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High-Sugar Sports Drink Sales up 35% as School Starts

in BLOGS/USA by

Despite the health risks, parents are stockpiling gatorade and similar ‘sports’ drinks as kids head back to school and back on the field.

Despite the American Academy of Paediatrics and many other reputable organisations, including the Connecticut state government, attempting to limit consumption of the sugary beverages, sports drinks experienced a 35 percent spike in sales over the course of five weeks leading up to school starting thus year. The numbers come courtesy of a recent Nielsen insights report in which parents appear to be apathetic towards increased dental costs and obesity rates.

“Given the current epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity, we recommend the elimination of calorie-containing beverages from a well-balanced diet,” reads the official AAP stance on sports drinks, which carries a notable caveat: Low-fat or fat-free milk, given its Calcium & Vitamin D content. 

Though some research indicates that certain young athletes may benefit from the combination of carbohydrates, protein, or electrolytes sports drinks offer, those studies are greatly outnumbered by studies accentuating the opposite. For most kids engaged in routine physical activities, doing an impression of that awesome Gatorade sweat ad merely translates into empty calories and extra trips to the dentist. Still, all that slurping is understandable if you look at the market; given that most schools have phased out selling sodas, beverage manufacturers have been pushing sports drinks, which have become the third-fastest growing beverage category in the U.S. after bottled water and energy drinks since 2006.

Not all hydration is created equal. SOS has 5x less sugar & calories than Gatorade. Try it here today

Since that time, some school districts have fought policy battles over sports drinks. Connecticut banned them from schools along with soda in 2006 and the The U.S. Agriculture Department launched an initiative to get Gatorade and drinks like it out of schools in 2013. But all that legislative effort is largely pointless if parents are going to send kids with sports drinks in their back packs anyways.

Still, the Nielsen data wasn’t all bad news and shows that parents are at least paying more attention to labels. They found that consumers spend 37 percent more on sports drinks that are free of artificial sweeteners and 19 percent more on drinks free of sugar in the same five-week back to school period. The absence of artificial colours and the presence of antioxidant properties also boosted sales 25 and 29 percent, respectively. And the most popular item of all were apples with $243.5 million in sales.

Magnesium and Muscle Cramps

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING/TRIATHLON by

Anyone who has suffered from a muscle cramp during or after exercise understands that it’s definitely something worth trying to avoid.

For those who have been lucky enough to evade them, a muscle cramp is a sudden, involuntary, painful contraction of a muscle. These symptoms generally ease off within seconds to minutes but are often accompanied by a palpable knotting of the muscle. While magnesium does play many important roles in the body, unfortunately the prevention/reduction of exercise-induced muscle cramps is not one of these. It is easy to be confused considering the heavy marketing for magnesium supplements and the prevention of cramps, but to date the scientific research suggests that there is no strong link between exercise-induced muscle cramps and magnesium supplementation.

While oral magnesium does not appear to have any beneficial effects in athletes with adequate magnesium, supplementation may improve performance in individuals with a diagnosed deficiency. Those undertaking a high volume chronic training load (e.g. long distance runners) or those with a restricted energy intake may be at risk of magnesium deficiency, although this is not common and you should always get this checked out with your GP before supplementation. It is worthwhile noting that the intestinal absorption of magnesium varies depending on how much magnesium the body needs. If there is too much magnesium, the body will only absorb as much as it needs. So how much do I need? I hear you ask. The recommendations suggest that adults consume a range between 350 and 400 mg/day as the upper limit. Most individuals who are eating a healthy well balanced diet will be acquiring the required amount of magnesium through wholefoods. Good food sources of magnesium include vegetables, legumes, fish, nuts and whole grains. For example, 30g of brazil nuts provides ~100mg, and ½ cup cooked quinoa provides ~50mg of magnesium.

1 litre of SOS Rehydrate provides 20% of the recommended daily intake of Magnesium

Ok, so what does cause cramps and what can I do to avoid them?

What we do know about cramps is that the main risk factors include; family history of cramping, previous occurrence of cramps during or after exercise, increased exercise intensity and duration, and inadequate conditioning for the activity. This explains the classic example of cramping on race day. During a race you’re typically working at a higher intensity than normal, and often over a longer duration than during training.

From a nutrition perspective, glycogen depletion (insufficient carbohydrate) or low energy availability can also contribute to fatigue and therefore cramping. This highlights the importance of getting your nutrition and fuelling plans for long sessions and races spot on.

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