Salt and sugar have been given a bad reputation over the years. But do these ingredients really deserve all the harsh criticism? Sugar has especially been demonized and to some extent, for a legitimate reason. When consumed in large quantities, sugar can be addictive and is one of the leading causes of obesity in children and adults. Which is exactly why we’re not giving you the green light to stuff your face with handfuls of miniature Snickers bars this Halloween. However, there are two functions of sugar that help the body operate at a high level and are critical during intense exercise. Additionally, salt has a laundry list of health benefits and is a critical component of proper hydration. Let’s talk about the truth of salt and sugar!
Important Functions of Sugar in the Body
1. Absorption of water and other nutrients – Glucose, also known as dextrose, is the most common form of sugar and what is used in the body for energy. Glucose enhances sodium and water transport across the upper intestinal wall and into the bloodstream (a process more commonly known as osmosis). In other words, a solution of water + glucose + salt hydrates better than water alone.
2. Carbohydrates for energy – There are two types of carbohydrates, complex (found in whole grains and vegetables) and simple (found in honey and sugar). Both forms of carbs are converted by your body into glucose. Glucose is a monosaccharide or simple sugar that’s essential role in the human body is to provide energy. The brain, neurons, and developing red blood cells must use glucose as their form of energy. Without glucose, the body will draw on glycogen stores to give the brain food and will turn to breaking down muscle into glucose once those stores are depleted. It’s recommended that a majority of your diet should be complex carbohydrates, but simple carbs can give you the quick lift you need during long and intense periods of exercise. Most sports drinks are too high in sugar (carbohydrates) and too low in electrolytes. This is where Liquid I.V.‘s Hydration Multiplier excels. It contains an optimal balance of simple sugars and electrolytes, allowing you to work harder and longer. No bonking on our watch.
Healthy Tip: Due to the negative publicity, brands have started replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, and erythritol. These ingredients have been used for a long time in diet drinks and are now increasingly being used in regular versions as substitutes for sugar. Stay away from these at all costs and stick with Non-GMO beet, cane or coconut sugar in moderation.
Important Functions of Salt in the Body
1. Optimal hydration and electrolyte balance – It may be a bit counterintuitive to most, but salt is a necessary component of proper hydration. Drinking water with no sodium increases the risk of hyponatremia which is where sodium levels in the blood are too low. Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water that is in and around cells.
2. Replaces sodium lost from sweat – When your body works hard and begins to heat up it cools itself down by sweating. Sweat is primarily comprised of water, salt, and iodine. If you fail to replace the salt you’ve lost your body will start to pull it from your tissues which can lead to muscle cramping, dizziness, and fatigue. Studies have shown that the primary cause of cramping is sodium deficiency. Make sure you are getting enough salt before, during, and after exercise to avoid all the nasty symptoms.
3. Maintains blood circulation and lowers heart rate – Consuming more salt increases water and helps with the vasodilation of arteries. In non-medical terms, salt helps your body store more water and widens your blood vessels. When you combine these two factors your circulation and blood flow to muscles increases and your heart rate goes down.
Healthy Tip: Salt is your body’s friend when it comes to exercise and proper hydration. Don’t just drink water. Be sure to increase your sodium intake when you are working hard. This will help you prevent cramps and potential hyponatremia.
DREAM TEAM COMBINATION:
What do you get when combining salt and sugar in the correct ratio with water? A super hydrator. When you combine glucose with sodium in a 1:1 ratio, the sodium-glucose cotransport system is activated in the gut. Combining salt with sugar in this 1:1 ratio is the fastest way to get hydration into your bloodstream aside from an actual IV. The glucose accelerates the absorption of sodium and water into the system, hydrating you faster than water by itself. Liquid I.V. utilizes this science by combining salt and sugar within the range that the World Health Organization (WHO) has deemed to be most effective for hydration.
The sodium glucose co-transport system was first discovered in the 1960s by Dr. Robert Crane and according to the Lancet British Medical Journal, “The discovery that sodium transport and glucose transport are coupled in the small intestine so that glucose accelerates absorption of solute and water (is) potentially the most important medical advance this century.” This incredible breakthrough in science was put to use by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1970s to save lives around the world where people were dying of dehydration due to diseases like cholera. The method of applying this life saving combination of sodium, glucose, and water is called oral rehydration therapy and is used today, but not widely known in the United States. Our goal is to change that.