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A sports drink such as Gatorade is useful for exercise that last for more than an hour. It is a drink specially designed to provide energy in the form of carbohydrates and to replace electrolyte lost through sweat. But do you know that it is very easy to make your own homemade sports drink with only 3 simple ingredients? Here’s how!
A sports drink has 3 essential components: water, carbohydrates and sodium.
The amount of fluid that a person should drink during exercise varies depending on several factors such as temperature and humidity, intensity and duration of the effort, body weight, gender, level of hydration before beginning the exercise, and sweat losses which differ greatly from person to person. This is why it’s important to have a personalized hydration plan. In general, it is recommended to begin exercising well hydrated and to drink about 100 to 200 ml of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes during exercise.
A sports drink should ideally provide about 30g of sugar per 500ml serving, which is what the body needs in carbohydrate intake during a physical activity of more than one hour. This equates to a carbohydrate concentration of 4 to 8% or 4 to 8 g per 100 ml. A more concentrated carbohydrate drink is not recommended, as it can cause digestive discomfort.
Sodium promotes the absorption and retention of liquids, in addition to improving the flavor of the drink, which increases the desire to drink. Losses through perspiration are very variable from one person to another, which means that the sodium intake during physical effort must be personalized. In general, sports nutrition experts estimate that a sodium intake of 500 to 700 mg per liter is optimal. This equates to ¼ teaspoon of salt per liter. For additional information, one teaspoon of salt equals 6 grams of salt and contains 2400 mg of sodium.
During exercise, a modest amount of potassium is also lost through sweat, as are small amounts of other minerals such as magnesium and chlorine. Orange juice is rich in potassium and can be used in a homemade sports drink recipe. However, a sports drink does not necessarily have to contain potassium. A varied and balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains, makes it possible to maintain an adequate level of potassium among sportive people. Low osmolality, i.e., a small amount of solute particles relative to the amount of liquid, promotes better absorption and tolerance. Thus, it is not always desirable to find a large amount of ingredients in a sports drink.