Sport drinks have been around since the mid 60’s with Gatorade’s (US) debut, a drink formulated for the University of Florida’s football team ‘Gators’ to replenish the water, carbohydrates and electrolytes lost during rigorous sports.
The original Gatorade formula was water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice – a classic recipe for a hydrating electrolyte replacement drink.
Throughout the years, many other ‘sports’ drinks have hit the market, influencing the public into believing the adverts and photos of an athletic youth tanking up with swigs of the latest trendy sport drink…like Gorgeous George in the photo here.
But, what exactly IS a sports drink and why not just…water?
- Its purpose is to hydrate the body and replace lost electrolytes during and after workouts or heavy sport.
- Supplies 13-19g. or carbohydrate, usually containing nearly as much or more sugar (or worse, high fructose corn syrup) than in a carbonated drink.
- May contain artificial sweetener.
- Has roughly 80-110mg of sodium.
- May contain BMV, bromiated vegetable oil. It insures that any citrus oils do not rise to the top, a kind of emulsifier. It also stabilizes flavour.
- Artificial flavouring and colouring.
Electrolyte replacement is crucial during heavy activity where profuse sweating causes not only water loss but the body ‘salts’ and ions as well. Briefly, these ions are important inter-cellular electrical impulses. Here is an excellent deeper explanation.
A sport drink is not meant to be used as a beverage, but exclusively during and after rigorous workouts or sipped in small amounts to replace the electrolytes and water loss due to diarrhea.
Making your own, however, is quick and more importantly YOU know what is in it. You will find the recipe in the Quick Recipe section. Stir up you own healthy, sports drink and enjoy!
(Please note there are contraindications to ORT. Click here for more info.)