With the temperature rising, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated, especially for those exercising out in the heat. But not all sports drinks are equally effective, and others have artificial add-ins that you may choose to avoid.
Keep in mind:
*Sugar-containing sports drinks are typically only needed when exercise is longer than 60-90 minutes
*It’s essential to replenish electrolytes, particularly when losing large amounts of sweat, even during shorter workouts (or working in the heat)
*Sodium is the main electrolyte lost through sweat, so a higher-sodium sports drink can actually be more desirable for fluid replenishment and preventing muscle cramping.
Generation UCAN – Cran-Raz (Available locally at Varsity Sports)
Per packet: 110 cals, 31 grams carb, 1 grams sugar, 240 mg sodium, 140 mg potassium
- It's a powdered drink mix made with ‘Superstarch’ – which uses cornstarch instead of sugars, so UCAN provides sustained energy with stable blood sugar levels, instead of an energy spike then crash.
- Cran-Raz is stevia sweetened (other flavors are sweetened with Splenda); it also has no artificial colors.
Skratch (Available locally at Bicycle World)
Per scoop (makes 16-ounces): 80 cals, 20 grams carb, 20 grams sugar, 310 mg sodium, 40 mg potassium, 60 mg calcium
- It has no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors and is flavored and colored with freeze-dried fruit.
Zico Coconut Water (Zico, because it has more sodium than most other coconut waters)
Per 14-ounce bottle: 60 calories, 13 grams carb, 12 grams sugar, 160 mg sodium, 569 mg potassium (more than a banana).
- No artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors
- Note: Zico is in the ‘like it’ category because not enough carbs for most people to use as a true sports drink, but this is a great lower-sugar, potassium-rich beverage option, otherwise.