Friday, March 2, 2012

Sugar in Powerade ION4 - Indispensable & Defensible

Many consumers are confused about sugar. Is it good for me? Bad for me? “Will it make me fat?” Should I follow Ellen DeGeneres and go on a “sugar cleanse”? Should my kids eat sugar? In the media, sugar is regularly blamed for childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. Lost in all this confusion is the simple fact that our bodies run on sugar. Sugar (glucose to be precise) is the only fuel that our brain and nerves can use under normal circumstances. If all we did was lie in bed and watch TV all day, our brain would still need about 100 grams (400 kcal) of glucose to fuel its activity.
Improved performance is the most important benefit of drinking Powerade ION4 during exercise, a benefit that results from preventing dehydration and supplying energy to muscles. That energy is sugar. Sugars (carbohydrates) such as sucrose, glucose, and fructose are quickly digested in the intestine (in the case of sucrose), rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, converted into glucose by the liver (in the case of fructose), and immediately transported to muscles, brain, nerves, and other tissues throughout the body. Active muscles take up glucose
(blood sugar) from the bloodstream and break it down to produce the energy required to keep active bodies going longer and stronger, one reason why sports drinks consistently beat plain water when it comes to performance.

There is absolutely no reason to apologize for or be defensive about the sugar in Powerade ION4. To the contrary, Powerade ION4 contains sugar for reasons rooted in strong science:
• The sweetness of sugar encourages voluntary fluid intake during exercise and that reduces the risks associated with dehydration;
• During exercise, sugar is such a powerfully positive signal to the brain that just the presence of
sugar in the mouth improves performance, even if the sugar is not swallowed;
• Sugar stimulates rapid water and nutrient absorption, an important attribute during exercise when sweat loss is high and the body needs energy and electrolytes;
• Sugar in the intestine and bloodstream provides feedback to the brain that the body is adequately fueled and that helps make exercise feel easier;
• The sugar in Powerade ION4 is used by muscles to produce energy and improve performance;
• Consuming sugar during prolonged, intense exercise actually reduces the stress hormone response to exercise and maintains the activity of certain immune cells;
• Finally, active consumers wary about sugar have a great option: Powerade ZERO.

Sugar critics often cite sugar intake as a cause of obesity. As evidence, they point to the fact that both obesity and sugar consumption in the US rose markedly from 1980-2003. But in the UK and Australia, sugar intake has fallen in that same time period, yet obesity rates in those countries have continued to rise. There is no doubt that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing; that’s true of sugar as it is of protein, water, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. For sedentary people who are overweight or obese, consuming a diet high in sugar may well contribute to negative health outcomes. But for healthy, physically active people - and especially for athletes in training - sugar presents no risk to health and is absolutely essential to fuel physical and mental performance. And that’s certainly true for the relatively small amount of sugar in Powerade ION4.
Powerade: Sports Drink Science, Feb 2012

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