it like pop even when they're not engaged in exercise.  That's not the right use for the stuff.

And I have a real beef with products like G2 or Mio Sport, that have lower calories but high electrolytes.  The scenarios where you would need that combination are few and far between.  That was the take-away of the show I guess, that the "electrolyte" sales pitch is overblown.  I buy that.

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