5 electrolyte brands put to a taste test
posted: May 29, 2014
With summer approaching, things are heating up for heavy sweaters—we’re talking to all you hot yogis, marathon runners and triathletes—and staying hydrated is key. Hopefully you know this simple equation by now: water + electrolytes = hydration
An electrolyte is a substance that ionizes when dissolved in a solvent, like water. Commercially, they come in a powder, liquid or gel form and contain ions that are a part of every cellular function in our bodies. Here’s a quick breakdown of what we need:
• Sodium (Na+) – maintains fluid balance
• Potassium (K+) – prevents cramping
• Calcium (Ca2+) – regulates muscle contraction and heart rhythm
• Magnesium (Mg2+) – relaxes muscles
• Bicarbonates (HCO3-) – may delay fatigue & enhance endurance
We got together four people to do a blind taste test of five electrolyte brands, and chose lemon-lime as the flavour to compare apples-to-apples.
10 = the best in the business
5 = not bad, but there’s room for improvement
1 = might as well make my own
After taste: 4
Quality ingredients: 9
Four out of four of us rated this brand as the best of the five we tried, noting that it has the least offensive taste and the healthiest ingredients. Sweetened with cane sugar, this powder is one of the only brands that uses real lemon and lime juice.
Quality ingredients: 5
Ener-C is the only electrolyte brand of the five we tested that has some carbonation. That is has added vitamins are a bonus, and if you want a bit of flavour, this is a good bet. Though, the fact fructose is the first ingredient listed is a bit worrisome.
Quality ingredients: 6
Overall rating: 3
This product tasted very synthetic and needed to be shaken/stirred a lot. That said, this is one of the only options we tested that had a lot of vitamins, and that is sweetened with stevia, not sugar/fructose.
Quality ingredients: 10
These drops are essentially flavourless, so will score high with those who dislike a synthetic taste. Their slight salty taste may be aversive for some, but dilute the drops with more water and you will barely taste them at all.
Quality ingredients: 10
Our issue with this electrolyte is its bizarre after-taste, which we could eradicate by adding more water. Choose this option if you want a decent flavour that is sweetened with stevia, and not fructose/sugar.
If you need to pick up an electrolyte brand for convenience and portability, try Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix. If you want to completely manage taste, carbonation and grit-factor, it’s probably just as easy to make your own. Here’s a quick recipe that we like.
1 L water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbs himalayan salt
1 tbs honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Combine all ingredients; shake to dissolve.
Alyson has been busy digesting mood food, seeking visual magic and promoting earth warriors since 1987. She writes and photographs big and small projects for @lululemon and beyond. She likes bananas, turquoise, travel, yoga, juice and Tuesdays. Her dream is to build a Pinterest legacy, pay back her parents and get invited to speak at TED.