Over the past decade, a lot of controversy has arisen over the use of artificial additives and sweeteners in our foods and beverages. This is due to many studies that have revealed the true effect that these chemicals have within your body. Just because colors, additives and preservatives are approved for use in various foods and drinks, doesn’t mean they’re good for your health. As you’re about to learn, it may not be worth reaching out for that brightly colored sports drink after all.
Harmful colors added to sports drinks
One thing you need to know is that all colorants are poorly absorbed in the human body. Our bodies are simply unable to recognize what these unknown ingredients are, as they have been created by man in a laboratory.
To put things into perspective, one study to come out of New Zealand examined more than 19,000 foods in supermarket shelves. 84% of them were described as foods that no longer could bear any resemblance to their original ingredients.
Commonly added colors found within popular sports drinks include:
- Color -Blue 1: Found in Gatorade’s Cool Blue Raspberry. Has been found to cause hypersensitivity reactions. In other words, this color compromises the way in which your immune system functions, triggering possible allergic reactions and other undesirable effects. This color has already been banned in France, Norway and Finland.
- Yellow 2: Contained in Gatorade’s Lemon-Lime sports drink. Has been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens (meaning they are cancerous).
Governments usually approve the use of a food additive, color or preservative at a certain level deemed to be safe for human consumption. The problem is, what’s not taken into consideration is just how many different foods or drinks each contain that same ingredient, consumed in total across any given day. Therefore, it’s not too hard to exceed the daily intake for what is considered safe.
The safe level is also measured off the average weight of an adult, not taking into account a child’s small body weight. Children happily consume the same serving of that food or beverage as their adult counterparts, therefore their bodies have an even harder time processing many unknown ingredients.
Commonly added sweeteners
You have to ask yourself, have you fallen into the marketing trap of a zero calorie sports drink or a sugar-free drink? If so, what true cost are you paying for your health?
While the FDA has approved the use of five artificial sweeteners in America, even examining just two of the five brings about some pretty alarming findings:
Aspartame: An artificial sweetener that is commonly used in over 6,000 food products. There is consistent evidence of aspartame containing cancerous properties and an evaluation of its use in food has been called an ‘urgent matter of public health’ by medical authorities. There are many other concerning side-effects of aspartame including headaches, seizures, brain damage and compromised learning and emotional functioning. While the evaluation was requested in 2014, no action has been taken to date. Of interest, market leader Gatorade raked in 3.3 billion US dollars in 2016 alone.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): An incredibly refined sweetener derived from cornstarch. 88% of corn grown in America is genetically modified, which presents a whole host of health problems to begin with, as it has been found to be incredibly high in harmful toxins. The American Association for Cancer Research have found a direct link between the consumption of HFCS and the growth of cancer cells.
Many sports drinks contain an alarming level of sugar in each serving. In a 600ml bottle of Gatorade, you will find 36g of added sugar- that’s an equivalent to 9 teaspoons! The daily limit for sugar consumption should be around 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men. Americans are instead consuming on average 82 grams every day.
In this article, we have examined just a handful of ingredients found in some of the most popular sports drinks, endorsed by many successful athletes around the globe. It’s a little scary to think what else is added into these products, that are not required to be listed on the ingredient panel. Remember, you can take advantage of all the many benefits from electrolytes and vitamins found in sports drinks, without the unnecessary artificial flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. It’s time to look past the marketing hype, and make your health your number one priority.