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Talk to me about energy drinks please

(20 Posts)
frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 13:21:03

I've been drinking Powerade Ion4 for about as long as I've been running (creature of habit) and it seems to do just the trick.
I now have a dilemma. I've embarked on a no sugar (well as little as humanly possible) diet as I've discovered I am completely and utterly addicted to the stuff.
So, I gather there must be energy drinks out there (natural ones?) which have no sugar or artificial sweeteners in? Which ones have you tried and tested?

I'm going for a run tonight and would really like to do without the sugar laden blue juice if at all possible as I've been doing so well eating really healthily and not needing sugar at all for the past couple of days.
If I so much as sniff sugar I'll be back where I started, inhaling bags and bags of Haribo.....

bagelmonkey Wed 07-Mar-12 13:23:59

How far are you running? Do you need an energy drink?

frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 13:38:38

I run between 10-13km. Takes me about 50 odd minutes. I usually have half a bottle about half an hour before. Maybe I don't need it at all? Perhaps a black coffee instead will get me through it, but then I won't sleep. Hmm...

bagelmonkey Wed 07-Mar-12 14:17:09

I drank water or squash when I did a marathon.
When I was training I rarely took a drink, which I wouldn't advise.
I don't think you need an energy drink for that distance, or any drink if you're well hydrated before. (if it's very hot out, that's a different matter). I used to have a massive drink of squash 2 hours before then sip up to 20 mins before I went out. If you drink too close you'll regret it! You can always drink when you finish.
I think energy drinks have only been shown to benefit elite athletes.

FredFredGeorge Wed 07-Mar-12 16:30:46

You do not need an energy drink to cover 50minutes of exercise unless you are very unfit and exercising at maximum intensity.

Sugar (ie dextrose/sucrose, table sugar, listed on ingredients as sugar etc.) is a bad choice of carbohydrate in an energy drink, as is glucose. They are much harder on the stomach than other forms and therefore do not aid performance much compared to other options.

Mind you Powerade Ion4 is not really an energy drink at all, it's simply marketed as such it provides insufficient calories to be of any use to anyone.

Please stop drinking it, it's not doing anything for you, pointless sweeteners are even worse - why add artificial sweeteners to a sugary drink? Getting some real calories in immediately after will do a lot more to help your fitness.

bagelmonkey Energy drinks will typically help the non-elite more than the elite relative to actual maximum performance, so quite the reverse. However everyone but the most unfit will have enough glycogen stored in their muscles and liver to maintain a good hours worth of exercise at maximum intensity without a problem. Thre are some benefits from even mouth rinsing a sweet drink, so they can help maximum performance, but for training, there's not a lot of point.

frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 16:44:28

I think I probably had a placebo effect from Powerade then!

FredFredGeorge. You are absolutely correct. I agree wholeheartedly. I certainly would not want to ingest artificial sweeteners. Nerve damage doesn't really appeal to me. You're right, why add artificial sweeteners to a sugary drink? Why add them to anything?! I get really frustrated about it.
I wanted something without artificial sweeteners or sugar which seems impossible to find. I do, however, remember seeing something with guarana in? I was hoping to find some sort of natural energy drink... Although now it seems I don't need it at all.

My problem is I have lunch at 12 ish and I can't get out for a run until late so I'm not eating dinner until 8:30/9pm. I just need the energy to stop me feeling so weak. If I eat before my run I get terrible stitch. I suppose that's why I was relying on Powerade to see me through.

frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 16:56:53

Oh crap, having said that, I've just noticed Powerade Ion4 is full of sodding artificial sweeteners. Gahh! I thought the sugar free one had the sweeteners and the regular one just had sugar sugar sugar, which is why I stayed clear of the sugar free one. Bloody hell. <slaps forehead>

ohmeohmy Wed 07-Mar-12 17:00:16

There was something on the tv recently showing that milk was a better post exercise drink than energy drinks. Faster recovery on cellular level or something

frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 17:11:24

Funny you should mention it ohmeohmy, I was told this today by a friend smile I think I'll just drink water until run time then have a nice big glass of skimmed milk after.
Have just had some crackers and cottage cheese to (hopefully) keep my energy levels up until dinner time. Praying I don't get stitch and bloaty belly mid run....

lovesineffable Wed 07-Mar-12 17:17:07

assuming that you are running (at least in part) to keep body fat levels down then consuming carbs at the same time is rather counter productive, it will raise your insulin levels and work against fat burning/promote fat storage.

