Friday, August 13, 2010

Thoughts on Hydration

This week at our second No Boundaries training run, I spoke briefly about hydration before we ran and walked our mile.  I am by no means an expert on health and hydration, and while some of what I say can be found in the latest and greatest research, there are other sources which will say otherwise.

That said, I'm still going to tell you what I believe to be true on the subject.  

How Much?
  • Some sources say drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water (or liquid) a day. Some sources say half your body weight in ounces, and some say drink so that you are not often (if ever) thirsty and your urine is pale yellow or clear.  I leave it up to you to decide the amount that works for you.
  • For hydration during a run, Runner's World says this:  If you are running/working out LESS than 30 minutes, water should be sufficient. If you are running/working out MORE than 30 minutes, you might want to find a sports drink you like to replenish what you use up during your run.  For more on that, go HERE.
Amount is not really what I want to focus on here because I want to introduce you to some yummy and healthy drinks to sip throughout the day or during your run, as well as some drinks you might want to skip.

Sports Drinks

Most athletes use Gatorade, Powerade, Ultima, Cytomax, etc.  I think all of these are fine according to your personal preference.  One thing I note here, however, is that the lower calorie versions are not as good for you, and I believe work against hydration rather than for it. The reason is because these drinks (G2, Powerade Zero, Propel) have fake sweeteners such as sucralose (splenda), which are not good for the body, especially when trying to replenish our energy stores and hydrate.  If you are trying for a lower calorie beverage, try simple water or water down your Gatorade.

For reasons WHY I avoid these fake sweeteners, go HERE.

Daily Drinks

I don't know about you, but wanting to keep my calorie count down, while sipping something yummy and healthy is something I strive to do.  So, on my quest for delicious, nutritious beverages, this is what I have found.

Izze's are fizzy and fruity.  The canned versions are my favorite.  They are just enough to go with lunch and only 80-90 calories per can.  The bottled versions have more, but are also perfect for a hot summer day.  I know for sure you can find these at Kroger, Target and Earth Fare.

Naked Juice is a GREAT source of fruits and veggies and all kinds of goodies. They are high in calories, however, due to all the fruit they contain. I prefer the half-size versions which, here in Huntsville, I have only seen at Sam's and Starbucks.  

Honest Tea is a yummy, semi-sweet beverage that I love. It boasts of being "just a tad sweet." They also have Honest Ade and a drink for kids as well. So far, I have found these at Kroger and Brueggers.

Simply Lemonade is one of my favorites.  It is SO GOOD.  This brand also makes Simply Orange Juice, Simpy Grapefruit (another fave), Simply Limeade, etc.  These do have sugar so it is important to watch the calorie intake and make room for it in your diet, but it is so worth it, especially in the summer!

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I tried this and did not really like it.  I mention it anyway, however, because some of you might like it and it is VERY good for you - especially for runners trying to replenish electrolytes.  This is not the only brand that produces coconut water, though.  I think Naked Juice makes one also.  When trying it out, just make sure to read the label and watch out for fake sweeteners. 

And there is ALWAYS good old fashioned brewed-at-home tea.  I have recently started to enjoy unsweet tea, although when making mine at home, I put about two tablespoons in the pitcher to make my own version of the "just a tad sweet" Honest tea. Keep a pitcher of tea at home and you will always have something to take to work and sip at home.

Before I wrap this up, I want to mention a drink I thought was a great idea...until I researched what was on the label.  That is the fad drink, Vitamin Water. 
It sounds great.  Vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, low calorie count.  What more could you want?  Well, take it or leave it, here is what I found.  Both Vitamin Water and the lower calorie "Zero" version contain something called "Crystalline Fructose."  This is just as bad, if not worse, than high fructose corn syrup.  To read what I found, go HERE.

This is NOT an extensive list of good or bad drinks to consume.  And I'm certainly not saying one should never partake of a drink with a fake sweetener in it.  I, for one, enjoy a good diet drink every now and again.  But, it is still important to at least be aware of what you are drinking and how it may affect your body, and I hope this post has shed a little light on that subject.

Happy Hydration!

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