Energy Drinks: Enough Sugar to Fill a Ski Boot

Energy drinks.

Energy drinks.

Winter in the Bow Valley is a time when the term “butterlicious powder” earns approving looks and complaints about having to delayer to go to the bathroom receive sympathetic nods. Residents take advantage of the cold months with marathon cross-country ski trips, epic backcountry board sessions and formidable alpine ascents.

All that hardcore winter-loving can really crush a person’s body. It’s hard to pack enough food to replace the massive amounts of calories your body is burning. Let’s face it, that smashed granola bar you pick out of the bottom of your pack around noon just won’t cut it. And as good as $14 fries look, you did just spend $100 making friends ‘til 2 a.m. at The Drake last night.

So when the afternoon rolls around and your ‘lids are drooping on the chairlift, it’s no surprise you start looking for an energy drink pick-me-up. And this is where I step in and tell you to hand over the Red Bull.

“But, bro! If I’m gonna shred gnar all day when there’s this much fresh pow-pow, I’m gonna need a boost or I’ll be full-on whacked!”

Relax, stereotypical snowboard guy. I’ve got you covered. But first, let me tell you why chugging energy drinks is a mistake.

Most energy drinks contain about the same amount of caffeine as a medium cup of coffee (160mg), which isn’t a terrible amount for an adult. But combine it with enough sugar to fill a ski boot and things really start going downhill. There are around 50 grams in most of the 16oz drinks. That’s about 15 sugar cubes! Then there’s the additives: artificial colours, sweeteners, preservatives, and more. For your body, chugging these is about as fun as getting stuck in a tree well.

So what are some alternatives?

Well nutritious food is always the best option. A great breakfast like this one is a good start. Follow that up with a variety of quick energy-boosting snacks like honey and fruit, plus some sustained energy boosters like trail mix and whole grains and you should be fine.

But let’s just say the van was leaving this morning and you weren’t even out of bed. There was no time to grab food before you left. Here are a couple of options to fight the mid-afternoon crash.

For a caffeinated burst:

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer is a powder-base energy booster that uses a mix of natural ingredients, such as green tea, yerba mate and coconut oil, to provide immediate and sustained energy.

For non-caffeinated energy:

Activfuel+ by Genuine Health comes in powder form with or without caffeine. It tastes great and even has some protein in it.

Don’t be an energy dink! Stay away from energy drinks! (I’ve been waiting all article to bust that out.)

John Reid

John Reid

John Reid is a University of Calgary Faculty of Kinesiology graduate and Precision Nutrition Certified Sports Nutritionist. When he’s not rowing for the Calgary Row Club you’ll find him enjoying every possible second in the mountains hiking, trail running and road cycling.

Outside of sports, John is involved with the Branch Out Neurological Foundation, a local non-profit charitable organization dedicated to fundraising for new and alternative forms of treatment for neurological disorders.

Comments

  1. Your link to breakfast is broken (it has two spaces in it). Also, put the link on “great breakfast” and you’ll have some keywords in their ;-)