When we’re doing sports, we lose a lot of fluid by sweating. As we all know, it’s important to stay hydrated. Something we may not be so clear on is what exactly we should drink when we exercise.
Sports drinks can be divided into 3 different categories: hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic drinks. The difference between the drinks is in the amount of carbohydrates per 100 ml. You can easily check the carbohydrates on the label of the bottle.
A hypotonic generally contains less than 4 g of carbohydrates per 100ml and has low osmotic pressure. It’s recommended to drink it before or during physical exercise. The drink contains only few carbohydrates, which makes it leave the stomach relatively quickly.This is intended as a thirst quencher. The primary goal of a hypotonic drink is to hydrate as quickly as possible. Example: the typical vitamin water.
An isotonic drink contains 5 tot 8 g carbohydrates per 100 ml and has about the same osmotic pressure as bodily fluids. You can drink it before, during and after a workout. An isotonic drink is taken up by the body about as quickly as water. They are intended to quench thirst and provide energy to the body. Ideal for endurance sports or a workout that lasts longer than 60 minutes. Due to the presence of more carbohydrates, isotonic drinks give the body more energy. The primary goal of isotonic drinks is to complement energy stocks during sports. An example of an isotonic sports drink is isotonic AA Drink.
A hypertonic drank has more than 8 g of carbohydrates per 100 ml and greater osmotic pressure than bodily fluids. It is primarily intended to supply energy. The thirst quenching effect is secondary. Hypertonic drinks are taken up more slowly than water. Ideal for use 30 to 60 minutes before training or exertion and immediately after sports. Hypertonic drinks are also useful for athletes or workers who find that they need a bit more energy during their training/competition/ exertion. Also ideal for less strenuous, long duration exertions such as studying, driving, gaming, etc.
Examples of a hypertonic drink: fruit juices, AA High Energy.
Tip: Try a glass of skimmed chocolate milk. Studies have shown that a combination van carbohydrates and proteins in chocolate milk ease a fast recovery.
Make your own workout drink!
Instead of buying a sport drink, you might as well do it yourself. These drinks contain 60 gram carbohydrates per liter.
Use a measuring cup and fill it with 1 l water. Add one of these ingredient options:
- 100 g thick juice, 2 tot 3 g kitchen salt
- 600 ml orange juice, 2 tot 3 g kitchen salt
- 85 g multivit syrup, 2 tot 3 g kitchen salt
Instead of the classic kitchen salt, you can also use fleur de sel, unrefined sea salt or ground seaweed.