FUELED Wellness + Nutrition | Love it, Like it, Hate it: Sports drinks + Electrolyte Replenishing Drinks

FUELED Wellness with Molly

The (virtual) Crescent City Classic is this weekend and regardless of your pace or level of conditioning, staying well-hydrated is essential not only to optimize performance during the classic, but also to make it through the upcoming summer heat, safely. And ordinary sports drinks aren’t always our best answer.  Molly has the inside scoop on the best & worst sports drinks on shelves to fuel performance and optimize hydration for athletes and non-athletes alike.

  • It’s essential to replenish electrolytes, particularly when losing large amounts of sweat
  • Sodium is the main electrolyte lost in sweat,
  • Sugar-containing sports drinks are typically only needed when exercise is longer than 60-90 minutes

LOVE IT!

Sports drinks with little or no sugar | good for workouts lasting one hour or less

Body Armor LYTE

  • The LYTE version is hands down my top pick for a regular grab-and-go sports drink
  • Per 16 ounces: 20 calories – 18 grams carb – 2 grams sugar – 40 mg sodium – 700 mg potassium
  • No artificial sweeteners or colors (sweetened with stevia; colored with natural juice extracts)

nuun hydration electrolyte drink tabs

  • Per tablet: 10 calories – 4 gram carb – 1 gram sugar – 300 mg sodium – 150 mg potassium
  • No artificial sweeteners or colors (sweetened with stevia; colored with vegetable juice extracts)

Ultima Stick Packs or Powder

  • Per scoop or stick pack: 0 calories – 0 carb – 0 sugar – 55 mg sodium – 250 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include minerals, sweetened with stevia, colored with natural vegetable colors

SOS Hydration

  • Per stick pack: 10 calories – – 3 grams carb – 3 grams sugar – 350 mg sodium – 190 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sugar, salt + other minerals, sweetened additionally with stevia

ICONIC Protein Drink

  • Per 12 ounces: 140 calories – 8 grams carb – 0 sugar – 20 grams protein – 85 mg sodium – 350 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include grass-fed milk protein isolate, prebiotic chicory root fiber, minders, sweetened with monkfruit and stevia.

Pickle Juice

  • The acetic acid in pickle juice can help relieve a cramp within seconds

LIKE IT!

Sports drinks with moderate sugar content | good for workouts > 90 min and/or high sweat losses

nuun ENDURANCE Drink Powder

  • Per scoop: 60 calories – 16 grams carb – 15 grams sugar – 380 mg sodium – 200 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sucrose, dextrose, natural blueberry flavors, beet juice powder, stevia.

MyHy Active [by former LSU QB Matt Flynn]

  • Per packet: 60 calories – 12 grams carb – 12 grams sugar – 640 mg sodium – 130 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sugar, minerals, sweetened with stevia

Liquid IV

  • Per stick pack: 45 calories – 12 grams carb – 11 grams sugar – 500 mg sodium – 380 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sugar, salt, more minerals, sweetened with stevia

Bolt 24 by Gatorade

  • Per 16 ounces: 80 calories – 20 grams carbs – 19 grams sugar – 230 mg sodium – 60 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sugar, stevia, natural plant-based colors

Coconut Water

  • Per 16 ounces: 90 calories – 23 grams carb – 20 grams sugar – 75 mg sodium – 979 mg potassium
  • Ingredient: Coconut water (occasionally less than 1% sugar and vitamin C added)

Zero sugar yet very low electrolytes | good for everyday hydration, not exercise with high sweat losses

Vitaminwater Zero Sugar

  • Per 20 ounces: 20 calories – 4 grams carb – 0 sugar – 0 sodium
  • Ingredients include water, erythritol, vitamins, minerals, sweetened with stevia
  • Excellent source for everyday hydration but lacking the sodium + potassium needed to be effective electrolyte-rich fluid replacer during or after exercise

HATE IT!

Sports drinks with added sugar and/or artificial sweeteners, plus artificial food dyes

Mio Sport

  • Per squeeze: 0 calories – 0 carb – 0 sugar – 75 mg sodium – 35 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include minerals, vitamins, sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium; colored with artificial food dyes

Powerade Zero Sugar & Gatorade ZERO:

  • Per 12 ounces: 0 calories – 0 carb – 0 sugar – approx. 300 mg sodium – approx. 100 mg potassium
  • Contains artificial food dyes and artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium)

G2

  • Per 12 ounces:  30 calories – 8 grams carb – 7 grams sugar – 160 mg sodium – 45 mg potassium
  • Contains artificial food dyes and artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium)

Gatorade & Powerade

  • Per 12 ounces: ~80 calories – 21 grams carbs – 21 grams sugar – 150-160 mg sodium – 35-45 mg potassium
  • Ingredients include sugar/high fructose corn syrup + artificial food dyes

*

Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a registered dietitian + nutrition journalist in New Orleans, and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative. Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @MollyKimballRD. See more of Molly’s articles + TV segments at www.mollykimball.com

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