HYDRATION

HYDRATION

Excessive water loss impairs heat tolerance and physical performance. This can lead to severe dysfunction that culminates in heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Therefore it is important to consider  proper fluid and electrolyte replacement. Ingesting fluid before and during exercise minimizes the detrimental effects of dehydration on cardiovascular dynamics, temperature regulation and exercise performance. With regards to endurance sports the fluid delivery rate sould be 1L per hour. To make it simple, I recommend drinking 400 to 600mL of water immediately before exercising to optimize the beneficial effect of increased stomach volume on fluid and nutrient passage into the intestine. And then continue to regularly drink 150-250mL at 15 min intervals throughout exercise to replenish fluid passed to the intestine. Another great way to defend against mineral loss is by drinking 1 cup/250ml of orange or tomato juice as this will replace almost all calcium, potassium and magnesium lost in 3L (3kg) of sweat.

COCONUT WATER

The ingredients in coconut water are way more effective at hydrating the human body than those of sports and energy drinks. During rigorous exercise or extended periods of physical activity, the human body loses mineral-rich fluids. However, coconut water serves as an excellent replacement medium with 294mg of potassium and 5mg of natural sugar per glass, unlike sports drinks that only contain half of the potassium content and five times the amount of processed sugar. In addition, the sodium count is only 25mg, which is relatively low compared to the 41mg and 20 mg found in sports drinks and energy drinks respectively. Because of its high concentration of fiber, it aids in the prevention of indigestion and reduces the occurrence of acid reflux. A disproportionate level of electrolytes can result in high blood pressure. Because coconut water contains an adequate supply of each, it can be used as a balancing mechanism. In some instances, it is recommended that coconut water be consumed at the start of each day to foster the balance of these electrolytes. Unlike any other beverage on the market, coconut water contains five essential electrolytes that are present in the human body. These include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. Because of its unique composition, coconut water can be enjoyed by individuals with varying medical conditions. Since it is isotonic to human plasma, coconut water can be used in extreme emergencies to quickly rehydrate the human body if administered intravenously. Given that there are 79kJs in 250ml of coconut water, an active lifestyle is necessary when consuming, to avoid excess energy. The mineral content in 1 cup/240ml of Coconut Water is: Sodium 105 mg 4%Potassium 250 mg 7%Total Carbohydrate 3.7 g 1%Dietary fiber 1.1 g 4%Sugar 2.6 g Magnesium 60mg 6%

CAFFEINE

Beverages containing alcohol of caffiene induce a diuretic effect, that facilitates water loss from the kidneys. Such beverages are inappropriate for fluid replacement and should be avoided when exercising. Drinking caffeinated beverages in moderation is okay, but I would recommend well before  doing physical exercise as it takes approximately 30-45 mins to absorb and the effects substantially diminish within 3 hours.

ELECTROLYTES

Sodium, potassium, and chlorine, collectively termed as electrolytes, remain dissolved in the body fluids as electrically charged particles, or ions. Electrolytes modulate fluid exchange within the body’s fluid compartments, promoting a constant, well-regulated exchange of nutrients and waste products between cell and its external fluid environment.

SPORTS DRINKS

Gastric emptying slows when ingested fluids contain a high concentration of particles in solutions (osmolality) or possess high caloric content. Adding glucose and sodium to fluid spares muscle and liver glycogen  and aids in maintaining plasma osmolality, from large sweat loss. Added sodium in rehydration drinks also reduces urine output by promoting continued fluid intake and out.A 5-8% carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage consumed during exercise in the heat contributes to temperature regulation and fluid balance. It also improves endurance capacity for subsequent exercise. To determine a drinks percentage divide carbohydrate content (g) by fluid volume (mL). Eg 80g carbohydrate/1000mL or 1L = 8% solution.Overall fluid replacement beverages are designed as hydrating agents. However powdered carbohydrate and protein shakes are sources for recovery after intense training, but will not optimize fluid replenishment. Don’t get the 2 confused.

SHAKES/MEAL REPLACEMENTS

Shakes and meal replacements have a high protein content, typically 10-50g per serving, 10g of carbohydrate and 2g of lipid. They also contain added vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplement ingredients. They are often used as an alternative to energy bars, however their nutrient composition of varies considerably. When mixed in water they exceed the recommended protein intake percentage and fall below the recommended carbohydrate and lipid percentages. Then there are some drinks which mostly have more carbohydrate then protein, when compared to the powders.  I acknowledge that meal replacements are an option that is convenient and can aid weight loss. But it’s kind of like dead food and it’s highly unlikely that such products can teach long-term behaviour change. Returning to poor eating habits once a an individual stops is common and they will almost certainly pile the weight back on again. Constantly drinking shakes can also lead to bloating and bad breath, because it’s another form of low-carb diet which is designed to bring on a mild form of ketosis (a type of a metabolic reaction) and the increased fat burning produces ketones.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

When consumed in adequate amounts, water provides proper hydration to participate in most sports and causes no concern for any hidden extra kilojoules or detrimental effects.

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