September 24, 2023

The role of natural sugar in hydration drinks explained

When it comes to hydration drinks, the ‘S’ word often sparks debates and concerns. Of course, we’re talking about sugar. Science explains why natural sugar isn’t all bad (note the word natural), but it’s important to understand how sugar affects hydration first. We’ll explain everything to know in this blog.

The anatomy of hydration

Human bodies are predominantly made of water, but our hydration isn’t just pure H2O. Sweat and tears, for instance, contain salts known as electrolytes, which are crucial for maintaining proper bodily functions. These electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, regulate fluid balance in our cells and enable optimal nerve, muscle, heart, and brain function.

The significance of electrolytes

Electrolytes are obtained from the foods and beverages we consume, working as charged ions when dissolved in water. This electrical charge enables various physiological processes, including muscle contraction, fluid balance, and nutrient transportation into cells. Maintaining proper electrolyte levels is essential for everyday well-being, peak exercise performance for active individuals, and quick recovery for athletes and sportspeople.

The role of sugar in absorbing electrolytes

When we sweat during exercise, we lose those important electrolytes. But our small intestine and kidneys help to bring back these electrolytes into our body. Sugar, in the form of glucose or dextrose, plays a special role in transporting salt and water across the small intestine and kidneys.

In the small intestine, there are special parts called sodium-glucose symporters. When both sodium and glucose are present, these symporters get activated and help absorb electrolytes and glucose into our bloodstream. This makes rehydration faster and helps our body get the essential minerals it needs.

Why small amounts of sugar are good for you

Many hydration drinks, like iPRO Hydrate, contain a small amount of sugar to complement their electrolyte content. However, iPRO only uses natural sugars and sweeteners in its drinks.

For those engaging in moderate to high-intensity workouts, a small amount of sugar in hydration drinks can provide a quick source of energy. As our muscles use it for fuel during exercise, having a balanced sugar-electrolyte combination can help sustain energy levels and improve endurance.

Hyponatremia, a condition caused by low sodium levels in the blood, can also occur in athletes who consume large amounts of water without low electrolyte intake. The small amount of sugar in hydration drinks helps maintain proper sodium levels, reducing the risk of this potentially dangerous condition.

Many people find plain water unappealing. Hydration drinks with a subtle touch of sugar often taste better than plain water, encouraging individuals to consume more fluids and stay properly hydrated. This is particularly important for individuals who struggle to drink enough water throughout the day.

But avoid excessive sugar found in drinks

The simplicity of natural sugars is advantageous. But it’s crucial to avoid excessive sugar, especially in sports and energy drinks which are known to contain high levels since they can often lead to unwanted calories and negative health effects.

However, there are healthier options like iPRO Hydrate, which contain only a small amount of sugar, providing a safer alternative for those concerned about their intake. Dextrose, which is found in iPRO drinks, is a simple sugar that is easily absorbed in the body. It provides readily available energy, helping to keep our muscles fueled when we need it most.

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