Why Protein Should NOT Be In Your Sports Drink

Why Protein Should NOT Be In Your Sports Drink

Independent Research Shows No Benefit

Much has been written about the pros and cons of including protein in sports drinks designed to be used during athletic activity. The makers of Accelerade have even gone so far as to claim that they have found the optimum ratio of carbohydrate to protein to be 4:1. Fortunately there have been numerous independent studies that have consistently shown NO benefit of protein in your sports drink (see studies below). It’s important to note that we are talking about drinks that are used immediately before and/or during athletic activity. Recovery drinks that are used after your workout are a completely different category and protein in these drinks has been shown to be beneficial.

Why Not Protein?

When you are performing aerobic activity the blood supply to your stomach is shut down so that more blood can be supplied to your working muscles. You want as much blood as possible routed to your muscles to supply fresh oxygen for the energy conversion process. More blood means more oxygen which translates into higher performance. Anything you do to take blood away from your muscles is completely counterproductive to athletic performance.

The problem with protein is that it has to go through a digestive process which requires your blood to be re-routed back to the stomach and intestines. This reduces the amount of oxygen rich blood available to your muscles, thus impacting performance. Protein is also known to inhibit gastric emptying, thus slowing the slowing rehydration and possibly causing “sloshing” and stomach discomfort. Drinks without protein, fats or fiber are able to be absorbed through osmosis, thus eliminating the digestive processes and associated blood requirements.

The Better Solution?

You should look for sports drinks with high levels of complex carbohydrates, low simple sugar levels and NO protein (see related article Simple Sugars Can Hurt Performance). Here is a run down of the top sports drinks:

Sports Drink Comparisons

But don’t take our word for it, read some of the studies for yourself:

American College of Sports Medicine
Failure of Protein to Improve Performance when Added to a Sports Drink

Science Daily
Protein-added Sports Drinks Don’t Boost Performance

About Walking
Sports Drink with Protein No Better for Endurance

Read what our customers say about e-Fuel
(with NO protein!!)

Patrick Binienda

"I just finished a multi-day event where I ran through the Benton MacKay Trail, start to finish, over 287 miles - fueling almost exclusively on e-Fuel. Each day consisted of an average of 35 miles across some of the toughest mountain trails in the Eastern US. e-Fuel carried me through 9 days with little other nutrition except dinner meals. I have always suffered from over/under hydration using other fuels - e-Fuel is the most complete and efficient fuel I have used. My mountain adventure was a great success largely due to e-Fuel." ...
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Smyrna, Georgia
Sport: Running

Shaun Gallagher

"After having difficulty in races where my gastric system would 'lock up', I found that I simply couldn't handle gels and electrolyte pills frequently enough to support my needs. The calorie content and large amount of electrolytes in e-Fuel were a perfect balance for my training and racing needs. Because e-Fuel mixes fast and easy, it was easier for me to increase the concentration without worrying about trying to swallow a thick, clumpy drink. At Ironman Wisconsin I raced with 2 bottles of 4x concentrated e-Fuel (800+ calories per bottle) on the bike as my primary nutrition. Using eFuel helped me surpass my goal and register a 13 hour finish time with no cramping or stomach problems. " ...
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Tampa, Florida
Sport: Triathlon

David Tucker

"I'm training for Ironman Florida and during the summer months here in Florida, long bike rides take me into some really hot and humid weather. I've been struggling for 6 weeks with cramping every time my ride hit 60-65 miles in length. I read about e-Fuel and after two rides of 80+ miles with no cramping, I'm a believer!" ...
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Brandon, Florida
Sport: Triathlon

Jerry Sanders

"Been using your products for sometime now. Took a bit of a break from them, and decided to try some other brands. Using the competitors products, I was continually having leg cramps after 60 miles of riding. I switched back to e-Fuel, and no more cramps! Just finished a 110 mile 11000 feet climb this weekend! Couldn't have done it with out e-Fuel!" ...
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Glendale, California
Sport: Cycling

Carl Gordon

"I have to tell you that this stuff is great. I haven't done any thing really long yet, only rides in the 50-70 mile range, but the effects are great. Makes the hills a little less painfull and the recovery is much better. It also mixes well and tastes as good or better than the competition. I would like to really praise you on your excellent service. Your web site is perfect. I recieved prompt information regarding shipping and receiving of my shipment. You guys knew I got it before it did. That's kickin." ...
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Plano, Texas
Sport: Cycling

Kevin Brice

"I have been using e-Fuel and e-Gel for about 6 years for training and racing in triathlons, running events and cycling events. It is the one product that has continuous energy supply without highs and lows. I have especially liked having all my nutrition needs on the bike premixed in my drink, so I don't have to fumble with gel packs on the bike. At age 47 I am amazed that I am still getting faster and going farther, and I attribute part of that to having a proper energy source and electrolytes during events." ...
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Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Sport: Triathlon, Running, Cycling

