Jun
25
2010
Share |

As usual, I was taking in a little TV between client's while at the gym and I saw this advertisement come across: a sports drink rolls onto the screen and next to the bottle some print appears "contains 40 calories", followed by different sports drink rolling onto the screen and it shows print stating this sports drink "contains 25 calories", followed finally by the final sports drink, which we are told contains "zero calories".  Of course the implication is that you should pick a sports drink that has zero calories because calories are bad --- right?

Uh, did I miss something?  Aren’t calories something we consume every time we eat? Don’t we need calories to survive? How is consuming zero calories a good thing?


I have watched this marketing strategy of nutrition go from soup diets, to excluding complete food groups, to low fat, to non-fat, to low-carb, to the rage now, organic, natural and zero calories.

 

As I promised you in an earlier blog post, I will do my best to give you information that helps you succeed.  Sometimes that means I have to call it like I see it.  These marketing strategies may do wonders to sell products, but they do not assist you in reaching your goals.

 

As I mention in my “20 of the Most Frequently Asked Fitness Questions” (and yes, that was a plug for my audio), the main ingredient in sports drinks is sodium and sugar.  The truth of the matter is, most of us don’t sweat out enough sugar and sodium from our system during a workout to warrant the use of sports drinks.  Unless you are engaged in a high intensity sport or activity for a prolonged period of time (think triathlon or football practice in the hot sun for hours), most of us would do just fine drinking plain water.  I realize that’s not what some of you want to hear because so many of us define ourselves by the brands we purchase or consume.  But as I said I am here to give you accurate information to assure your success, not sell more units of brand X.

 

Let’s take this to the next step.  Have you ever read the label of a sports drink bottle? Besides, artificial sweeteners like High Fructose Corn Syrup (dangerous- read my article on artificial sweeteners), there are many other chemicals that make up a sports drink that I don’t think I can even pronounce correctly. Please explain to me how drinking dangerous artificial sweeteners and other chemicals is supposed to be good for your body and help you reach your goals.

 

The long and short of it is this:

 

1.)    Make good choices when fueling your body. Pick the highest quality you can. Avoid putting chemicals and artificial sweeteners in your body whenever you can.

 

2.)    Brand X won’t do more to help you reach your goals no matter what the advertisement claims. Remember marketing is meant to sell units, not necessarily help you reach your goals.

 

3.)    Choose water. Add lime, lemon, orange slices for flavor.  Most of us do not sweat out enough sodium and sugar to warrant the use of sports drinks.

 

This whole concept of zero calories is just another marketing ploy.  The easy way around this sabotage is to plan your meals in advance, kick butt during your workouts, and get your rest so you can function at your best both mentally and physically.

 

There are no short cuts.  Health, Fitness and Wellness are a lifestyle, not a sound bite.

 

This is just my opinion from 15+ years of experience.  As usual, let me know if this information was helpful.