Who do you trust with your health? Do you trust multi billion dollar companies? Most people would answer “no” to that, but in truth, the amount of people eating and drinking products from big companies like Coca-Cola and Mc Donalds, it would seem people would trust anyone with their health. Today however, I hear a news report that just made me realize how important it is to not trust these companies as the health of the individual is not necessarily their number one priority.
The makers of Powerade (Coca-Cola), which most of us have probably had at some time or another, has been successfully petitioned to remove a product from their recipe. The ingredient in question is something that is used at times as a flame retardant and in the case of Powerade, used as an emulsifier so the ingredients don’t separate. It’s Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO), which is in many other drinks than just Powerade, which has been banned in Europe and Japan, but still widely used in the U.S. and here in Australia.
It’s an oil generally from corn or soy and has had the element Bromine added which is from the same family as Iodine. The only problem with this being that the Bromine competes with Iodine for space in the cell receptors. Many of us know that iodine is important for thyroid function, but there are many other functions it is a co factor in.
BVO has also been linked to skin rashes, some cancers (thyroid, prostate and ovarian), reduced fertility and mental illness at elevated intakes. Not something any of us want to be messing with.
For me, it’s not a huge issue as it has been many years since I have even tasted a soft drink and I only have sports drinks in races if I am completely desperate (which only happens if I haven’t prepared a good enough race strategy). But it does drive home the message that we really should be more picky about what we use for energy during races. Do you really know what is in the gel you use? When it says flavours, do you know what they are? I certainly don’t as they can be any chemical compound that has a desired taste. Did you think that berry flavoured gel has real berries in it?
I know I have been on about them for a while now and you are probably sick of hearing about them, but the Amazeballs are really a great alternative especially when you take into consideration what you have just learnt. They are made from real food, by an athlete and sports nutritionist who has a real passion for this kind of thing. If you haven’t given them a go, just try them out in your next training run and see if there is a difference in your energy levels. They work for me.
I quite often use them in conjunction with liquid/powdered products like when I did Buffalo Stampede. I would eat the Amazeballs between aid stations and have a powdered drink (Ucan) at the aid stations for a change. This worked for me. Who knows, it may work for you. It has to be better than the alternative!