While I am not perfect when it comes to my diet I am absolutely blown away about a recent article at Science Daily “Debunking water myths: Weight loss, calorie burn and more”.
The dietitian in the Science Daily article linked above actually suggested that Diet Sodas were a great way to hydrate! While I am mostly OK with the rest of the article as it is pretty generic advice I find it irresponsible of a dietitian to recommend diet soda as a way to hydrate! Also the article leads you to believe that the reader will learn how hydration will help with weight loss. While the article does state “There is very little evidence that drinking water promotes weight loss; it is one of those self-perpetuating myths,” said Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of nutrition sciences. University of Alabama” I would completely agree with this statement however when this dietitian goes on to mention that mixing juice with club soda is another great way to hydrate I will agree with one exception. It’s also full of empty calories! There are exceptions to most rules but when athletes are training to lose weight there are several No, No, foods and store-bought juices are one of these!
When I started working with Kelli Jennings at Apex Nutrition to work on my sports nutrition and weight loss program we talked often about, timing, hydration and what were better substitutes for foods I had eaten. One of the first things I thought for sure I was going to be asked to give up is my beloved coffee because I had heard that since it was a diuretic that it was harmful to performance. Kelli was OK with coffee but when it came to other drinks she was very clear to stay away from diet sodas and other drinks and foods that contained HFCS and artificial sweeteners. I had zero issues with ditching the artificial sweeteners as many of them are made from sugar alcohols and these are not something my digestive system likes and I always felt like garbage afterwards after consuming any. I am so sensitive to them I know when a product has added them to a their foods even if they are not listed in the ingredients.
So what is a person to do when it comes to hydration?
- Water first
- Impossible to go wrong here unless you drink too much or time its use improperly
- Drinking gallons of water in a day can lead to water poisoning
- Only drinking water on long rides and runs will lead to bonk
- Home brewed sports drinks
- Using simple sugars such as maltodextrin, dextrose and fructose along sodium and magnesium make for great ingredients
- Store bought sports drinks that do not contain poisonous ingredients
- I am not going to make this a list of whose product is the worse but MASS marketed products should not be consumed
- The caffeine in coffee is attributed to its diuretic effect but 4 cups of coffee or less have shown to have other health benefits
- Green, black and the lesser white teas have amazing antioxidants and can also curb appetite
Tea and tea extract have often been sold as fat burners. This is a myth!
- Soft drinks made with pure can sugar
- Yep you heard right. I love soft drinks but had to change what I drank and when I drank it.
- The soft drink must be ALL NATURAL and Only use Pure Cane Sugar
- They are best consumed right after an EXTREMELY hard training run or ride
- Default to water when in doubt
NOTE: The articles I linked to above on HFCS and Sugar alcohols have used the term sugar in place of ingredients that are lab created and not natural. The point to this note is natural unprocessed whole foods should take precedent in our diets first. We as endurance athletes need sugars in our diets for the carbohydrates. We as athletes can not just live off of fats!
Until Next Time,
Train Smarter Not Harder