Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte? Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water! However, it turns out that they have been misleading us. There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD. For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange: water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6. Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?! AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!
One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content. In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat. It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!
Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more. They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.
Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda! A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.
After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated. There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:
- Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
- Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
- Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
- Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
- Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)
Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink. A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2). All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption! You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!