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is there really much difference between "sport drinks" and Coke/Pepsi/any soda? (Read 336 times)

    Hey! So this is probably not terribly new or different, but is there any chance at all that sport drinks are a crock? After my long and very hot run today I headed straight to the supermarket for something cold to drink. I really really wanted Coke but dithered because I dunno, I tell myself I'm a local organic sustainable consumer and Coke is therefore evil (also I was enjoying the cold air in the chilled drinks section...we don't have air conditioning here, ok??) so I stood there for a minute reading the labels on the Coke bottle and on the Powerade Sport (same concept as Gatorade). Powerade isn't something I would normally buy because the neon colors just scream YOU WILL REGRET THIS LATER, but for a minute, driven by the need for something sweet and distracted by the marketing tactics of the label, which claimed something about electrolyte absorption for athletes, I considered it.

     

    Coca-Cola ingredients: Water, Sugar, Carbonation, Coloring E150d "Sugar couleur", phosphoric acid, Aroma, Caffeine.

     

    Powerade ingredients: Water, 4% glucose, 1% maltodextrin, citric acid, acidity regulators potassium citrate and sodium citrate, aroma, stabilizers E444 and E445 (unnamed), Sweetener Aspartame,  Sweetener Acesulfan (no clue what that is in English), Coloring E122.

     

    So I'm standing there, and I'm like, really, Powerade OMGSportDrinkForAthletes? How are you not just non-bubbly soda with bonus added crap? The word electrolyte appears on the label, but there isn't even any salt in it, apparently! It's just sugar water with artificial sweeteners, some other stuff that has little to do with the nutritional profile, and dubious colorings. (there may well be a difference between regular sugar and maltodextrin, but the amount of maltodextrin in a 500ml bottle is apparently like five grains.)

     

    Aspartame gives me a stomachache and I was getting eyestrain from side-eyeing the ingredient list so hard, so I bought the Coke instead. It tasted so good that I almost felt kind of dirty afterwards knowing how much I secretly enjoy "aroma" and phosphoric acid...

     

    tl;dr Powerade makes Coke look healthy. Gross.


    Feeling the growl again

      The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation.  Coke also has caffeine where most sports drinks do not.  In the days before Gatorade, watered down, flat Coke was a much-used "sports drink".

       

      In the few ultras that I have run, I take a Mountain Dew a couple times.  But the sugar is too concentrated to use more frequently.

      "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

       

        The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation.  Coke also has caffeine where most sports drinks do not.  In the days before Gatorade, watered down, flat Coke was a much-used "sports drink".

         

        In the few ultras that I have run, I take a Mountain Dew a couple times.  But the sugar is too concentrated to use more frequently.

         

        Ah, ok. So that explains the two different artificial sweeteners, right? Because the total amount of sugar is not enough to make it taste really sweet (and all the other crap in there probably doesn't taste great on its own...).

         

        Now that you mention it, I drank flat coke once at an aid station late in a very hot and difficult half marathon, and it was pretty much the best thing ever.

         

        You say caffeine like it's a bad thing Big grin


        Feeling the growl again

           

          Ah, ok. So that explains the two different artificial sweeteners, right? Because the total amount of sugar is not enough to make it taste really sweet (and all the other crap in there probably doesn't taste great on its own...).

           

          Now that you mention it, I drank flat coke once at an aid station late in a very hot and difficult half marathon, and it was pretty much the best thing ever.

           

          You say caffeine like it's a bad thing Big grin

          I'm on my third cup of coffee.  I'm fine with caffeine!

           

          Not sure about the artificial sweeteners...never drink Powerade, don't know what's in it.  Weird to put both sugar and artificial in the same drink.

           

          After my first marathon, where I was pretty much delirious with low blood sugar (I crashed at 16 and had little vision when I finished), I polished off a 6-pack of Pepsi in the finish area.

          "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

           

            The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation. 

             

            I have read that high carbs concentrations can make you feel sick during a run... and that adding CO2 would avoid this issue. In this regard it would make sense to have plain coke at the aids stations. BTW... why not beer? alcohol free, of course (or notEvil, bwahahaa) yummy!

            When I run I feel like a swallow

            Because you are free like a bird?

            Nope, because of all the flies I eat.

             

              The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation.  Coke also has caffeine where most sports drinks do not.  In the days before Gatorade, watered down, flat Coke was a much-used "sports drink".

               

              There have also been suggestions that the phosphoric acid in colas could have some adverse effects (ie bone loss), but I havent seen any conclusive data supporting this.

               

              There are data to support that caffeine can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption, but only at high doses (>300mg / 6 cups a day).  But then again there are a large number of studies showing long term benefits of coffee drinking.  I say drink up.

               

              And if we hearken back to still more simple times, strychnine was used as a sports drink.

                 

                I have read that high carbs concentrations can make you feel sick during a run... and that adding CO2 would avoid this issue. In this regard it would make sense to have plain coke at the aids stations. BTW... why not beer? alcohol free, of course (or notEvil, bwahahaa) yummy!

                 

                 

                Alcohol free beer is a popular choice in Germany - usually at the end of races, though, cause yeah, nobody wants bubbly stuff while they're running!

                   

                  There have also been suggestions that the phosphoric acid in colas could have some adverse effects (ie bone loss), but I havent seen any conclusive data supporting this.

                   

                  There are data to support that caffeine can inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption, but only at high doses (>300mg / 6 cups a day).  But then again there are a large number of studies showing long term benefits of coffee drinking.  I say drink up.

                   

                  And if we hearken back to still more simple times, strychnine was used as a sports drink.

                   

                  OMG strychnine Shocked I don't know whether to laugh or just be appalled. Perhaps I shall do both...

                   

                  I just polished off a 450ml glass of iced coffee with cream in it.  It's really only good with cream. Also, it is very important to counteract all that phosphoric acid bone loss with calcium. Prost!

                    "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus

                    spinach


                       Alcohol free beer is a popular choice in Germany - usually at the end of races, though, cause yeah, nobody wants bubbly stuff while they're running!

                       

                      I once ran a race in Spain and within 5 seconds of me crossing the finish line, they scanned my number, handed me a print out of my results and a real beer (not alcohol free).


                      Bad Ass

                        I never drink Mountain Dew outside of ultras but damn, that thing is delicious after Mile 25!

                         

                        The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation.  Coke also has caffeine where most sports drinks do not.  In the days before Gatorade, watered down, flat Coke was a much-used "sports drink".

                         

                        In the few ultras that I have run, I take a Mountain Dew a couple times.  But the sugar is too concentrated to use more frequently.

                        Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                        Blog

                        "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                          The most significant differences are sugar concentration and carbonation.  

                           

                          Isn't the main difference in the electrolytes? Gatorade has 3x the sodium (110mg vs. 35mg) and some potassium (30mg vs. 0). I am sure there are arguments about any real benefits of this vs plain water or anything else, but that is certainly the purpose of the product. 

                          Dave


                          Feeling the growl again

                             

                             

                            Alcohol free beer is a popular choice in Germany - usually at the end of races, though, cause yeah, nobody wants bubbly stuff while they're running!

                             

                            Speak for yourself, I'm running a beer mile in 3 hours.

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             


                            Feeling the growl again

                               

                              Isn't the main difference in the electrolytes? Gatorade has 3x the sodium (110mg vs. 35mg) and some potassium (30mg vs. 0). I am sure there are arguments about any real benefits of this vs plain water or anything else, but that is certainly the purpose of the product. 

                               

                              That is A difference, IMHO the others are more significant.  YMMV.

                              "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                               

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                        

                                Mt. Dew = Evil

                                 

                                Sport Drinks? Meh

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