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Is Coke a sports drink??

Anyone watching the Tour de France? I love it, probably because I like cycling. Cycling is however a very tainted sport with loads of doping scandals over the years. I read a book about the Tour and there were accusations of doping back to the early 1900’s with racers “experimenting” with speed and amphetamines. Lance Armstrong has constantly denied doping accusations even when one of his aides went home to England after one tour and swore under oath that she disposed of needles used for doping when she was working for his team. Now Floyd Landis, who for 2 years denied he doped, has come clean and dobbed in Armstrong at the same time. Anyway I digress. What I really want to discuss is coke and not the white stuff some naughty people stuff up their noses but the bubbly soft drink people stuff down their throats πŸ™‚

I was watching the telecast last night and there were 2 or 3 of the guys riding in the peloton sitting there drinking cans of coca cola. I mean that stuff is the devils work right!? Full of sugar (high Glycaemic Index meaning instant insulin response) and caffeine (a stimulant, although in the eyes of WADA a legal stimulant but also a diuretic, meaning you pee more). So BAD BAD stuff indeed!

But NO! Not at all. Athletes like those that are racing in the Tour are in a nutritional state that requires massive amounts of sugar, instantly and for a long period of time. Sugar is what the body breaks carbohydrate down into to then allow it to be absorbed into the blood stream and then into the mitochondria which are the energy producers in muscle tissue. When you need instant energy and you have a long drawn out demand for it a soft drink, tasting sweet and doing a good job is an ok solution. Not the best but it works. I mean by that there is simply too much sugar per litre for it to be healthy and for it to work effectively in the stomach. Gastric issues can result due to the carbonated nature of the drink for one. However if used in conjunction with water and other drink solutions like Gatorade-type stuff, it works. For the pro’s πŸ™‚

The other issue of it containing caffeine is more interesting. Recent research suggest the diuretic effect is not as significant as first determined. And secondly having a boost to the adrenals, which is the major stimulant effect, can be very valuable again, if not abused. This is particularly so for instance, when running up into a major climb when decision-making is of a high priority. Having an alert mind maybe the difference in catching a breakaway or not!

So there you have it, Coke is actually a sports drink, if used in the right circumstances, who would have believed!!



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  1. Pingback: Post UFIT (training) re-fuelling « Ufitsingapore's Blog

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