Sugar in Hydration Drinks - Good or Bad?

sugar in hydration

Most hydration drinks on the market today are loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Artificial sugars are zero calorie sweeteners, but they have their own set of deleterious issues. This article is focused strictly on the addition of sugar.

There are conflicting views regarding the need for sugar in hydration drinks and powdered hydration formulas that are causing some confusion and controversy. Is it more beneficial to have sugar in your hydration drink or not? We say NOT and here’s why.

Daily intake of fluids is crucial for proper hydration for a multitude of reasons: to regulate body temperature, muscle contraction and performance, regulate blood pressure and heart health, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, keep organs functioning properly and lots more. Being well-hydrated also improves mental alertness, cognition, sleep quality, and mood.

But hydration is more than just drinking water. We loose key minerals during basic daily activities, like working out or participating in sports, alcohol consumption and even during sleep. These key minerals such as magnesium, sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium are called electrolytes. They are essential for optimal performance and bodily functions. They help the body absorb water and direct water to those areas of the body that need it most. If you want to read up on how we incorporate 70+ minerals for better hydration check out RISE and GO super-powders and all the juicy ingredient details on their pages.

So, where does sugar come in?

We see the results of eating way too much sugar all around us. It’s hard to miss the rise of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in children, friends, family, and those in our communities. Health advocates, medical practitioners and the scientific data highly recommend we need to consume LESS SUGAR (Sugar Shockers_WebMD & Rethink Your Drink_Blue Zones). So why would we add sugar to our hydration drinks and nullify the health benefits of important electrolytes and the workout we just did???

Did you know even "healthy" hydration packs have 2 tsps+ of sugar and a 20oz bottle of a regular sports drink has 8 tsps of sugar or more! (The Nutrition Source_Harvard School of Public Health)

The general answer on adding sugar to hydration drinks comes from Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT), a simple solution of glucose (sugar) and electrolytes, including sodium. Originally developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is designed to deliver rapid lifesaving rehydration to those suffering severe dehydration from starvation, extreme diarrhea and other abnormalities. Rehydration solutions typically administered in hospital settings via IV (intravenous therapy) also contain glucose to support the rapid uptake of sodium and thus water by the intestines in these severe cases. Bottom line – unless you are suffering medical grade dehydration or having a severe bout of vomiting or diarrhea you most likely do NOT NEED SUGAR in your hydration mix. Here is why:

The goal is to replace electrolytes, NOT SUGAR!
There are other co-transport systems in your body that will aid the uptake of electrolytes without sugar. These co-transport systems include gut bacteria, amino acids, and the synergistic electrolytes such as potassium – not to mention the sugars already in your system from daily eating.

At MANTRA Labs, we use unique, natural sources for electrolytes that are superior for hydration and the uptake of water and minerals. These are Aquamin™ and Deep Ocean Minerals™.

Aquamin™ is a unique marine multimineral complex that provides bioactive calcium, magnesium and 72 other unique trace marine minerals. Derived from sustainably harvested seaweed in the pristine waters off the coast of Iceland, this super food supplement supports hydration, bone, joint and digestive health.

Deep Ocean Minerals™ provide a synergistic and pure mix of 70+ minerals and trace elements drawn from the pure ancient depths of the Pacific Ocean (deep ocean water 200+ meters in depth). These minerals support recovery, hydration, and proper cellular function.

We do this all WITHOUT ADDING SUGAR. We make our products taste great with natural flavor and subtle natural organic sweeteners. This combination of full spectrum oceanic electrolyte hydration, no sugar, and great taste is what sets MANTRA Labs apart and gives you better hydration.

You can find the MANTRA Super Hydration Blend with full-spectrum oceanic hydration in both our RISE and GO super-powders. 

NOTE: This is for information purposes only. You should consult a medical doctor or your physician if you are concerned about hydration or if you have diarrhea, vomiting or are participating in extreme or ultra-endurance sports.