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Sport Drinks

Because Food Becomes You

For comparison table, go to Sport Drinks Comparison page.

or To Order
All Sport Thirst Quencher
by Pepsi-Cola sports drink - - rating: 1 star
by SUCCEED! - - - rating: 4 stars!
by smartFuel recovery - - not rated
Boost meal
- - not rated
by smartFuel meal
- - rating: 5 stars!
Carbo Fuel
by Twinlab energy associated content: Nutritional Contents - not rated
Carbolight - - - - not rated
by The Coca-Cola Company soft drink - associated content: Sodas page rating: 3 stars
by CytoSport exercise and
associated content: Nutritional Contents - rating: 5 stars!
Endura Optimizer
by Unipro
- recovery - - not rated
Endurox R4
by PacificHealth Labs recovery associated content: Nutritional Contents - not rated
Enervitene "energy for
- - not rated
Enervit G sport drink - - not rated
Enervit R2 recovery - - not rated
Ensure Plus
by Abbott Labs meal replacement - - rating: 5 stars!
Exceed product discontinued - - - not rated
Extran Carbohydrate
by Numico's Nutricia - - - not rated
Extran Thirstquencher
by Numico's Nutricia - - - not rated
G1 Hydration
by G-Push Sport Inc. pre-race
- - rating: 3 stars
G2 Momentum
by G-Push Sport Inc. hydration
and energy;
- - rating: 3 stars
G3 Endurance
by G-Push Sport Inc. energy;
- - not rated
G4 Recovery
by G-Push Sport Inc. recovery;
- - not rated
Gatorade hydration - associated content: Gatorade page rating: 2 stars
by Gatorade
- - - - not rated
by Sports Street Marketing hydration - - not rated
Hydra Fuel
by Twinlab fluid
- - not rated
Isostar - - - not rated
Metabolol II
by Champion Nutrition - associated content: Nutritional Contents - rating: 4 stars!
by Met-Rx - - - not rated
Mountain Dew
by Pepsi-Cola soft drink associated content: Nutritional Contents associated content: Sodas page rating: 4 stars!
Orange juice - - - - not rated
by Pepsi-Cola soft drink - associated content: Sodas page rating: 2 stars
by Powebar
- - - - not rated
Performance Optimizer
by System 3
- - - - not rated
PowerAde - - - - rating: 1 star
Power Fuel
by Twinlab exercise and
- - not rated
PowerSurge - - - - not rated
PR* Solution - - - - not rated
Quic Disc
product discontinued
- - - not rated
Race Day - - - - not rated
by Champion Nutrition - associated content: Nutritional Contents - rating: 4 stars!
Lemon Tea - - - not rated
Lemonade - - - not rated
SPIZ complete
liquid food
associated content: Nutritional Contents - not rated
Sprite soft drink - associated content: Sodas page not rated
by The Coca-Cola Company soft drink - associated content: Sodas page not rated
Sustained Energy
by Hammer Nutrition Ltd. - - - rating: 3 stars!
Ultima rehydration associated content: Nutritional Contents - not rated
by SUCCEED! - - - rating: 3 stars!
by Champion Nutrition - associated content: Nutritional Contents - not rated
Ultra Fuel
by Twinlab energy and
- - not rated
by smartFuel energy
and hydration
- - rating: 3 stars!
XLR8 - - - - not rated

Note: Data above is based on manufacturers' information.

Most "exercise" drinks on the market are carbohydrate heavy, with some other ingredients added for performance or marketing enhancement. The carbos maintain optimal blood sugar levels and prevent glycogen depletion. The absence fat, protein and fiber in drinks helps rapid digestion/absorption so carbos can be rapidly and efficiently transported to the muscles.

Depending on the brand, the carbos may contain maltodextrin or simple carbohydrate (as brown rice sugar).

