Isotonic Drinks/Energy Bars

A Rip Off?

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03/09/2002 at 11:04
I would certainly be interested if anyone can explain (scientifically) the superiority of any energy drink over a 50-50 mix of orange juice and water, with a pinch of salt stirred in.

In reality after longer runs I drink one glass of water followed by one of OJ, then put salt on whatever I'm eating afterwards :-)
WildWill    pirate
03/09/2002 at 11:19
I think it is whatever works for the individual

I’ve long used Powerade on all sessions over 1hr and if it’s warm, I carry a bottle on shorter sessions – personally my stomach will not tolerate OJ or anything acidic while exercising (Suffer from reflux)

It’s like saying why does someone run in Nikes and not Adidas – it’s what works for them.

Will
03/09/2002 at 11:22
I would love to see the "science" behind the sports drink industry debunked - but that's partly because the advertising is so irritating and mainly because I find isotonic drinks totally unpalatable (though their emetic properties are impressive) and look forward to running a race in which the drinks stations are provisioned with weak diluting squash, coffee, and butterscotch candies. With cold beer and poppadums towards the end.

Like you, Glenn, I rehydrate with squash and water. I carb up after exercise with fruit and biscuits or cake and custard, and my overall salt consumption is probably more than adequate to compensate for plenty of sweating. During runs of more than 7-8 miles, I just drink water and suck sweets. Seems to stay down and filter through adequately!
03/09/2002 at 11:32
I tend to have two points of view:

1. There are many things that will improve your performance during a run / race. Having done the correct training and tapering probably account for say 80-90% of all variables but the other 10-20% is things like shoes and kit, rehydration, weather conditions / other external factors i.e. at the margin a 'proper' sport drink might make a difference but for mortals there are many more facotrs that should be the primary focus.

2. Psychology is a big part of any sport and if you think the drink will make a difference then it probably will (but not because of the medicinal qualities of the drink per se.)

I probably fall into camp 2, although when I feeling a bit run down or before a long run I usually drink half a litre of Isostar. I also quite like powerade. Mostly though I drink tap water - although I do allow myself the luxury of letting the tap run until its cold!

Lets face it if we all bought food /drink because it was good value then the pre-packed food industry would have died many years ago.
03/09/2002 at 11:33
I was thinking at the weekend that a great recovery snack would be salted peanuts washed down with diluted orange juice. There's fluid, carbs, protein (which, apparently, aids recovery) and enough salt that it'll all form a nice isotonic mush in your stomach. Yum! Cheaper and more readily available than powerbars too.

I shall try it when I'm running again (currently grounded by the physio - swimming is all she'll allow - Aaaaarrrrggghhhh!)

Millipede
03/09/2002 at 11:57
Look forward to the report of your peanut experiment, Millipede - purists might worry about the fat content delaying gastric emptying and the fibre causing trots, but it sounds like my kind of snack.

I think Martin's comment about the pre-packed food industry is very relevant to attitudes to "performance" products. I wonder whether those of us who don't subscribe to the science are the same people who were brought up to believe that a meal isn't a meal unless you start with a pile of grains, muddy vegetables and dripping flesh rather than a plastic tray. I'd be lost if I had to bake my own bread and churn my own butter and freeze-dry my own coffee, but there's a lot of over-marketed cr*p out there.
03/09/2002 at 12:10
V-rap -

can't wait for an invitation to dinner at your place - "a pile of grains, muddy vegetables and dripping flesh" - and that's just for starters. yummmmmm! or did I misread that somehow???? ;-)

now here's a really ignorant question that I know I ought to know the answer to - what does "isotonic" actually mean? there's me spending a fortune on emetic sports drinks and I haven't a clue what it means.

also, what's the dayglo stuff that you see the Elite runners vomit? now I really want some of that.
03/09/2002 at 12:20
Achilles, I would be delighted to have you for dinner any day. What did you THINK carnivorous dinosaurs ate - Coco-Pops?

03/09/2002 at 12:50
Don't start me on this one, can't stand the way half the supermarket isles are full of overprocessed/packaged/priced c**p; meantime people complain they can't afford to buy decent fruit and veg. (OK, the mud is optional Vrap).

Nearly fell over backwards the other day when my husband's favourite snack of tinned baked beans with pork sausages in (that's what appears in the cupboard when it's his turn to do the weekly food run) claimed to be 'One of your 5 daily recommended portions of fruit and vegetables'. I obviously wasn't paying attention at school or I would have remembered that pulses, processed sweetened tomato puree and pork are members of the fruit and veg family.

No, I don't freeze-dry my own coffee but I'm an avid label reader and general big brand cynic which I'm trying, unsuccessfully, to pass onto my kids.

