We hear a lot about electrolytes and how we are supposed to “recharge” after a workout or long day. But reaching for your go-to electrolyte hydration mix could be doing you more harm than good. Many of these sports drink companies miss the mark for proper hydration and nutrition.
What To Know About Electrolytes
What are electrolytes? Simply put, they are the minerals or salts that help carry an electrical charge throughout your body. These minerals are most popularly potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. They contain both positive and negative charges and are found throughout your tissues, blood, urine and other parts of your body. The role of an electrolyte in your body is to transmit nerve signals from tissues, which is crucial for muscle movement. Also, they balance the amount of water in your body, balance your body's acid/base (pH) level, move nutrients into your cells, move wastes out of your cells and make sure that your nerves, muscles, the heart, and the brain work the way they should.
You get electrolytes from the foods you eat and the fluids you drink. Note that the levels of electrolytes in your body can become too low or even too high. This can happen when the amount of water in your body changes. The amount of water that you take in should equal the amount you lose. If something upsets this balance, you may have too little water (dehydration) or too much water (overhydration). However, we mostly lose electrolytes through sweat and urine.
After a workout, a way to check to see if you are losing a lot of electrolytes is to see a white chalk on your clothing. In those instances, or if you're exercising in a humid area and working out for an extended length of time, then you should look for an electrolyte-replacement drink. People think that most muscle cramps come from magnesium and potassium deficiencies when in fact cramping can be caused a lot of the time by losing salt through sweat.
Whether it’s a short and intense interval training session or a long-distance activity, it’s crucial to replenish your electrolytes. An easy way to do this is through ATAQ Fuel electrolyte hydration mix. We also gain electrolytes by a nutritious diet of healthy, whole foods. Here are a few examples of nutritious foods to add mineral electrolytes to your body.
- Bananas have around 422 milligrams of potassium per banana, and potassium helps control muscles and blood pressure.
- For a quick energy and electrolyte boost during or after a workout, try coconut water. Coconut water contains about 600 milligrams of potassium and 252 milligrams of sodium per cup but may vary widely depending on the manufacturer. It’s also got natural sugar that works well to replenish energy lost during exercise.
- Watermelon can make the perfect pre- and/or post-workout snack! Watermelon is loaded with good-for-you nutrients like natural sugars, potassium and water. Snack on a cup or two of watermelon after a workout to boost energy and electrolytes.
- Avocados are loaded with potassium. Just one avocado can contain approximately 975 milligrams of potassium, that’s double that of a banana. Opt for a one-fourth serving of avocado on a slice of toast post-workout to refuel and rehydrate!
What’s Wrong With The Electrolytes In Most Sports Drinks?
Most sports drinks you buy at the grocery store have a lot of unnecessary sugar and food coloring added. Although sugar, salts, and water help your body absorb fluids, a lot of sports drinks have too much sugar and not enough electrolytes to help your body replenish the electrolytes it needs.
Those added ingredients are artificial coloring and additives that don't offer much vitamins and nutrients to replenish fluid lost during intense sweat sessions. Sports drinks contain carbohydrates, which is a quick source of energy when your body is depleted of stored and usable energy. Although they do contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium which are lost through sweat, they're often high in sugar and calories, which could lead to weight gain.
Would Vitamin-Enhanced Drinks work?
These drinks are enhanced waters that contain supplemental vitamins or minerals and are available in different flavors. But what's often not mentioned is that vitamin waters often contain extra calories, sodium, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.
The “Bad” Of Gatorade
- 20-ounce serving of Gatorade’s Thirst Quencher contains 36 grams of sugar
- For less active people, getting extra sugar and sodium throughout the day isn’t necessary or recommended. The extra calories from a sports drink could contribute to weight gain. The extra sodium could increase the risk of high blood pressure over time.
- Gatorade’s low-calorie version, G2, substitutes (acesulfame and sucralose) for sugar.
- Gatorade contains food dyes, such as Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5.
What To Look For In An Electrolyte Drink
With a lot of added preservatives in drinks out there, rest assured that the ATAQ products are a great way to gain nutrition naturally. The electrolyte hydration mix has less than one-third of the sugar than other sports drinks. While Gatorade only includes sodium and potassium, our proprietary formula also includes calcium and magnesium, as well as two times the potassium. We only use natural cane sugar in our products and our hydration mix includes betaine, a natural ingredient that actively helps metabolize carbs and proteins. Our electrolyte hydration powder was formulated for athletes and people with an active lifestyle alike. Our flavors include:
- Strawberry mint
- Variety pack