Maltodextrin, a glucose polymer, is a chain of glucose molecules of short to medium length. It more expensive to produce, and created by taking starch (long chains of glucose molecules) and chemically breaking it by hydrolysis into shorter chains of glucose. Glucose polymers are sized in-between a small glucose molecule (a simple carbohydrate) and a large starch molecule (a complex carbohydrate). Maltodextrin has a lower osmolality than glucose. Molecules of maltodextrin are larger than glucose', so drink with maltodextrin will have a few large particles compared to a drink with glucose. The number of particles determines how much water it will hold. The more molecules of smaller sized glucose in the drink, the more water will be pulled into the intestine than the maltodextrin-based drink. Makers on maltodextrin-based drinks claim that since their products don't pull as much water into the intestine, it is absorbed faster into the bloodstream.

Brown rice syrup contains both complex and simple carbohydrates.

Another component often found in the drinks are electrolytes. Usually sodium, potassium, and chloride can be added to help combat electrolyte imbalances in the body (due to the long exercise in the high temperatures and/or high sweating rate). Electrolytes are ions (electrically charged molecules) that are present in all of the body fluids. They maintain the body's chemistry and allow the body to perform all its essential to life functions. As the body cools itself via sweat evaporation process, it secretes primarily water and electrolytes. As minor electrolyte imbalance occurs, there are symptoms of fatigue, exhaustion, and mild mental confusion.

Some drinks may also contain branched chain amino acids (BCAA). During the endurance exercise, as muscle glycogen becomes depleted, it has been suggested that muscles turn to amino acids as fuel for exercise. The resulting lower blood level of BCAA had been hypothesized to increase the sensation of fatigue. Contrary research indicates that the ingestion of BCAA does not enhance performance, probably due to the negligible muscle usage of BCAA.

Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system, which also helps to release free fatty acids from body fat stores into the blood to provide fuel for muscles. This, as some believe, spares the limited supply of muscle glucogen. It seems to be a performance enhancer, as many athletes after ingesting caffeine feel less fatigue while performing at higher levels of work. The known diuretic effect of caffeine is unlikely to cause significant dehydration due to the obvious simultaneous hydration protocol.

Antioxidant vitamins C and E help the body deal with the natural oxidative stress of metabolism. As exercise increases oxidative stress, antioxidants may provide long-term benefits.

Acid Buffers can help to neutralize blood PH (acidity). As a result of exercise, there is a buildup of lactic acid and blood becomes slightly acidic. Some believe that acidic blood is inducing muscle fatigue.

Herbs are considered by some to be a marketing ploy, they had made inroads to the drinks' formulations by claims of being energy enhancing and anti-inflammatory. Whether they are helpful or performance enhancing, chamomile, ginseng, cola nut, and others can be found among the ingredients.

Recovery Drinks

It's a proven scientific fact that a post-exercise (or recovery) nutrition has an immediate and a significant impact on athletic performance. Recovery nutrition allows athlete to replenish body's fuel and fluid stores, heal muscle tears and maintain body's immune function.

Main elements of any proper recovery protocol are carbohydrates, protein, fluids, sodium and potassium. Carbohydrates stored mainly in the muscles (as glycogen) and it is the body's prime fuel. After activities lasting more than 90 minutes, glycogen stores are get partially depleted; after longer efforts - muscle glycogen volumes can became dangerously low. If there is a need to continue training/racing next day, when energy stores must be replenished. Research indicates that for the first two hours after exercise the muscles are especially ready with the enzymes used to build glycogen, so this time period ("glycogen window") is the most effective time to consume carbos.

Additional research indicates the a proper proportion of protein with carbos (1 to 4) after exercise improves recovery and increases the rate of glycogen building compared to consuming carbos alone. Seems that protein is used for muscle fiber repairs (microtears), as the damaged fibers require amino acids to make muscle proteins.

Rehydration is one of the more obvious recovery strategies as exercise produces significant body fluids loss.

Sweat results not only in loss of body fluids but in loss of certain minerals. These electrolytes help body function and be in balance. Two main electrolytes found in sweat are sodium and potassium.


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