The whole energy drink thing is is just another con to squeeze money out of us.
All you need to rehydrate you is water smile

lovesineffable Wed 07-Mar-12 17:25:49

Frazzle, it may not work for you but I tend to always exercise on a very empty stomach (I'm very prone to indigestion and just cant train if I feel in the slightest bit bloaty)
I just sort of get used to it, obviously regular meals are important but I've found that I tend to get hungry if I'm used to eating at a certain time and I can train myself not to expect food at a certain times.
Also if I start exercising when a bit hungry the feeling tends to go away when I get into what I'm doing

FredFredGeorge Wed 07-Mar-12 18:15:52

lovesineffable During exercise, insulin response to sugars is completely different to when you're not exercising, there's no insulin spike for the vast majority of people, some people appear to have but that's very atypical. Essentially the current high demand for glycogen means the fat storage response doesn't happen. So it's not much of a concern, if you're training very high volumes then it may well be appropriate for you to eat even on short sessions to spare glycogen, but it would not be needed for most.

ohmeohmy Milk+carb, e.g. chocolate or strawberry milk, is what is typically said to be "better than energy drinks" for recovery, and this is undoubtedly true if compared with things like powerade or other pure carb energy drink. However the advantages would not be there against a normal recovery drink, essentially some protein is the important thing. There's no advantage then really, but equally little disadvantage.

FredFredGeorge Wed 07-Mar-12 18:17:47

frazzlerock If you are working out at maximum, even swilling your mouth with a sugary drink and now swallowing, or sucking a boiled sweet has been shown to improve performance if you're not absolutely full of glycogen - as you wouldn't be if you'd not eaten for many hours and been active with either mind or body. So it wouldn't be completely "placebo", it's just the improvement is minor and completely pointless in training.

lovesineffable Wed 07-Mar-12 19:20:15

hmm, pretty sure I've read some studies showing that ingesting carbs during exercise reduces fat breakdown, perhaps I'm not right about the details of the mechanisms involved but it seems likely that insulin response is in there somewhere.

Whatever the case I think we are all agree'd that water is fine for most folks smile

FredFredGeorge Wed 07-Mar-12 19:31:09

lovesibneffable Certainly if you ingest carbohydrate, then it may well be that some is used in preference to FFA's however that would not be a particularly relevant amount, fuel usage is pretty much dependant on intensity though with fat preferred until the intensity is too high. It also doesn't matter too much which you use in terms of weight loss or otherwise. However if you do use fat, there's generally less hunger post exercise to replace it, but the maximum fat usage rate also uses carbs as a fuel source.

frazzlerock Wed 07-Mar-12 21:10:54

Thanks for all your excellent advise. I managed a pretty decent run with just water. Powerade's are going away to be saved for my half marathons along with my energy bars and jelly beans!

kristiya Wed 13-Mar-13 13:48:19

hi everyone smile I'm having a very low blood pressure and even though i do not exercise, i do have troubles maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. I used to drink lots of energy drinks to be able to stay awake during the day. What i found useful so far is drinking water and eating regularly which i read about in an i'm trying to give the other recommendations a go and see if they work.. smile that's the article

ginmakesitallok Wed 13-Mar-13 13:51:03

DP is an exercise physiologist - he drinks lactate solution when running (does halfs mostly, but got a 33 mile run on Saturday) Post run he drinks milk and takes omega 3 oil

ginmakesitallok Wed 13-Mar-13 13:52:01

(oh - and he always takes a couple of wee bags of haribo with him on a long run)

anoldbloke Wed 13-Mar-13 14:13:28

I agree with others that for runs up to an hour, you merely need to be properly hydrated when you set off and then have a drink afterwards. I've been long-distance running since the late 70s and don't use energy drinks.

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