So here’s the deal: Sports drinks aren’t always our best option for hydration, even when we’re exercising. And traditional sports drinks are loaded with sugar and artificial food dyes. But staying well-hydrated is essential, so here’s the rundown on my six top picks when it comes to fueling performance and optimizing hydration.
For more on better-for-you sports drinks, tune into the related episode of my podcast, FUELED Wellness + Nutrition.
- It’s essential to replenish electrolytes, particularly when losing large amounts of sweat
- Sodium is the main electrolyte lost in sweat,
- Sugar-containing sports drinks are typically only needed when exercise is longer than 60-90 minutes
Molly’s Six Top Picks
- The LYTE version is hands down my top pick for a regular grab-and-go sports drink
- Per 16 ounces: 20 calories – 18 grams carb – 2 grams sugar – 40 mg sodium – 700 mg potassium
- No artificial sweeteners or colors (sweetened with stevia; colored with natural juice extracts)
- Per tablet: 10 calories – 4 gram carb – 1 gram sugar – 300 mg sodium – 150 mg potassium
- No artificial sweeteners or colors (sweetened with stevia; colored with vegetable juice extracts)
- Per scoop or stick pack: 0 calories – 0 carb – 0 sugar – 55 mg sodium – 250 mg potassium
- Ingredients include minerals, sweetened with stevia, colored with natural vegetable colors
- Per stick pack: 10 calories – – 3 grams carb – 3 grams sugar – 350 mg sodium – 190 mg potassium
- Ingredients include sugar, salt + other minerals, sweetened additionally with stevia
- Per 12 ounces: 140 calories – 8 grams carb – 0 sugar – 20 grams protein – 85 mg sodium – 350 mg potassium
- Ingredients include grass-fed milk protein isolate, prebiotic chicory root fiber, minders, sweetened with monkfruit and stevia.
Pickle Juice? It’s true that pickle juice can stop muscle cramps in their tracks. And it’s not so much the sodium that’s doing the trick – it’s actually the acetic acid in pickle juice that can help relieve a cramp almost instantly. Read more about just how pickle juice works and how to use it.
Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a registered dietitian + nutrition journalist in New Orleans, and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative. Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @MollyKimballRD. See more of Molly’s articles + TV segments at www.mollykimball.com, and sign up for Eat Fit Wellness Bites weekly newsletter, here.