Healthy Alternatives to Fitness Drinks
People drink fitness or sports drinks for a number of reasons. Some truly need the replenishment they offer. Some simply like the taste. Some use them as a soda substitute.
Ideally, we would drink these “fitness” type drinks when our bodies actually needed them. Otherwise, we just should drink water. Our bodies don’t need the added sugar or fake sugar, dyes, and sometimes even the excess minerals. As a follow-up to my blog “Can You Drink Too Much Water” where I evaluate some of the most popular “fitness” drinks, I thought I’d share some healthy fitness drinks with you:
Coconut water is an all-natural beverage that contains electrolytes, i.e., potassium and sodium, some have the magnesium and calcium, too. You can buy it plain or flavored with fruit purée and/or coconut purée, adding some natural fruit sugars to it. It’s easy to find at Trader Joe’s or online at vitacost.com for $2 – $3 for 1 liter/16 ounces.
This is a packet supplement that you mix with water that includes antioxidants, electrolytes, and B vitamins, along with vitamin C. It comes in a variety of flavors and includes all four of the electrolytes I discussed in the last blog: calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. The B vitamins come in small amounts, but the vitamin C is concentrated into 1000 mg, a high dose for a non-time released, water-soluble vitamin. This supplement may provide a nice option for someone who needs additional immune system support through illness. Each packet does contain 5 g of fructose, although some flavors are now sweetened with Stevia. Like I always say, READ LABELS. You can find Emergen-C at vitacost.com or Trader Joe’s carries a wide variety.
Trader Joe’s sells its own brand of electrolyte water, which contains deionized water, potassium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride. No sodium and no sugar. If you are perspiring heavily, however, and eat a balanced diet, you very well may need the sodium replacement. Plain waters with electrolytes only and no sugar are popping up so look out for new brands.
As I often say, listen to your body. Through signals and symptoms it tells you what it needs, and what it doesn’t. What works for one person, may not work for another. Personally, I:
- Keep it simple
- Eliminate sugar wherever possible (reserving it for special treats)
- Stick to my baseline balanced style of eating
- When something pops up, I try different strategies until I find what’s right for me