When you’re working out and breaking a sweat, there is nothing better than a refreshing sports drink to cool you down and restore those all-important electrolytes lost in that sweat. However, not all sports drinks are created equal, and some may contain lots of added sugar that is not benefitting your health goals. Not only that, but for those on a low FODMAP regimen, some added sweeteners and other additives can cause unwanted digestive discomfort. Therefore, use the tips below to find a low FODMAP sports drink for your workout hydration routine.
Common ingredients in sports drinks
In your average sports drinks, you may find ingredients such as caffeine, B vitamins, taurine, added sugars, and other energy boosting ingredients. Some of these are ok in moderation, but there are a few ingredients that are considered high FODMAP that you should stay away from.
- Fructose: Fructose, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup, should be avoided on the low FODMAP regimen. Some ingredients that have an equal glucose to fructose ratio like table sugar and some fruits are ok in moderation. It is just those fruits and added fructose sugars that cause an excessive intake of fructose that could lead to digestive symptoms.
- Fruit concentrates from high FODMAP fruits: Concentrates from peach, pear, apple, mango, or blackberry are high in FODMAPs, so should be avoided. The same goes for any added juices from high FODMAP fruits. Also, although oranges are a low FODMAP fruit, reconstituted orange juice or orange juice blends should be limited to 4 ounces each day.
- Fructo-oligosaccharides or galacto-oligosaccharides: These ingredients are functional fibers sometimes found in sports drink products as sweeteners. They are considered high FODMAP and should be avoided.
- Inulin: This sweetener is highly fermentable and can worsen digestive symptoms for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Coconut water: More than about 3 ounces of fresh or packaged coconut water is considered higher FODMAP, therefore intake of drinks with this ingredient should be limited.
There are also some ingredients that are not necessarily high FODMAP, but may trigger symptoms in some people with IBS. These ingredients include:
- Guar gum
- Acacia gum
- Xanthan gum
It may be necessary to ingest small amounts of products with these ingredients to test your tolerance before you consume them on a regular basis in your sports drink or other beverage item.
Low FODMAP sports drink options
When choosing a sports drink, look for those with low amounts of added sugar, if any, and avoid any high FODMAP ingredients like those listed above. The main thing to look for in a sports drink is that it will provide you with the electrolytes and water you will need to stay healthy during and after your workout. If you can’t seem to find any sports drinks on the shelves that look good to you, you can try to make your own like this modified version of a recipe found online.
- Combine 1 cup of water and a ½ teaspoon of sea salt in a large pot. You can also add a low FODMAP sweetener like stevia or sucralose if you want for a bit of added sweet flavor.
- Bring all these ingredients to room temperature over low heat.
- Once all ingredients have dissolved, remove the pot from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once the mixture has cooled, add in an additional 7 cups of water as well as one cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (no added sugars or blends) and the juice of several lemons and/or limes.
- Whisk mixture well and pour mixture into a pitcher or several water bottles.
- Cool your homemade sports drink in the refrigerator and enjoy!
Take home message
Sports drinks can be an important part of your hydration routine. However, if you follow a low FODMAP regimen, it is important to check the label for any high FODMAP ingredients that could disrupt your workout in an uncomfortable way. Better yet, get creative and prepare your own sports drink mixture so you can have control over the ingredients in it, and in turn have a safe and healthy workout. And after your workout is through, don't forget to recover with a low FODMAP protein drink made from a high quality and delicious powder like that from Casa de Sante.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN, Lighttrack Nutrition