ENERGY DRINKS

The objective of these drinks is to replace the water, carbs and minerals lost during physical exercise. Their composition is suited to the nutritional needs of sportsmen and women during their physical activities.

1/ WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF ENERGY DRINKS  

Staying hydrated is essential whatever your physical activity. The primary objective of an energy drink is therefore to provide hydration.

Energy drinks are sweet and provide carbohydrates that can be easily assimilated during physical exercise. They delay the depletion of the body's energy reserves and therefore prevent hypoglycaemia ("sudden fatigue")

 

2/ HOW TO USE ENERGY DRINKS

Physical effort of less than 1hr/1hr30mins:

Pure water is sufficient.

 

Physical effort in excess of 1hr/1hr30mins:

It is advisable to take a carb drink on a regular basis (1 mouthful every 10 to 15 minutes). This drink must have a high-carb content in order to provide the body with energy that can be used quickly. This drink can also contain sodium, vitamin B1 and be isotonic so that it can be assimilated easily.

 

Physical effort lasting a very long time:

When making an effort over a long period of time, the carb and mineral intake is always significant in order to fulfil your needs. This drink may also contain minerals, i.e. sodium as well as potassium and magnesium in hot weather, as well as vitamins B1, B2 and B6 which play a role in the body's use of carbohydrates.

 

3/ WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS OF AN ENERGY DRINK?  

The specific feature of the drink will be linked to its formulation of carbohydrates, minerals (such as sodium) and, consequently, its osmotic concentration.

- Water to maintain hydration: physical activity results in significant losses of water that can affect performance during sports.

- Carbohydrates to compensate for the energy expended: the most commonly used carbohydrates are glucose, fructose and maltodextrins.

- Sodium to compensate for losses through perspiration: sodium helps to maintain the body's fluid balance. It is advisable to take between 400 and 1100mg/L. Do not exceed this threshold as this can affect the osmotic concentration and, hence, indirectly, the speed of gastric emptying.

- Osmotic concentration: Given that the osmotic concentration of blood is 290mOsm/L, a drink must have the same concentration in order to be isotonic.

 

4/ WHAT ARE THE PITFALLS TO BE AVOIDED?

- Fructose: Fructose, taken by itself, is not recommended during physical exercise. In excess of 30g/L, it can lead to gastro-intestinal problems, which will have a negative affect on performance. It must be combined with another sugar.
- Honey: very rich in fructose. The energy drinks prepared with this ingredient are not of much use unless they are combined with another sugar.
- The temperature of the drink: The drink must be cool (10 – 15°C) but not chilled.

 

5/ WHAT ARE THE REGULATIONS REGARDING ENERGY DRINKS?

In order to bear the nutritional claim "dietary sports product", drinks must comply with certain specific regulatory requirements.

Energy drinks belong to one of 6 categories of foodstuffs intended for particular nutritional uses regulated at the European level by directive 89/398/EEC.

What's more, sports products are specifically regulated by the order of 20 July 1977, which stipulates that the carbohydrate content must represent less than 60% of the calories provided. Moreover, they must contain a quantity of vitamin B1 such that a calorie intake of 3000 kCal corresponds to a vitamin B1 intake of between 3 and 9 mg.

 

marie-fauchille

Marie Fauchille

Diététicienne-Nutritionniste, passionnée de raid multisport et d'aviron

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