Carbohydrates, Electrolytes & all things nice.

Posted on 04/12/2018

Is that what your energy drink is actually made of?

The world of nutritional drinks is one of the most complex and possibly most controversial subjects out there. I have lost count at the number of different manufacturers that are actually out there producing either energy drinks, Electrolyte replacement drinks, gels, energy bars and any number of other variations that have appeared in the last 15 years.

All of the manufacturers claim that their products are the best because of a number of things but who is actually right? I have never backed a brand of energy drink in my life. Purely because I get the same effect from a large % of them and yes there are some that are absolutely horrid but who’s to say that the experienced which I had, will be the same for you. I have had upset stomachs, nausea, and vomiting while riding my bike with some of the stuff.

The latest one I tried gave me such a headache that it felt like I had a hangover of untold proportions. That was not just after one ride, but I had the same effect after 3 rides following the same route, riding the same intensity at set stages BUT changing the mix from 100% according to the container to 60% of the recommended mix.

For any person to say that their drink is the best in the world for you must be someone who knows every single little thing about you, This would entail knowing everything about your sleeping and eating patterns, knowing your work family and social responsibilities and stresses and how your body functions with certain foods all rolled into one. It ain’t happening, is it?

In July 2014 I wrote an article entitled “Throw your Training Diet Out”. In it, I spoke about the 3 systems in our bodies that determine what type of person we are via metabolic typing. This way you could work out what to eat to perform at your best based on your bodies shape and needs. Yes, this theory has since been blown out the water by Dr. Tim Noakes but I have no doubt that some aspects still stay true.

Well choosing a brand of energy drink or supplement needs to be addressed in the same way. All of the brands these days produce serving size sachets for you to buy and try. In your first 8 weeks of training for a 70.3 or Ironman (if you’re new to the sport), you need to use as many to see what makes you sick and what gives you a boost. For those in a winter recess, this is the ideal time to do the test. Once you find the right solution then you stick to it and never change UNLESS it starts giving you problems.

The last 8 weeks of training leading into a major race should be with the exact nutritional drink, gel or bar that you will use on race day. Hey, I use cereal bars and a ham sandwich with butter on brown bread and mayo (I know weird but it works for me) As for drinks well I have my brand I would rather not mention it and in so doing punt a specific brand.

What I have done though is I have taken just 6 internationally recognised brands who’s energy drinks are available internationally and listed the 45 different ingredients used in some or all of the 6 drinks. The list is mind-blowing, to say the least, especially when you find a product which has something in it that has no nutritional value to the human body.

Hopefully, once you have had a chance to read through all 45, you will have a better understanding of the ingredients and their purpose. When you do read the list of ingredients, always remember that they are listed in order of content in the product. Regardless of where you are in the world, use the next 6 weeks to get a better understanding of energy drinks and how they affect you while racing, training and in your general life.


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