As for the meaning of isotonic, that's to do I think with the concentration of carbohydrates being absorbed at the same rate as er, actually I've forgotten the detail, rescue me please.
03/09/2002 at 13:40
My oldest asked me if she could count banana milkshake as a portion of fruit. I said only if I had personally seen it being made with a real banana. So the little darling dutifully whizzes up gallons of milkshake with the hand blender. I'm not quite so sure whether the baby's preferred Nutella milkshake counts, although chocolate comes from beans that grow on a tree, and nuts are NEARLY fruit...
WildWill    pirate
03/09/2002 at 14:09
V-Rap

You could say that “ I am a carnivore – I eat cows – cows eat grass – so I get my greens” ;o)

Will
Rob
03/09/2002 at 14:12
As with pretty much everyone else it seems, I normally stick to water or squash. For most of my running, I don't see the need for isotonic drinks.

However, I have used SIS Go for endurance events, such as two day mountain marathons. In these events you need to get some of your calories in your water intake, as otherwise you'll never get enough calories on board during the day. (In fact I aim for about 1000 cals in my drink, to keep me going during a 7hr plus day running in the hills.)

So, I do think they have their uses, but I certainly wouldn't use them normally.
03/09/2002 at 14:59
Just to continue the fruit and veg 'portion' swindle, when I recently bought a new type of mixed tinned beans from Sainsbury's, the label claimed that one serving would equal a fruit and veg portion. Hmm, last time I checked, beans were a protein food when a part of a vegetarian meal. Oh well. I hope not too many people are fooled by this bad advertising.

p.s. I don't have much to add on the drinks front. I once tried a free sachet of sports drink that I got with my RW mag, and it made me feel sick for the rest of the evening!
03/09/2002 at 15:16
V-rap - I was wondering if you actually cooked any of that stuff or whether predators such as yourself simply ingest it all raw - grains, mud, blood and all? ;) and "having someone for dinner" presumably means putting them on the menu? (see "Friends for Dinner", Land Before Time VI, I think - used to be my son's favourite song.)

Yes, Laura, I got about as far as that with the isotonic definition - oh dear, makes two of us. does it actually mean anything at all? anybody? or is it just part of the advertising scam?
03/09/2002 at 15:35
Yeah, Achilles, you got it. I'll take my fruit and veg quota in the form of some fava beans and a nice little chianti.

Land Before Time - wonderful! All of them! "You'll teach me to be sca-ree, and I'll teach you to fly" is among my favourite lyrics.

Aren't there any schools where you guys live? Tch, tch. Isotonic drinks have about the same number of molecules per unit volume as body fluid and therefore, allegedly, pass through the gut wall and into the system quickly. Unless, of course, your stomach uses them to generate dayglo pavement wash (it's not just elite athletes who can do that trick). Hypotonic drinks (water, weak squash, coffee) have fewer molecules per unit volume than body fluid and are good for rehydration but not so effective at providing fuel. And all this talk of invisible particles certainly makes the phrase "marketing scam" pop up from my subconscious. It reminds me of the ads for cosmetics with their claims to contain things like liposomes and provitamin-B.

And, in turn, maybe there's someone out there who knows why tinned baked beans and pasta Teletubbies count as a portion of fruit and vegetables (lycopene in the tomato sauce, perhaps?) while potatoes don't?
03/09/2002 at 15:45
Christ! this has been a rapidly growing thread. Didn't Hannibal Lecter have an old friend for dinner?

I think there probably is something in the concept of having both complex (starchy) and simple (sugary) carbohydrates in a drink to get a combination of slow and quick release energy.

OJ and squash however only have simple sugars which release their energy more quickly hence the sugar high followed by a energy low (apparently).

If you know of a natural slow-release carbohydrate that will dissolve in water then I'm all for it. It's basically starch as far as i know so shouldn't be too difficult to do. The stuff used is always "maltodextrin" in the commercial drinks.

As for the electrolyte business, i think I'd agree that a normal western diet has more than enough salt.
03/09/2002 at 15:50
Tim - I certainly did mix it with water. Although the image of me simply ripping open the sachet and eating the drink powder like barley sugar is, well, not very amusing actually.
OB
03/09/2002 at 15:57
Hey - wouldn't it be a good idea if some manufacturer put a runner's needs in terms of sugars and carbs and salt and things all into one easy to use product and called it something like Lucozade Sport? just a thought!!
03/09/2002 at 15:59
Cornflour might work as a maltodextrin substitute - you'd have to shake it up into a suspension before drinking it unless you used hot water (in which case you'd get a blancmange). Yuck!
WildWill    pirate
03/09/2002 at 16:04
Is it not easier to go out a buy a commercially produced product – lice an isotonic drink?
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