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Energy Bars and Sports Drinks

We’re a nation of consumers.

I am fascinated by the number of products that appeal to our senses because of their name. Names like “energy bar” or “sports drink.” The name alone suggests we may need them if we want to participate in sports, or have energy. But a closer look leaves me in awe of the power of marketing. With around 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, and almost 20 grams of sugar, some energy bars are surprisingly similar to a Snickers bar. But something about eating a candy bar in the afternoon is going to give me a whole lot more guilt than eating something called an energy bar.

We buy sports drinks with words like “Power” “Fuel” and “Sport” in the name.

The bottom line is hydration–hydration happens with water. By adding electrolytes the process becomes faster. It’s up to us to decide if that slightly faster hydration time is necessary or–are we buying those emotional words used in the name? Some sports drinks aren’t all that sportsmen-like. Along with the electrolytes, you get food dyes like Brilliant blue #2 or Yellow #5 (tartrazine) and a rich dose of added sugar. Food dyes have been implicated in allergic reactions and known to trigger episodes of asthma. Additionally, there has been some research by the FDA that links food dyes to thyroid tumors and allergic responses. For many parents, the hyperactivity and behavioral changes in their children are so noticeable, they steer clear of sports drinks for their kids.

A little bit of research

Researchers from the University of Connecticut, University of Arkansas and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine found that nonfat chocolate milk may help to repair muscles better than sports drinks. They took muscle biopsies of runners after they exercised and found their muscles repaired more efficiently after drinking 16 ounces of nonfat chocolate milk than when they drank sports drinks. I’m not recommending post-workout chocolate milk, just pointing out that in many ways the jury is still out as to the necessity of sports drinks and energy bars.

A great choice during and after exercise is pH-balanced water

It works for all levels of fitness. If you want to change it up, add a squeeze of lemon, a shake of stevia and a couple of mint leaves. Or, a teaspoon of frozen orange juice or some apple slices dropped into your bottle will add those electrolytes. After exercise, a banana (now there’s a good-looking wrapper) and handful of almonds will provide you with much-needed fuel replacement. The manufacturer of this awesome snack packaged it so perfectly, it didn’t need a label printed on the back.

We need to remember WE are the consumers and with billion-dollar companies coming at us daily, guns blazing, using color, taste, catchy slogans, emotional words, attractive labels, TV ads with great music, and some of the biggest athletes in the world being paid huge sums of money to tell us what to eat or drink. Even with all this, it’s still our call. We choose. We just need to be a little smarter than they expect.

I’ll see you soon.

Love & health,



Loa Blasucci is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire