Are you finishing your workout with a brightly coloured sports drink in order to replenish those electrolytes you lost sweating? These beverages do supply some electrolytes, but they also supply a lot more that you definitely don’t want. Here’s what you’re getting:
Artificial Colours- May cause allergy reactions or a worsening of asthma symptoms, exactly what you need to perform your best. They have also been shown to cause hyperactivity disorders in children. Sport drink companies use artificial colours so you can “tell different flavours apart”.
Brominated Vegetable Oils- BVO is a vegetable oil (usually soy) that has had a bromine molecule attached to it. Bromine is not found naturally in any foods and it has been banned for human consumption in over 100 countries. Overconsumption of BVO’s can cause memory loss, tremors, fatigue, loss of muscle coordination, headache, ptosis (drooping) of the right eyelid as well as elevated serum chloride. BVO’s are used in sports drinks to keep “flavour oils evenly distributed”.
High Fructose Corn Syrup- HFCS has been linked to Diabetes and Obesity, probably not the main goals of your workout.
Sucralose- If you choose a sugar-free sports drink it will be sweetened with Sucralose, an artificial sweetener which is a chlorinated sucrose derivative. Sucralose has been shown to shrink the thymus gland.
What to drink instead?
Luckily, there is a healthier replacement to sports drinks. Coconut water is an all natural electrolyte replacement from young coconuts. Most sports drinks only contain sodium, potassium, and chloride. Coconut water also contains magnesium (which is essential for proper muscle relaxation and recovery) and calcium. Some people even claim that you can use coconut water as a blood transfusion because it’s electrolyte ratios are so similar to our blood’s (just in case you are stuck on a deserted island).
Coconut water can be found in many health food and grocery stores. Choose brands that do not contain extra sugar or preservatives. Or you can always buy a young coconut and crack it open!