The secret to how we're able to make a drink that's short on overt sweetness but not deprived of calories is in the sweeteners we use, xylitol and stevia, both undeniably healthier alternatives to the simple sugars and/or artificial sweeteners contained in most sports drinks.
* Xylitol - If there's such a thing as a perfect sweetener, xylitol is at or near the top of the list. Xylitol is a natural substance that can be found in a variety of fibrous fruits and vegetables. It is also known as birch sugar, primarily because it is usually extracted/produced from birch trees (though it can also be extracted/produced from corn cobs). The human body naturally produces over 15 grams of xylitol every day by way of normal metabolic processes.
Xylitol also promotes oral health, as it does not ferment and support the acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay. That's why you'll find this unique sweetener in gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash, and it's one of the reasons why we include small amounts of it in HEED and Recoverite.
Note that xylitol may cause stomach distress and/or have a laxative effect when consumed in high doses. It has no known toxicity, though; people have consumed as much as 400 grams daily for long periods with no ill effects. Generally, xylitol-induced gastric stress occurs as a laxative effect in xylitol-sensitive people who consume 30 grams in a single dose or multiple doses in a short period of time.
It is also believed that xylitol is unsafe for consumption by dogs; therefore, we do not recommend you feed your dog any xylitol-containing products, including HEED or Recoverite, nor any products that are made for human consumption.
* Stevia - Another ideal natural sweetener is the extract (steviosides) from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a plant native to subtropical and tropical Central and South America. Stevia's sweet taste, considered to be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, means that minimal amounts are necessary to sweeten a product. Stevia is non-caloric and does not affect blood sugar levels, therefore it is safe for diabetics. Stevia may help to lower elevated blood pressure while not affecting people with normal blood pressure. Like xylitol, stevia does not support acid-producing bacteria responsible for tooth decay.