Synthetic, sugary drinks should be avoided

Over the years, popular sports drinks have been distributed to children as a healthy way to replenish electrolytes lost during a sporting event. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What exactly is in Gatorade and PowerAde? Let’s start with sugar. Fourteen grams are found in a single serving. This is not your simple table sugar, but a potent mix of heavily refined sucrose syrups, think liquefied empty calories, and glucose-fructose. Diseases, including conditions of the heart, joints, bone, brain, blood, liver, and connective tissue have all been implicated in the use of various sweeteners. Add toxic colors and chemical additives and you now have a drink that can quickly put a person on the path to future health problems.

Although Gatorade removed Brominated Vegetable Oil from its ingredient list earlier this year after an on-line petition was started by a 15-year-old high school athlete, it is still used in PowerAde and can be found in approximately one out of 10 sodas on the market. This ingredient is a patented synthetic chemical flame retardant that has been banned in Japan and the EU and is used as an emulsifier to distribute flavor evenly throughout. The New York Times Stephanie Strom filed a report on the health effects of BVO, finding research that connects the substance with “neurological impairment, reduced fertility, changes in thyroid hormones and puberty at an early age.”

So what is an alternative? First, rehydrate with water within 15 minutes of a workout. Dehydration actually increases the ratio of electrolytes to water, so in reality, when you are dehydrated, you have electrolyte overload and must replace the water first. Then within 30 minutes, add some protein and complex carbohydrates and you will find your electrolytes replaced naturally, without the use of sugary, synthetic drinks.

Tamy McAnsh