For a very long time now, whenever I heard the word electrolyte I would immediately think of the popular sports drinks: Gatorade and Powerade. Either because of the commercials on TV from childhood, or the infamous big, orange, “Gatorade” dispenser that is hauled to every sporting event. These drinks are known by millions as a way to replenish the electrolytes that are lost during intense physical exercise and provide you with energy during sports games or workouts.
The first thing that made me skeptical of these famed electrolyte concoctions was their generally bright color, often red, green, blue or orange. These are definitely not very natural looking colors. So then I thought, what else is in these things and is there not a healthier, more natural way to replenish the body’s electrolytes?
Breakdown Of Some Of The Harmful Ingredients In Sports Drinks
A few of the ingredients listed below are also mentioned in the article entitled: 13 Chemicals Used In Food products In The USA Today That Are Banned In Other Countries.
Brominated Vegetable Oil– Or BVO, is added specifically to beverages that contain citrus oils. It helps prevent the oils from rising to the surface and serves as an emulsifier. BVO is approved by the FDA, recently however, there has been some research conducted to show that there are some alarming health concerns for those who consume this additive on a regular basis. According to Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest: “For people who frequently consume one or two liters of a drink with BVO, there’s a real risk of organ damage. Drinking smaller amounts may not have an ill effect, but it is impossible to know for sure.” Jacobson believes that the FDA has not done enough testing on this ingredient to deem it as safe. Luckily, thanks to consumer awareness, PepsiCo (owner of Gatorade) has agreed to stop using this chemical in its products. When? Only time will tell.
Sucralose– Sucralose is found in some sugar free varieties and also goes by the name Splenda. This sugar substitute was praised as a safe alternative to sugar, and even aspartame, but research has shown otherwise. According to a research review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, sucralose has been found to reduce the “good” gut bacteria, release harmful toxins into your body called chloroproanols and alter your body’s responses such as insulin and blood sugar levels among others.
High Fructose Corn Syrup– Aka Glucose/Fructose (in Canada.) Not only is this ingredient known to be highly addictive, according to numerous studies, it is also highly toxic for us to consume, with some experts even calling it a neurotoxin.
Artificial Colors– Depending on the flavor of sports drink you choose, the color will vary, but there is one thing they all have in common –they are all artificial. These additives have been linked to: hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), loss of focus and concentration, tumors, cancer. According to the Center For Science in the Public Interest foods containing artificial colors should be avoided entirely.
But What About The Electrolytes?
Sure, these drinks do provide you with some electrolytes. But is it really worth it when you consider all the other crap that you’re getting along with them? Did you know that you could make your own, super easy, healthy (sometimes cheaper) sports drink?
Homemade Sports Drink Recipe
- 2 Cups Filtered Water or Raw Young Coconut Water
- ¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- ½ Cup Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 2 Tblsp. Raw Organic Honey or Organic Maple Syrup
- 1/8 Tsp. Sea Salt or Himalayan Pink Salt
Place all ingredients into a mason jar with a tight fitting lid, shake it all up, and enjoy! This couldn’t be any easier. It is best to use right away, but will last in the fridge for a few days.
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