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Are electrolytes all that they are cracked up to be?

For years I have thought in regard to electrolytes, “Surely if the big sports clubs are using it than it’s the best for me”. But to my surprise it seems more about $$$ than what is best for the athlete!

In July 2012, research published by the Guardian questioned the alleged benefits of sports drinks, such as enhanced performance and recovery , with experts from the University of Oxford claiming there is not enough evidence to support the claims from manufacturers and advertisers.

The research, which was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Ope, involved a systematic assessment of magazine and website-based claims for improved sports performance and recovery made by advertisers for sports-related products, including drinks and supplements.

The researchers said they found a significant lack of evidence to support the beneficial effect claims made by the vast majority of products.

Of the websites and magazines that did provide evidence to back their claims, half of the evidence was deemed to be unreliable.

Based on their findings, they concluded that it is practically impossible for people to make informed choices about the pros and cons of advertised sports drinks and other sports-related products.

Today I want to look into some of the big players in the market, not only on performance but on cost, environmental impact and ingredients.

We all see the major players with multimillion dollar budgets throwing their products around major sporting clubs, but does this mean it's the best product for their athletes or is it all about big business giving free $$$$$$$ to the sporting club for prime time Exposure?

90% of people will know or would have used Gatorade and/or Powerade as I have, but is there a product on the market that is better? Furthermore, Gatorade and Powerade were both ranked 1 & 2 on the worst electrolyte list for 2020, so surely there is something better out there? (1)

Today I'm going to look at Gatorade, Powerade & a product called Nuun. I've used all 3 in my own personal sporting domains and with an array of grassroots and elite athletes.

For those who have never heard of Nuun, it's been around since 2004. Although Nuun doesn't have a multimillion dollar advertising budget like the others, the fact it's still around some 16 years after inception makes you think there must be something in it to give it a try. That's what I did some 2 years ago for not only my ironman triathlon training & racing but with my grassroots and elite sporting teams I work with as an S&C Coach.. So let's take a look at these products and you can decide for yourself.

Gatorade G series

Package Type - PET Bottle

Serving size - 600ml liquid premade drink

Cost per Serve - $2.15-$3.50 per 600ml bottle or 560g powder $8.50 - $11.95

Flavours - 8

Ingredients - water, sucrose, dextrose, citric acid, natural and

artificial flavours, salt sodium citrate, mono potassium phosphate, gum Arabic, glycerol ester of rosin, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, and yellow 5.

In particular per 100mls - Sodium 306mg / Potassium 135mg, Carbs 36g & Calories 618 (2)

Powerade ion4

Package Type - PET Bottle

Serving size - 600ml liquid premade drink

Cost per Serve - $2.15- $3.50 or 600g or powder $9.00 - $12.95

Flavours - 10

Ingredients - Water, Sucrose, Minerals (Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Sulphate, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Phosphate), Food Acid (330), Flavour, Colour (133).

In particular per ave 100mls - Sodium 28mg, Sugars 5.8g, Carbs 5.8g & Calories 25g (3)

Nuun Sport

(available in caffeinated and non-caffeinated)

Package Type - Recyclable tube

Serving size - 500ml (each tube of NUUN Sport includes 10 single tablet serves, just drop into your water)

Cost per Serve - $1.19- $1.29 500ml

Flavours - 13

Ingredients - Citric Acid, Dextrose, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavours, Potassium Chloride, Beet Powder Colour, Malic Acid, Organic Green Tea Extract, Magnesium Oxide, Rice Extract Blend, Calcium Carbonate, Stevia Leaf Extract, Avocado Oil.

In particular per 100mls - Calories 15g, Carbs 2g, Sugars 1g, Calcium Carbonate 13mg, Magnesium 25g, Sodium 300g, Potassium 150mg & green tea extract 40mg (53mg caffeine Sports + only) (4)

What do all these numbers and ingredients mean?

When you break it all down NUUN comes out in front in the numbers game as its lower in sugar, and higher in the ingredients you want such as Potassium and Magnesium which benefit athletes with less cramping and gives opportunity for better performance. The fact you have a caffeine option is great for those who want that extra kick whilst hydrating and the fact Nuun is soy, dairy and gluten free ticks a lot of boxes for health conscious athletes.

Who's the most cost effective?

When you look at the cost, Nuun comes out at in front at less than $1.20 a serve (RRP) which is great for athletes and clubs on a budget, and as its a tablet you drop into water there are no tubs of electrolyte to tip out which wastes $100 of dollars over a season and athletes can have whatever flavour they like, not just what's in a bulk tub.

Environmental impact

All products contain a plastic container but the fact you get 10 effervescent tablets per Nuun tube certainly benefits the environment compared to 10 single serves of other 600ml bottles.

I personally like how Nuun has no colour additives and is an all natural plant based product you can carry around easily and drop an effervescent tablet into your water when you need.

Better still Nuun is dairy, soy and gluten free as well as ;

- Certified Gluten Free by Gluten Intolerant Group

- Kosher Certified by Orthodox Union

- Certified Vegan by American Vegetarian Association

- Informed Sport by LGC Sciences

- Non GMO Project Verified by The Non-GMO Project

With the above information it's easy to see why Nuun ticks all the boxes for the environment, cost effectiveness and health & wellbeing of athletes and the general public. But don't take my word for it, you can head to our preferred hydration suppliers website to get your tube of Nuun today.

Retailers of Nuun Hydration in Australia

- Strength Mobility & Recovery

- Pure Performance

- Glimmer Gear

- Boobs on the Run

- Coast running Shop

- 99 Bikes

- Healthful Pantry


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1 Comment

Nov 23, 2023

I'm so glad that I found out about these amazing Hydration IV Packets! They make it so much easier to stay hydrated and the convenience of being able to just carry a packet with me anywhere I go is really great. Thanks for providing such a great product!

I recently purchased some Hydration IV packets from and I'm so glad I did! The myinstantiv packets are convenient and easy to use, and I love how quickly they help me rehydrate.

My Instant IV Drink.

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