I’ve had a few favorite brands of sports energy drink over the years. I started off with SIS which was great, a bit sweet and so difficult to pour into bike bottles accurately. I then used Endurox which came in large tubs – the marketing about protein and stuff was good but the reason I bought it was because it was available at my local bike store. Nestle Powerbar products I hate with a passion – sweet, sticky, and over promoted.
I never really wondered what went into them and where the ingredients come from, so when I saw this article from Ironguides, a triathlon coaching company, I decided to find out more. [Disclosure - I was coached in 2009-10 by Ironguides]. Coach Jomo has sat down with 6 major brands of sport drink – he doesn’t tell us which and found out about all the ingredients.
However, I have taken just 6 internationally recognized brands producing energy drinks that are available worldwide and listed the 45 ingredients used in some or all of them. The list is mind blowing to say the least, especially when you find a product with ingredients that offer no nutritional value to the human body.
I’ve tried going paleo over the years and am now broadly on a no-factory food diet. So this list of ingredients was pretty off putting. That said they do the job and fuel your race performance. It’s just something to be considered: are these products a good fit with the rest of your healthy lifestyle and should we be asking manufacturers to produce drinks that fit better with an organic/paleo lifestyle?
The article also covers the best way of choosing a brand of sports drink that is going to work for you. The only omission seems to be considering what the race organiser will give you on race day.
Well, choosing a brand of energy drinks or supplements needs to be addressed in the same way. All 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 as possible to see which one makes you sick and which one gives you a boost. In short, you need to test which brand and which product(s) work(s) for you.
You can read the full article at Ironguides here.