Health July 31, 2008


Drink Like a Fish

During summer, margaritas and Michelobs may flow faster than the Big Wood, but water is what your body really needs, especially if you work out. Water carries oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells, which helps keep you energized and performing your best, says Becky McCarver, R.D., the dietician at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center in Ketchum. It also helps regulate your body temperature, so you don’t overheat.

Our high desert climate increases fluid requirements, making it extra important to drink up. Scorching summer temps and sweaty workouts also boost our need for H20. During an intense hour-long sweat session, a 150-pound person can lose as much as six cups of water. Failure to replace these fluids can result in sluggishness, along with headaches, chapped lips and joint pain, says Hailey nutritionist Daniella Chace, M.S., C.N.

While it may sound old school, plain water is the best choice for most of us since it’s calorie-free, cheap and easily accessible, McCarver says. However, if you’re doing intense workouts of an hour or more, particularly in hot weather, you can benefit from an electrolyte drink, which helps restore sodium, potassium, and other important nutrients lost through sweat, Chace notes. Her favorite: ElectroMIX, a powder supplement that contains no added sugar, colors or chemicals—just add it to water. She also likes Knudsen’s Recharge, a mix of fruit juice, water and electrolytes. Chace and other local nutrition experts don’t recommend sports drinks such as Gatorade and Propel, because they’re loaded with artificial ingredients and sometimes sugar.

What about so-called energy drinks such as Red Bull, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, Snapple Atomic Energy, and Energy Vitaminwater? These potions—which have ingredients such as caffeine, taurine (an amino acid) and natural stimulents like ginseng and guarana—can give your body a temporary boost. However, they contain a hefty amount of dehydrating caffeine, sugar and calories. And if you overdo, they can make you anxious and jittery, raise your blood pressure or cause heart irregularities, McCarver says. Safety concerns have even prompted some countries, including Norway and France, to ban the sale of Red Bull. Bottom line? Stick with the pure stuff.

This article appears in the Summer 2007 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.