What’s making me a bit salty right now?

Australia is officially in a heatwave. πŸ˜¬πŸ˜“

Whilst I tend to drink heaps of water out of habit, I work as a bakery shopgirl, where I’m constantly sandwiched between hot ovens and a hot Earth every shift, with zero air-con. As such, it tends to be several degrees hotter than the 30Β°C+ outside, and I seem to be consistently at least a little dehydrated.

water bottles.jpg

Trying to find all the water bottles in the house

It turns out that active workers in hot weather can lose around a litre of fluid in sweat every hour (Miller & Bates, 2007)! If fluid loss is bad enough (about 4% or more of your body weight), it can affect mood, cognitive function, and perception of effort (Maughan et al., 2015). Not the best thing when I’m trying to be a good employee/not cut myself in the bread slicer. πŸ˜‰ So, this week I’ve challenged myself to guzzle my own homemade sports drink for some of my longer shifts, to help stay hydrated.

It turns out that advice for replacing electrolytes and fluid varies – everyone is different, and sweats differently. This is what I based my recipe on:

  • Salt: adding to drinks not only replaces salt lost in sweat, but also makes you thirstier, which encourages you to drink more fluid generally, and keeps water in. The American College of Sports Medicine (1996) recommends 0.5-0.7g of sodium per litre, if you’re exercising in hot weather for more than an hour. Otherwise, you should be able to get enough sodium from normal food to cover losses (McArdle et al., 2010).
  • Sugar: glucose (a type of sugar; sugar is a type of carbohydrate), increases the absorption of sodium and water. 1-3% carb content in the drink is recommended (Mahan et al., 2012).
  • Temperature: cold is better, and helps you manage your temperature (Mahan et al., 2012).


Thoughts and experiments

Day 1: 250mL juice (~3% carb all up) + 500mL water + heaped 1/4 tsp salt

Taste: A bit like drinking orange and mango flavoured sweat – salty and not quite sweet enough. And do I really need to be getting this much energy from juice? It’s not like I’m doing particularly hard physical activity.

Thoughts: I felt a little less full compared to water, although who knows if that was a little placebo effect. πŸ˜‰ And I was so thirsty!

Day 2: 125mL juice + 100mL diet cordial + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/2 lemon + water up to 750mL

day 2 cordial mix.JPGChanges: I’m reducing juice (so it’s about 1.5% carbohydrate) and adding diet cordial to add more flavour/sweetness without the extra sugar. I’m also putting in some lemon to remind me of tequila shots (#drinkresponsibly), πŸ˜‰ and adding a couple of ice cubes in the hope that it’ll stay even colder in the fridge. πŸ˜›

Taste: Super sweet, probably a bit too much cordial for my taste, and I didn’t get much of the lemon juice.

Thoughts: Cordial drinks are definitely more interesting than plain water when you are drinking a lot of it. πŸ˜›

Day 3: 125mL juice + 50mL diet cordial + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/2 lemon + water up to 750mL

day 3 cordial mix.JPG

Changes: I’m bringing the cordial right down and squishing up my lemons a bit when I add them.

Taste: A bit like lemon squash.

Thoughts: I reckon this one might be a goer. (y)

How does it compare?

The table below shows the nutritional information of my day 3 recipe compared to Powerade and Gatorade.


The massive difference in sodium content between my drink and commercial ones makes me think I’ve calculated something badly somewhere along the way, though I am pretty jazzed that the fruit juice adds a tiny bit of protein and fibre. πŸ˜‰

What does this have to do with fibre?

Apart from the whole hot weather/dehydration thing, fluid is important for bowel health. Because fibre absorbs water in the gut, when you increase fibre in your diet, you also need to make sure you have enough fluid to compensate.

How are you coping with the weather where you are?


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