Myk Nelsen

"I used to use another product but ended up in the emergency room twice for dehydration within a month and since I started using e-Fuel I have not had that problem. I think I will be using your product for quite some time, thanks for everything!" ...
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Jacksonville, North Carolina
Sport: Triathlon, Running

Shawn Carlisle

"I attempted a Big Bear Mountain Ride which summits at 8443 ft. Without e-Fuel and failed. 1 month later with e-Fuel, the ride was no problem. This is the BEST sports drink I have tried. Better than Accelerade or Cytomax." ...
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Highland, California
Sport: Mountain Biking

Tim P.

"I needed something that wouldn't cause an insulin spike. I tried e-Fuel and haven't looked back. This product helps greatly during races and allows me to 'trickle in' calories that will not have deleterious effects on my gut or performance. " ...
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WyCo, Kansas
Sport: Ultra Running

Dave Hinman

"I try to bike pretty hard for an hour or longer each morning. By the time I'm finished my clothes stick to me and I feel both drained and exhilarated. I've tried sampling almost every sport drink I can buy in Portland and I think e-Fuel is the best. It's not overly sweet, seems to do a good job replenishing what I've lost, and doesn't make my blood sugar spike." ...
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Portland, Oregon
Sport: Cycling


"I'm not one to typically use these type of supplements but the weather made me nervous about bonking. With e-Fuel, I never got that empty feeling. My energy was consistent throughout my workout. The taste was fine, not overpowering in any way. And I didn't experience any nausea or gi problems that often accompany these type of products." ...
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Erie, Pennsylvania
Sport: Running

Tammie Nyland

"For 3 1/2 years I was searching for a hydrating-electrolyte drink for Ironman. I've tried Gatorade and that drink works fine on the bike, but it kills my stomach on the run. I've tried GU's drink, but it's tends to clump in the bottle. I've tried other drinks, but nothing seemed to work for me because the sugar content was high. A friend referred me to e-Fuel, I placed my first order and I was sold." ...
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Citrus Heights, California
Sport: Triathlon

Kirk Young

"My buddies and I race in off road enduros which is a race through the forest covering around 90 to 100 miles of off road terrain. I used to cramp up and have no energy. Now with e-Fuel I'm feeling great, no cramps and don't get that feeling like I just got hit by a truck." ...
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Half Moon Bay, California
Sport: Dirt Bike

Ryan Robinson

"Great tasting and great performing stuff!! The Crank Sports customer service is also top notch. You have EARNED my business...I have been impressed." ...
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Lawrence, Kansas
Sport: Triathlon

Jessica W.

"I trained in the Florida heat for the Disney Marathon, Boston Marathon, and the Mount Desert Island (Maine) Marathon with a bottle of Mountain Rush strapped to my waist. e-Fuel got me through some tough, tough long runs, and got me to the corral--and to the chute--in great shape." ...
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, Massachusetts
Sport: Running

Mark Williams

"Best sports drink I've tried to date. e-Fuel is convenient, mixes instantly and provides the quick re-fueling I need on those long, hot, hilly rides. I will continue to purchase e-Fuel and can't wait to try e-Gel." ...
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San Jose, California
Sport: Cycling

Lawrence Kagawa

"While competing in the U.S. Paintball League World Championships, our team used e-Fuel. e-Fuel ensured our entire team was fully energized for each match throughout the 3 day event and none of our team members suffered energy highs & lows as we had from other 'energy' drinks and supplements." ...
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Reno, Nevada
Sport: Paintball

George Myers

"Started using e-Fuel to find a way to increase energy output for the fast and aerobically challenging sport of indoor soccer. To my amazement it worked. As a goalkeeper I kept my e-Fuel bottle in the goal and took sips throughout my matches. The result was an incredible and exponential increase in reaction time and leaping ability. At the end of games the opposition are always in awe of my ability to make difficult and incredible saves. I will continue to use e-Fuel because it tastes great, dissolves rapidly and provides an exponential increase in energy for the demanding physical activitiy of indoor soccer." ...
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Alameda, California
Sport: Soccer

Mary Goodrich

"When my daughter started playing competive golf last summer, she fought blood sugar crashes that negatively impacted her performance. Sports drinks didn't have much staying power and she hates eating while playing. I found e-Fuel late last summer and she uses it every round now. She's had marathon rounds that I don't know if she could have finished if she didn't have the e-Fuel. Thanks for a great product." ...
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Wichita Falls, Texas
Sport: Golf