Zero Calorie Sports Drinks


PowerAde Zero has dominated Olympic commercial time, promoting its new zero calorie sports drink. PowerAde Zero comes in strawberry, mixed berry, orange, lemon lime and grape. It is artificially sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. A single, 8 ounce serving of PowerAde Zero contains 0 calories (hence the name), 0 grams carbohydrate, 100 mg sodium, and 24 mg potassium. Its primary competitor, G2, contains 20 calories, 5 grams of carbohydrate, 110 mg sodium and 30 mg potassium and contains the same artificial sweeteners. Both PowerAde Zero and G2 mirror their big boy counterparts, PowerAde and Gatorade, in terms of electrolytes but cut out the 50 calories per serving and 14 grams of carbohydrate.

Traditional sports drinks provide fluids to hydrate, carbohydrates for endurance energy, and electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat. Who should use these newer zero calories, electrolyte drinks? The answer depends on the individual and the nature of the sport. If you’re calorie conscious, have eaten a nourishing meal 3-4 hours earlier and are not participating in an endurance event these zero calorie drinks could be a good solution. They hydrate with fluids and electrolytes but force the body to use its existing energy supply from the blood, muscle and fat storage. However, you will crash on zero calorie beverages if they are your exclusive fuel source in endurance events. My recommendation is still water in events lasting < 1 hour and use regular sports drinks, bars, gels, bloks, or beans for endurance events. Kids need to stick with water bottles.

Categories: Sports Nutrition

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