Sports Drinks:
sugars vs. complex carbohydrates

complex carbs deliver more energy

Virtually all sports drinks are carbohydrate based, but not all carbs are equal. Complex carbs allow you to perform better by delivering more energy to your working muscles. This is important to understand because the most popular drinks are loaded with sugar with little to no complex carbs (see chart below).

Here’s how it works:

The carbs/energy in a sports drink are transported into your cellular system through osmosis. If you recall learning about osmosis in science class, it’s the way a fluid crosses a membrane. In order for the fluid to cross, it has to be an equal or lower concentration than the fluid on the other side of the membrane.

What’s interesting is that the concentration of a fluid (also called the osmolality) is largely dependent on the NUMBER of particles in the fluid, and less dependent on the size of the particles. Complex carbs by definition have a larger molecular structure than simple sugars, basically they have more glucose molecules stuck together. But remember, it’s the number of particles, not the size that matters most. What that means is that at the point of absorption (isotonic), a fluid with complex carbs can transport nearly twice as much energy into the cellular system compared to one with simple sugars.

This isn’t something that we’ve invented here a Crank Sports, it’s proven science. Many sports drinks (including e-Fuel) use at least some maltodextrin for this reason. Maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate with an extremely large molecular structure. Where e-Fuel sets itself apart from other products is that we use much more complex carb and less sugar. This allows you to get more energy when you use e-Fuel compared to our competitors. Why do other companies use so much sugar? Simple, because it’s sweet and inexpensive, and sweet things sell. So if you want to sell a lot of something you make it sweet. But if you want to make the best PERFORMING product you use complex carbs. Here’s a video explanation:

sugar percentage in leading sports drinks

if you found this useful please share!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter

related resources

gels, drinks, chews ... what's best for your sport?

Use our Sherpa Nutrition Guide tool to get your nutrition dialed in. Just plug in your sport, problems you’re having (cramping, stomach issues, running out of energy) and Sherpa will give you a detailed person guide. Free, quick and easy!

sports drink comparisons

See how your drink stacks up

fructose, you need some!

Fructose often gets a bad rap, but using it properly will actually give you an advantage, learn how.

caffeine

Our recommendations on when to use caffeine and when to avoid it.

why protein should NOT be in your sports drink

Numerous independent studies have consistently shown NO benefit of protein in your sports drink, and it can actually be detrimental to performance.

what about magnesium, calcium and other electrolytes?

e-Fuel. and e-Gel have the electrolytes sodium and potassium, but not magnesium, calcium and others. Read why

when to use sports drinks and energy gels and can they be used together

If you decide to use e-Gel and e-Fuel together (or any energy gel and sports drink), follow these guidelines for best results.

the marathon wall and how to avoid it

The bad news is that “the wall” is a very real thing. The good news is that you can avoid “hitting the wall” if you follow this advice.

nutrition facts vs
supplement facts

Why do some product labels have Nutrition Facts while others have Supplement Facts and what’s the difference?