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#21 mstevens

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 11:42 PM

Best electrolyte drink I've encountered is pedialyte which is available in every pharmacy.


I do realize the discussion is actually about "sports drinks", but...

Pedialyte is nothing more or less than the old World Health Organization's oral rehydration formula sold pre-mixed for suburban convenience at much higher cost than the WHO stuff (which has also been replaced with a reduced osmolarity formulation since Pedialyte hit the market).

It's intended to replace fluids lost to diarrhea, especially from such things as cholera. The sugars and salts ("electrolytes") are in it because they cause much faster absorption and better retention than water drunk alone, not really to replace lost electrolytes. It is not intended to replace fluids lost to sweating, or really even vomiting (though many use it for that). It's very easy to make a highly-effective "close enough" version using nothing more than table salt, sugar (of many different types), and water.

If you have access to a pharmacy or chemical supply (for potassium chloride and citric acid), it's easy to duplicate it exactly. WHO supplies it in packets to make 1 liter for about a dime, if you buy them by the pallet. Abbott is making a nice profit on it in Pedialyte bottles with awful artificial flavors added.

For short-term use, WHO officially recommends starting with homemade ORT solution (6 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of table salt, and 1 liter of water - for those without US measuring spoon, a teaspoon is now officially defined as 5mL, so by volume that's 30mL of sugar and 2.5mL of salt) at the start of diarrhea before dehydration has begun.

rehydrate.org is a good source of information about this.

Summary:
Pedialyte isn't for sports use
Pedialyte is convenient
Pedialyte is rarely necessary as long as you have access to sugar, salt, and clean water
Pedialyte might be a good choice for someone who actually has cholera or some other form of severe diarrhea and has good access to Western grocery stores but not, for some reason, access to an actual hospital
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#22 nauticab

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:01 AM

That's not how physiology works. Simple sugars are, by far, the very easiest thing of all to digest. So easy, in fact, that if you don't have enough of them your body will scavenge proteins to make simple sugars. You'll die in fairly short order if you don't have any. Glucose is the only substrate that can metabolized by your brain, which accounts for a sizable part of your total calorie requirement. It's almost the only thing that your heart muscle can metabolize.

I'm not saying there's much need for athletes to guzzle sugar water. There isn't, any more than they have a significant need to replace electrolytes or anything else besides water during an event. If a "sports drink" really is needed, the most likely legitimate reason would be low serum glucose due to depletion of glycogen stores. For this, glucose, among the most simple of sugars, is exactly what's needed.


i agree with what you are saying 100% about the ability for digesting...i worded it incorrectly and across the board-ish, thank you. and you are going into more depth than most people will understand. what i was trying to convey however, is that gatorade is a sucrose/dextrose combo, which for many people is too much for the stomach to handle. the better drinks on the market use maltodextrose and fructose, being a more complex yet easily digestible sugar and a simple sugar. the combos show better results for time trials. "Now, some complex carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin, do perform as well as simple sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose during exercise. But thatís because some complex carbs, including maltodextrin, are metabolized as quickly as most simple sugars are (just as some simple sugars, such as galactose, are metabolized as slowly as most complex carbs are)." (from trainingpeaks.com)
all that being said, a person doing any kind of exercise that lasts 1 hour or so or less, requires NOTHING MORE THAN water. if more than an hour and a half, a sports drink is recommended with some electrolytes.
and the post drink/food within 30 min of finishing an intense (90min or more) training session should be 4:1 carbs/protein to replenish lost glycogen stores. those 30 minutes are critical.
again, much more info than the average joe needs. if you are planning to do marathons or train for ironman or the half, you need to really investigate what works best for your system. some use gatorade with no problems and do well. for me, just too sugary and too fake. just my opinion.
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