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Below is a survey SoLéte recently posted, with permission, on the forums of two cycling-specific websites: www.teambulldog.com and www.mtbnj.com, if you care to take a look. After a gestation period of several weeks, we returned to each site in order to see if any responses had started to come in. To our surprise, there were over 100 views between both forums, and although only a total of 16 people actually responded, it was enough information to neutrally pool data and thus generate a general feeling of conclusion, something from which we can then pull from in future endeavors. Results and graphical conclusions are listed after the survey below. If you care to further balance the accuracy of our results by participating, please drop us an email (you can find our email address by clicking to view our complete profile) with a sequentially numbered list of your most honest answers and opinions. SoLéte thanks you in advance.
The following is a survey aimed at analyzing athletes’ concerns with what goes into their bodies, specifically in terms of artificial ingredient and additive consumption via nutritional sports supplements (ie: Endurox, Cytomax, Accelerade, Clif, and so on).
On a whole, as active individuals, we consume a variety of performance supplements on an almost daily basis. If the average serving size for a post-recovery drink is two scoops, roughly 70 grams, a year’s consumption is just over 50 pounds; which still does not include pre-ride, endurance, and gel supplements. For the most part, sports supplements are a source of nutrition and thus health and positive results, but what about the brands that do not offer entirely natural ingredients?
In the food industry in general, companies have a tendency to include artificial additives—such as colorings, flavorings, and sweeteners—in their ingredients. How often do you read ingredient labels before consumption or even before purchase of a product? In most sports supplement brands the artificial additive story is the same. The question is, if we are care enough to maintain active and healthy outdoor lifestyles, should we not also care about what goes into the same bodies we are trying to make healthier?
In order to obtain an accurate reading on your views, concerns, and ideas concerning artificial additives in sports supplements, please respond honestly to the following survey. Thank you in advance for your time.
1. What sports supplements do you use—including gels and powder mixes—for racing and/or everyday riding?
2. Do you research in order to find supplements with all natural ingredients?
3. Is the consumption of artificial flavorings, colorings, or sweeteners something of concern when choosing sports nutrition and supplements?
4. Would you opt for all natural ingredients if the benefits in performance remained equal to those found when using supplements with artificial additives?
5. How much of your decision in choosing sports supplements is dependent upon price?
6. It takes time to research which products do and do not contain artificial additives; and so, if an online store were to provide a varied selection of exclusively all natural sports supplements and products, would you be interested?
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A recent study published in the Feb. 2006 issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, has unanimously shown chocolate milk to be a consistently effective and valuable aid in recovery following hard exercise. Scientists at Indiana University compared and contrasted the effects of chocolate milk against a variety of expensive, commercially produced recovery drinks currently on the market. To their astonishment, “chocolate milk more than held its own”(bikeradar.com).
How is it that such a simple, comparatively inexpensive, childhood drink can compete over the complexity of an engineered recovery mix? Well, the devil is in the details, and most times it is from simplicity that we come to benefit the most. “Chocolate milk contains an optimal carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is critical for helping refuel tired muscles after strenuous exercise and can enable athletes to exercise at a high intensity during subsequent workouts”(bikeradar.com). Basically, it comes down to the carbohydrate, the protein, and how quickly you get these vitals into your system proceeding a high intensity workout. The important thing “is to get some carbohydrate in you as quickly as possible… the sweeter the better”(cyclingnews.com).
The following lists some benefits of milk (Skim Milk is ideal) as they pertain to post-exercise recovery and overall health(thefinalsprint.com).
-Milk helps to strengthen bones and promote a healthy weight
-Protein in milk contains all of the essential amino acids necessary for building and maintaining a lean body mass
-Milk provides you with essential electrolytes
-Similar to bananas, milk has 10 times more potassium than most sports drinks
-A single glass of milk gives you 20% of the phosphorous needed each day, which helps strengthen bones and generate energy in cells
-Milk contains vitamins such as B12, Niacin, and Riboflavin, which are crucial in converting food to energy to fuel muscles
Personal Note: After races and strenuous exercise I like to combine some Ovaltine with Skim Milk, which is still chocolate milk, only Ovaltine provides extra boosts in vitamins E, A, and C; along with Calcium and Iron, and other nutritional benefits. I also make certain to consume the mixture within one half-hour of exercise, a window of time during which the body can absorb the most, thus retaining the greatest possible benefits. “It is absolutely crucial that you consume your post-workout meal immediately after exercise… the muscles are depleted and require an abundance of protein and carbohydrate… during this time, the muscles are biochemically ‘primed’ for nutrient uptake. The phenomenon is commonly known as the ‘window of opportunity'”(Dr. John M. Berardi, Ph.D.).
You know the benefits, now do the math…
Ovaltine: 18oz. canister (24 servings) – $5.29
Shoprite Skim Milk: 1gallon – $3.49
Shoprite Chocolate Skim Milk: 1gallon – $4.29
Endurox Rx4 Recovery Drink: (28 servings) – $54.99
Clif Shot Recovery Drink: (12 servings) – $24.95
Cytomax Recoverty Drink: 2lb. 8oz. (15 servings) – $40.95
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Here at SoLéte, we are determined to provide you, the natural athlete, with the most up-to-date information in cycling nutrition, training, supplements, and overall health. Check back for weekly updates from resident experts of the SoLéte Team. Until then, enjoy your ride!