In our fast-paced lives, sports foods/drinks have become a quick, readily available snack choice for many people, but we really don’t need them. And in many cases, we simply don’t want them in our precious bodies!
Many protein bars have artificial sweeteners and other dangerous additions, including aspartame, sorbitol, sucralose (yes, sucralose is an artificial!), acesulfame potassium, or maltitol, to name a few. While artificial sweeteners are touted as having no calories or carbs, the buck doesn’t stop there: studies show they get lodged in organs and tissues (in particular the digestive area, which as we know is where our immune system originates). Artificial sweeteners have been shown to make us hungrier‘! And, well, they help your body to hold onto fat (yes ladies, fat) and they keep that nasty cellulite tucked away in your cells.
And of course there are the nasty trans fats, which are stabilizers in many popular snack foods, are a dangerous addition to any food and one should take extreme caution with these, given the health risks involved. And while labels are supposed to list them, manufacturers are legally allowed to label anything as having zero trans fats if there is less than 2 grams of trans fats in a serving size. (Look for the words ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘modified’…trans fats disguised as ‘other’ ingredients).
And let’s not get started on so-called electrolyte drinks, just sugar drinks disguised as healthy (sports nutritionists who work with Olympic track athletes have long discovered that the body has an amazing ability to manage its potassium / sodium levels and balance its own electrolytes, and even Olympic level marathoners show repeatedly through track tests that their bodies rarely, if ever, need the replacement fuels. So if they don’t need them, then we sure don’t!
Eat with your eyes wide open, I always say. If you like to indulge in bars and drinks, if it makes you feel more in tune with the crowd, or if it feeds that nagging hunger, great. But simply know that the science hasn’t shown any benefit in fact, they are seen as more detrimental (and expensive!).
For me, whole food still rocks!