The 6% Solution

Have your sports drink handy during exerciseThe 6% Solution When exercising or competing in events of greater than 60 minutes, particularly if high intensity, we may want to consider a sports drink. Specially-formulated sports drinks can aid our performance by providing energy in the form of carbohydrates. They can also replenish the electrolytes that we lose from our bodies via sweat. As with many things, more is not necessarily better. Look for sports drinks that provide nominal amounts of carbohydrate – about 6%. The greater the carbohydrate content above 6%, the higher the risk of gastrointestinal upset. To determine if a drink meets the “6% solution,” be a Sherlock and sleuth it out. Here’s how:

  • Sports drinks to refuel after workoutConvert ounces to milliliters (ml). If the label lists a serving as 8 ounces, multiply by 30 (the approximate number of ml in one ounce) to determine the ml of fluid in one serving. {8 x 30 = 240 ml}
  • Divide the grams (g) of carbohydrate (CHO) listed for a serving by the number of ml in a serving. For example, if there are 14 grams listed for a serving, then divide 14 by the number of ml of fluid in a serving.

So, if you have a drink and its serving size is listed as 8 ounces, with 14 g of CHO, does this meet the 6% solution? Let’s see:

8 ounces x 30 ml per ounce = 240 ml
14 g CHO / 240 ml = .058 (rounded off to 6%)

Ok, down the hatch! Your drink meets the carb requirement for hydration during activity.

But if you don’t have a sports drink handy, no worry! Grab some 100% fruit juice and dilute it 50/50 with water. You’ll have your own homemade 6%-solution sports drink!

Check David Rath Nutrition’s Facebook page weekly for new sports nutrition tips, including other criteria to consider when choosing a hydration source.


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