Hydration is important for health, and if you’re reading the Nuun Blog we’re pretty sure you agree. But hydration plays a vital role in so many aspects of health, and how you hydrate, or with what, can affect your body and how you feel in many ways. Over the next several weeks we will be addressing a variety of hydration-related health & wellness topics on our blog. Our in-house sports nutritionist Nuunie Vishal has a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis on Nutrition & Wellness from Iowa State University and holds certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASP) as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS), and from the Road runners Club of America as a Distance Running Coach (CRC). Through his involvement in athletics and research at Iowa State University, Vishal has obtained a vast knowledge of topics relating to sports nutrition, and he has kindly offered to share his insights with fellow Nuunies!
Stay tuned for future topics, and let us know if you have any requests in the comments section.
SUGAR & HYDRATION
Well, it’s no secret that sugar and its consumption has been a hot button topic among both consumers and the media. All are in agreement that the amount of sugar we consume in daily foods is shocking! With the inclusion of sugar in so many frequently used items, the intake of sugar has increased steadily over the years, now reaching its highest levels ever (2,3,9). While we are now aware of the sugar over-consumption epidemic and how unhealthy it is, sugar is still present in a variety of foods in surprising amounts. With so much information about the drawbacks of sugar over consumption, Nuun offers a sugar-free alternative to help you stay hydrated! In a world full of foods and drinks with added sugar, as well as, information, Nuun is leading the way in sugar free sports drinks that allow you to stay healthy and hydrated without the use of sugar.
Before we talk about the sugar-sweetened beverages many of us are familiar with, let’s talk about sugar itself. While we could spend a lot of time discussing the different kinds of sugar, it’s important to remember not all sugars are created equal; in fact, some sugars are essential to a healthy and balanced diet. Two such sugars are:
- Naturally occurring lactose (milk sugar)
- Naturally occurring fructose (fruit sugar)
These sugars are much different from added sugars and are necessary for healthy living and proper body functions. So rest assured that there are good sugars when reading a nutritional fact panel of dairy or fruit items.
Now that we know there are ‘good’ sugars present in healthy foods, lets discuss the term ‘added sugars’ and how that might relate to you. Added sugar refers to any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during production or preparation. Companies that use these ingredients are not necessarily required to indicate the actual amount of added sugar they include in their products, leading many consumers to believe they are ingesting something relatively healthy or sugar free. Examples of key sources of added sugar that you should look out for on ingredient panels are:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrate
- Invert/malt sugar
And while the sources of added sugars are listed on the ingredients panel, the labeling of such products and their sugar content can be very different. For example, when you see a product that states ‘sugar free’ it really means that the product contains less that .5g of sugar per serving; it’s not necessarily sugar free. Also, if a product that states it has ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘less sugar’ it really means that the product contains 25% less sugar compared to a standard serving. It really is important to be able to identify added sugars in foods you are consuming so as to be aware and make educated decisions about what you are consuming.
The side effects associated with over consumption of sugar are numerous and troubling, and it is important to understand the potential harm associated with extra calories that come from added sugars. An overconsumption of added sugars can lead to an increase in dental cavities, especially in children (7,8) . It can also lead to a feeling of being full, which can affect our ability to consume the necessary nutrients in a proper and healthy meal (1,10). Added sugars are also considered an ‘empty calorie’ for its ability to provide no nutritional benefits in exchange for its capacity to provide energy for your body. Having an increased intake of added sugars can lead to a poor diet with far fewer nutrients than our body demands from us. Complications can arise from having a poor diet and should be taken very seriously. Such complications are, but not limited to (1,10,11):
- Increased risk of developing obesity
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
While the statistics and information can be overwhelming or even daunting at times, making even simple changes can positively impact a person’s health. With the increased attention on America’s health, many companies are creating healthier alternatives to popular consumer items. We consider Nuun one such item.
Designed to help you stay hydrated and healthy, Nuun is your favorite sports drink without all the stuff that can bog you down. With so much information about the harm of added sugars in foods, calorie free sweeteners that are safe for consumption have become more popular as an alternative. Using a various form of these sweeteners, Nuun stands out as a leader in sugar free sports drinks by helping you stay hydrated without the extra health risks.
Preview: Our next posts will focus on hydration and the role it plays in our lives, whether we are active or not. We all know it’s important to stay hydrated, but do we understand why?