How Sport Drinks Companies Trick Us (Plus 4 DIY Recipes)

This is a guest post by Vani Hari a.k.a Food Babe.

Let’s face it – Sports drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde are some of the worst things you could possibly put in your body. They are made up of mostly chemically treated & refined sugar (as much as a typical soda), artificial colors, artificial sugars and other ingredients that are dreadful for your body. They usually contain natural flavor to cover up the fact there is absolutely no fruit juice in the drinks to make their fruity flavors. To think athletes and exercise enthusiasts drink this to refuel is crazy!

Even more upsetting, many doctors – not knowing any better – recommend these sports drinks to parents with sick children. I remember it was always the remedy of choice for hydration in my household growing up.

So how did we get so duped? The Atlantic reported that scientists 40 years ago were paid by sport drink companies to tell us we would not be able to sufficiently hydrate ourselves with just water, that our children didn’t drink enough at meals, and that we would lose performance during sporting events if we didn’t drink this artificially flavored and colored salt water. These companies developed school outreach programs to get even more children to buy into the thought of drinking sports drinks at an early age.

Are you shocked? I certainly am!

Regardless of all the slick marketing propaganda and questionable additives, sports drinks do one thing well. They replace electrolytes. But what is the big secret behind the ingredients that do this? To replace electrolytes you don’t need some tricky formula, man made chemicals, refined sugars or colors. All you need is simple real food sources that provide a few key minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium.

Here are 4 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally and give your body some serious nutrition at the same time. Remember to choose organic ingredients whenever possible.

  1. Juice Celery + Apple + Lemon - This juice combination works wonders for replacement of electrolytes. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit
  2. Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – This is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might think drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to treat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mix because it makes the body less acidic and provides an additional source of sodium bicarbonate.
  3. Shake Raw Coconut Water + Chia Seeds - Raw coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and potassium that will not only help you stay hydrated but also keep your body from getting any cramps. It is completely natural and very low in sugar. Combine this with a packet of chia seeds and you have a 1-2 punch! Chia seeds are an incredible energy food – full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, fiber. These seeds have the ability to keep you from getting dehydrated because of they can hold 9 times their weight in water! There are travel packs available that don’t need refrigeration either – perfect for just throwing in your gym bag or purse.
  4. Blend Frozen Banana + Almond Milk + Kale – This smoothie is extremely hydrating. The banana provides a good source of potassium and magnesium which help regulate your fluid stores. Almonds are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium. When you make your almond milk, make sure you add sea salt (store bought almond milk already has salt added to it). Kale is a superfood and another excellent source of magnesium and calcium.

Now go outside and sweat, so you can enjoy one of these yummy combinations!

 

Vani Hari is Food Babe, a food activist and blogger. Follow her on Facebook, tweet her on Twitter, email her here and/or subscribe to stay updated on her latest posts.

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  • Corey Rowland

    Great post! I couldn’t agree more about the impact of sports drinks. They really do try to trick you into thinking that water is insufficient, that if you drink one of their products, you’ll automatically perform at a higher level.

  • cuddly_cinnabun

    Another delicious, hydrating juice combination is 1 apple + 1 whole lemon + 1 small chunk ginger + 2 clementines (or small oranges)

    The flavor combination is so envigorating, and it helps replenish lost electrolytes and fluids after intense exercise. It’s my go-to combo after a long run!

    • Steph

      That sounds delicious, thanks!

    • SusiMatthews

      Oh my goodness, that sounds good!

  • Fairfield Easton

    What, pray tell, does “chemically treated & refined sugar” actually mean? Do you understand it either? I don’t.

    • Darrien Glasser

      Excuse the late answer, but Fooducate actually did an article in it a while back, check it out here.

      blog.fooducate.com/2012/09/12/brown-sugar-white-sugar-which-is-healthier/

  • Becka

    Hmmm. Not sure about that lemon-maple recipe. Half a teaspoon each of sea salt and baking soda gives you about 1500mg of sodium in 8oz of water. Did you actually give that one a try? I’ve made my own sports drinks before and used maybe 1/8tsp of salt to 16oz water, and even then the saltiness is quite evident.

  • Vitality TV

    Great post – sports drinks are a huge waste of money – no need for them, you can make better, healthier, more natural options as you suggest. Unfortunately, they spend a huge amount of money on advertising so people continue to buy them.