We all know the benefits of staying well hydrated. Maintaining good hydration levels can be challenging at times, especially during very hot periods. Water, of course, is the best hydration source there is, however, during training and warmer weather many of us will reach for a sports drink in the effort to help with hydration and for a source of electrolyte.
A little bit of information on sports drinks in general. Most are created in a lab – meaning the ingredients are synthetic. Many sports drinks are densely sugared. They have a high energy content which is made up of simple sugars (approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar per serve). They frequently contain ingredients including maltodextrin and food dyes. Maltodextrin is highly processed, it comes from starch and it is normally used as a filler or binder. This ingredient has no nutritional benefits and can cause allergic reactions. (1). Food dyes are a by-product of petroleum. They can cause hyperactivity in children (2), they are carcinogenic and can cause other health complications (3).
Coconut water is something you could consider as a hydration source. It is a wholefood and it easier to consume in a large amount (4). 100% coconut water comes straight from nature. It has no other ingredients, it is naturally high in electrolytes making it perfect as a pre/post exercise replenishment drink. The body will process anything that does not contain synthetic ingredients much easier.
So instead of opting for a sugar laden sports drink that is full of synthetic ingredients, coconut water could be worth a consideration.
Top 5 dangers of Maltodextrin + 5 healthier substitutes. Dr Axe website. https://draxe.com/maltodextrin/
McCann et al 2007. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9 year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet 2007. Nov 3; 370(9598): 1560-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17825405
Kobylewski et al 2012. Toxicology of Food Dyes. Int J Occup Environ Health 2012. Jul-Sept; 18(3):220-46. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23026007
Saat et al 2002. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci 2002. Mar; 21(2):93-104. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12056182