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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: Obviously not Jeff Novick , but...
Date: August 15, 2007 at 1:36 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: Obviously not Jeff Novick , but... posted by alex on August 15, 2007 at 10:06 am:

part of the problem in situations like this is you are asking for an simple answer to a question without me really knowing enough about you to make a professional evaluation and qualified answer. Its one thing to critique products on a public message boards, its another to solve complex personal health issues.

So, having said that, I will make some general comments about the issue you raise.

Both fructose, sugar alcohols, and fiber in large amounts can delay gastric emptying and slow absorption of water and electrolytes. This is why whole fruits are not so hot during prolonged intense exercise - especially in the heat.

The symptoms you describe sound like those of someone who is developing hyponatremia and perhaps some dehydration while training.

The real issue here is that most Americans eat too much salt (even those who think they are on a low sodium diet as they are unaware of all the hidden salt) so they have relatively low aldosterone levels when they exercise. Low aldosterone levels greatly increase the loss of sodium (and chloride) in their sweat and if one consumed only water or water and fruit one can easily become hyponatremic.

Gatorade contains salt, sugar, and no fiber so it works well for people with low aldosterone levels as a rehydration beverage during intense exercise. A little sugar enhances fluid absorption as does a smal amount of salt.

HOWEVER, Gatordae only works well for those whose normal diet is high in salt, which suppresses aldosterone production and leads to excessive loss of salt in their sweat. Diets high in salt, refined sugars, and low in fiber (certainly Gatorade adds all three to the diet) and low in potassium, magnesium, and other nutrients will lead to high blood pressure sooner or later. Most endurance athletes in their 60s and older have hypertension.

That would not be good.

What would be better?

If someone was to eat a diet low in salt all the time they would have higher aldosterone levels and will lose far less salt in their sweat. Then they may get by with just drinking water to rehydrate.

It is possible that adding a little glucose or maltodextrin to the water and a tiny bit of sodium (maybe 1/3 the salt content of Gatorade) might be better during a competition but eben that I wouldnt do on a regular basis.

In health

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