Tips for Meeting Fluid and Carbohydrate Guidelines

Both water and sport drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade can replace fluid losses. In general, sport drinks that are labeled as a fluid-replacement beverage should contain 6 to 8 percent carbohydrate by volume along with a small amount of sodium and potassium. They should not be carbonated,because carbonated beverages are more difficult to drink and less well tolerated while exercising. The advantage of sport drinks is that they are convenient and provide an easily absorbed source of carbohydrate and fluid that tastes good to most people during exercise. 

Alternatively, some of the newer sport gels pack 20to 25 grams of carbohydrate in a small packet that can be carried easily. These are a good option if water is available along the route or on the sideline. Newerproducts, such as Clif Shot Bloks and Sport Beans, made by Jelly Belly, which taste somewhat like gummy bears, and regular jelly beans also provide carbohydrate,sodium, and potassium and must be consumed with water. 

Sport drinks and gels that contain protein along with carbohydrate are also available. The sport drink should be easily absorbed, and the gel should be consumed with water. As a vegetarian, however, you may prefer natural or noncommercial sources of carbohydrate. In this case, diluted fruit juices (4 ounces [116 ml] of juice in 4 ounces of water produces a solution of approximately 6 percent), low-sodium vegetable juices such as carrot juice (7 percent solution), and solid foods such as fruit or bread ingested with water are appropriate. 

Honey, particularly in small packets, may also be of interest to some vegetarians for use instead of a sport gel.Research has shown that both honey and easily digested solid food are as effective as liquids in increasing blood glucose and enhancing performance, provided that they are ingested with water.The guideline is to drink approximately 240 milliliters (8 oz) of water with every 15 grams of carbohydrate ingested to create a 6 percent solution. Be creative and create your own recipe for a homemade,fruit-based, fluid-replacement beverage.