Not all sports drinks are the same. There are many products on the market: with or without sugars, with different types of mineral salts, more or less concentrated.
But what a hydro-saline supplement must contain to be effective?
Here are some basic rules:
- It must have the right concentration of sugars and salts (hypo or isotonic).
If the concentration of salts and / or sugars is too high (ready to drink beverages or powders to dissolve in water), the drink will not be suitable for hydration. Indeed, its consumption will result in even higher level of dehydration. The osmolality (concentration) of the solution must be a maximum of 330 mOsm / L, preferably containing mineral salts such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium.
- Preferably it should have energetic properties.
One has to consider that glucose absorption varies within the limits of 50-80 g / h (male, 70kg) and during a high intensity aerobic exercise there is a need up to 200-240 g / h, carbohydrate supplementation through drinks and / or gels / bars. But only if training exceeds 1h.
- If it has an energetic action, it must contain different types of sugars.
It is better to choose supplements with technical carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin or Vitargo® and avoid those with sucrose or too much dextrose (glucose), as they provide energy only for a very short time. Furthermore, it is not recommended to take only one type of carbohydrate (e.g. only maltodextrins), as energy efficiency would be reduced. The ideal is to take a solution with different carbohydrates, in order to optimize absorption (Jeukendrup & Jentjens, Sports Med., 2000).
Another element that can be useful in a hydro-saline supplement is caffeine. It is an adaptogen, a molecule that decreases the perception of fatigue. This property is scientifically proven (Goldstein et al., J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2010) but it is also subjective: not everyone feels the same effect after consumption, not everyone tolerates it as it depends above all on our DNA, on the ability to metabolize it. In general, if a person has no particular side effects, it is recommended. By the way,a product such as Sali + Performance Electrolyte contains 100 mg per dose, a little more than one coffee.
Remember that providing the right nutrients during prolonged physical activity is necessary not only to optimize performance, but also to preserve health.