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AQUAhydrate: it has all the key ingredients except this

Alia Parker's picture
AQUAhydrate 1L bottle fits into a standard drink bottle cage.

I have a guilty relationship with sports drinks: I don't like them, but I drink them, then I feel bad about the excess sugar and artificial gunk I just put into my body while acknowledging that I needed to rehydrate, and quickly.

Having done as much long distance touring as I have, I know exactly how my body reacts under certain conditions. For instance, if the temperature gets up above 26°C, and especially once into the 30s, I'll have a headache by mid afternoon if I don't dose up on electrolytes.

Without fail, the days I stick to plain water, even if I drink plenty and eat well, I'll start to feel fatigued and have a dull throbbing throughout my head; but drink a bottle of hydration fluid and I'll be right. That annoys me because I love plain water and I don't want to have to drink a bottle of sugar to stay hydrated.

I was contacted recently to see if I wanted to a product sample of AQUAhydrate – an electrolyte drink without the sugar. I'd never heard of this healthier option before and, given it was sugar free, I was interested to try it so they sent me some samples.

Aquahydrate, Cycle TravellerWhat is it?

AQUAhydrate markets itself as 'performance water'. It's basically purified water with natural minerals – the electrolytes – added to it. The mineral concentrate it uses is called Concentrace, a supplement that contains 72 naturally occurring ionic trace minerals, which they get from the Great Salt Lake in Utah, United States. The water is then raised to be alkaline at pH9.

What does it taste like?

It tastes like water; there are no sweeteners or flavours added. No overpowering tastes of any sort. It's very easy to drink.

The electrolytes

AQUAhydrate says its mix of 72 natural minerals – such as sodium, potassium, chromium, zinc and magnesium – helps to replace the electrolytes the body loses during exercise. As a comparison, the two most popular sports drinks, Powerade and Gatorade, have three to four artificial electrolytes.

Electrolytes help to conduct the body's electrical energies, enabling good muscle function, maintaining the pH level of blood, and moving water and fluids about the body, hydrating it in the process.

Electrolytes are lost through perspiration and replaced when we eat or take an electrolyte supplement. Plain water does not contain electrolytes.

AQUAhydrate bottles in 500ml and 1L sizes.

So if we've been out cycling all day, our bodies will sweat and lose more electrolytes than normal, and the water we drink won't necessarily hydrate us effectively without these electrolytes. If we've been exercising intensively, the food we eat may not provide us with the right balance of minerals needed to replace what was lost. As a result, we may still end up feeling fatigued, our brain function won't be optimal, and our muscles may even cramp. This is why an electrolyte supplement goes a long way to keeping our bodies performing and feeling great when exercising.

So far, drinking AQUAhydrate instead of other sports drinks or plain water has kept me feeling hydrated, alert and headache free.

No sugar

The fact AQUAhydrate has no sugar, or even artificial sweeteners, is what I think gives it the edge over the other major sports drinks on the market. It's a much healthier option than these sugary beverages. For instance, Nutrition Australia shows that Powerade has 11.5 teaspoons of sugar per 600ml, while Gatorade has nine teaspoons per 600ml. That's a lot of sugar for one little drink!

Now, don't get me wrong; it's important to keep our sugar levels up while exercising – especially over long periods – or we run the risk of 'bonking', that is, burning up all our glycogen to produce energy and then having nothing left, which can be dangerous. But, 11.5 teaspoons of sugar, or even nine, in one drink is more than I need. I'd much rather maintain my sugar levels by eating good meals and snacking right throughout the day. So being able to manage my sugar levels and hydration separately gives me more control over what I feel my body needs.

Alkalinity

AQUAhydrate says its high alkalinity of pH9 helps to keep balance in the body. I can honestly say I don't know if the alkalinity has any impact on me, other than being gentle on the stomach like normal water (which is pH neutral at pH7). Just as a comparison, sports drinks are acidic (at about pH4).

There is no conclusive research that I've been able to find about the effects of alkaline foods and water on health, so I won't make a judgement here for either side except to say that I certainly don't think it does any harm. Many report alkaline water (and water in general) to be helpful in calming acid reflux, which can be triggered by movement when exercising. 

The bottom line

Unlike other popular sports drinks, I definitely don't feel guilty at all about drinking AQUAhydrate – it's just purified water with natural minerals added to it that boost the body's electrolytes. I quite like that the minerals come out of a natural salt lake rather than being artificially produced. 

I'll still largely rely on normal water for most of my drinking, but when I'm out riding all day and need to duck into the shops to get something more substantial to rehydrate, it's nice to have a healthier option that isn't overloaded with sugar. Would I drink it again? Yes, I would reach for it on the store shelves over the alternatives.

Win a box of AQUAhydrate

I have a box of AQUAhydrate to give away, including an AQUAhydrate towel to dry off after your ride. Want to try it and judge for yourself? (This competition has now closed.)

(Conditions: Open to Australian residents only. Competition closes 11 August, 2015. One winner with the best answer will be chosen on 12 August, 2015 and contacted by email. Prize not transferable for cash).

Comments

Great article as I stumbled across aquahydrate througha elite athlete friend of mine. One thing I noticed that the cramping went away and I had much more energy when doing long distance events. This product is amazing and no doubt if Mark Wahlberg is invloved it has to work.

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