Sunday, January 3, 2016

Refueling the Right Way

Competitive athletes often train with their specialized diets and foods specific their training goals, but then find themselves consuming foods with artificial ingredients and not necessarily in line with their nutrition needs. The West Coast is on the front lines of this change, as one of the largest road races, switched their on-course beverage from familiar Gatorade to Nuun (“noon”), a low calorie electrolyte drink including natural ingredients of extract of monk fruit and stevia plants. Athletes are typically advised by experts to consume the nutrition during training that they will be performing with on course. Gatorade dominates the sports drink industry, with a 77% share of the market. Fortunately, the company has made changes to the drink including the removal of high fructose corn syrup and brominated vegetable oil (BVO). (Health concerns with BVO is related to bromine build up in the body which has been linked to reported memory loss and skin and nerve problems.) This is a move in the right direction, however, smaller, natural brands that may provide a larger benefit nutritionally to athletic performance do not have the funds that typically pay for “official-partner” status. Companies such as PowerBar of Emeryvile, California and Gu Energy Labs keeps a low ingredient list to their products because of the increase in organic choices. In order to keep up with nutrition needs, athletes are allowed to either consume on course beverages or bring their own. Olympic triathlete Sarah True drinks water and eats packets of organic maple syrup from a company called UnTapped. Maybe if there is enough increase in demand for these organic products, they can become the new face of sports performance nutrition.

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