Electrolyte powders are a really effective solution when you are suffering from dehydration and need to fill the lack of electrolytes and keep yourself hydrated.
You will find a huge collection of electrolyte powders. And if you check their ingredients, you will find that most of them contain sugar. Your doctor might also be suggesting the best electrolyte powder name, but that also has sugar in it.
There are also a few sugar-free electrolyte powder options available in the market. Now the question is, are they better than those that contain sugar.
Here, in this article, we will find that out.
Is Sugar Free Better? What the Science Is Saying
If you were in search of some healthy electrolyte powder drinks without sugar, you know the exact struggle. To be honest, a zero-sugar electrolyte drink is pretty much pointless. And it is because real sugar plays a fundamental and scientifically proven role when it comes to hydration. It is not at all about the sweetness; sugar is a functional powerhouse working really hard behind the scenes only for you, especially from consuming coconut water. Sugar is absolutely not some kind of annoying additive which gets in the way. It is basically the secret ingredient which makes everything work well.
Hydration Vs Absorption: How A Little Sugar Can Make The Difference
The whole concept of hydration seems pretty simple. You just need to drink enough water to stay hydrated. Right? Well, you should know that drinking water is not necessarily similar to absorbing water. The water you are drinking always gets delivered to your stomach. But the next thing makes all the difference. The water you have drank either gets absorbed by the small intestine or distributed throughout your entire body and aids almost everything from exercise recovery to immune health. Or the water also can keep moving through your digestive system and ultimately out of your body, and that too before it gets the charge to do much good. Years and years of scientific research have found that a magic formula exists particularly for effective hydration. That is a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar added to the plain water. It provides the water-staying power for maximal absorption along with optimal effects.
Sugar Water: Since When Is That A Thing?
Now you might be thinking that our ancestors used to drink only water, then since when the concept of sugar water came into play. Well, it was 1960 when a doctor named Robert Crane invented glucose cotransport.
This is a concept which states that sugar activates the absorption capabilities of the small intestine. The work of Robert Crane, along with some other doctors’ and scientists’ works, contributed to what is now recognized as Oral Rehydration Therapy.
It is a scientific breakthrough which revolutionized treatment during historic cholera outbreaks, particularly for severely dehydrated patients.
This particular discovery has had massive-reaching implications from elite athletics to usual everyday health and also is the foundation of modern hydration science. Since the 1960s, it has been studied countless times, and the power of sugar still holds a place.
How Sugar Works In Hydration process
Imagine you are too thrifty, but you do not have a cup of glass. So what will you do? You will go to the sink and put your hand under the running water.
This way, you might be able to catch a tiny bit for a quick sip. However, most of the water streams will go right out of your hand and down the sink drain. Not at all efficient, not at all quenching, right?
This is pretty much what our bodies do with regular plain water.
So, now you know what a big difference a cup or glass can make. With these basic tools, you will be able to get the water from any point to the other efficiently and effectively. It might seem simple, but indeed game-changing.
Just like that, you will find out that you are not thirsty anymore.
This is essentially the role sugar plays in helping our body absorb water. When the sugar is paired with electrolytes in the right ratio, sugar exactly gets the water where it requires it to go. The water you are drinking is being absorbed via your small intestine.
Electrolyte Powders: Is Sugar Free Better?
So, from the above discussion, we can conclude that sugar is essential for water to get absorbed in the body. That means when you are drinking electrolyte drinks in order to replace the hydration level in your body, it is best to opt for those electrolyte powders that contain a small amount of sugar.