BY LOREN MASON-GERE
Thankfully, we rarely have to make a case against soda consumption. Whether you drink it or not, you know it's bad for you. Unfortunately, however, the marketing messages behind mainstream sports drinks have effectively misled much of the population like wolves in sheep's clothing. Put the labels to scrutiny and you'll quickly find that it's the same - or worse - than most sodas. Sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup), citric acid, and artificial colors and flavors are the standard toxic lineup of most soda pops. The only real difference between those sports drinks and soda is the carbonation and electrolytes - which in their case often just means a bunch of salt.
This being said, it obviously follows that the impact these drinks have on health and performance is less than desirable. Not only is heavy consumption of sugar a surefire way to ruin your gut during exercise, but steadily swishing your mouth with an acid-sugar wash is the best possible way to ruin your teeth. Add on the horrible health impacts of artificial colors and sweeteners (care for some cancer with your workout, anyone?), more salt than needed (without the potassium and other necessary electrolytes to balance it out), and the endless cascading impacts of simple sugar intake (inflammation, insulin response, etc.), and you have a true health disaster on your hands.
This is why, 14 years ago, Hammer Nutrition stepped up to the plate to make something truly unique. The outcome was HEED: High Energy Electrolyte Drink. A true alternative to the neon, toxic swill filling grocery stores. It was an immediate hit, and continues to be the most trusted sports drink to this day.
Here's why it works:
1. No simple sugars: Instead of sugar, we use long-chain complex carbohydrates from maltodextrin. Digested as a starch, rather than a simple sugar, this carb source rapidly raises blood sugar levels without the corresponding crash characteristic of sugar. It also requires up to five times less water for digestion, allowing easier digestion and absorption. While prolonged use of simple sugar is all but certain to lock up your GI tract eventually, maltodextrin can be absorbed efficiently all day long.
2. Balanced electrolytes: The other sports drinks equate electrolytes to salt. While sodium chloride (salt) is of course essential for exercise performance, it doesn't do the job alone. That's why HEED also contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Additionally, these minerals are included in ratios that mimic the electrolyte balance of the healthy human body - namely, four parts sodium chloride to one part potassium, and two parts calcium to one part magnesium. This perfect blend is found in all of our electrolyte products and is partially responsible for their rapid absorption and incredible effectiveness.
3. No citric acid: If you add a whole load of salt to a drink, it'll taste¦ salty. In order to help cover it up and give it a little kick to satisfy your taste buds, most drinks include a healthy dose of citric acid. But your taste buds don't digest your fuel, your stomach does, and a bunch of extra acid is about the last thing it needs. When sports drinks burn your throat, cause acid reflux, and otherwise upset your stomach lining, this ingredient is usually to blame. By omitting this ingredient, we preserved HEED's mellow and smooth flavors, spared your teeth the acid swish, and eased digestion.
4. No junk: HEED has no artificial ingredients, dairy, gluten, or anything else bad. Enough said.
Like all of Hammer's products, HEED was designed to address a tangible problem that our customers were facing. In this case, it was the tooth-rotting, gut-wrecking, health-taxing impacts of soda pop masquerading as sports drinks. HEED delivered as promised, earning legions of die-hard fans in the process. But misunderstandings about the nature of neon sports drinks persist. So next time you see your friends - or worse yet, a youth sports group - fooled into consuming these drinks, set them straight, or send them our way. We're always here to help, and a sample or two of HEED will convert them every time.