If you follow Crossfit.com at all or are subscribed to their daily emails, you know that Crossfit does not shy away from making a stand. They are convicted in their beliefs and ideas. Agree or disagree with them, I respect anyone or an entity that is steadfast in their core values and beliefs.
One of CrossFit’s recent undertaking is against big beverage companies. In particular Coca-Cola and Gatorade. I completely admit, I have not followed these with any amount of detail because quite frankly, it does not matter to me that much. Essentially what Crossfit and these companies are going back and forth about is clarity in advertising for their products and lack of integrity in their “science-proven” research. Both Crossfit and the companies throw out a lot of big words and a lot of supposedly science backed research. Crossfit has seemed to do a very good job at throwing some of this science back in the companies faces as disproven.
Like I said, there’s a lot of really big words and ideas that go over my head. I’ve always been a big believer in “if it makes sense...”. On the list of ingredients in Coca-Cola, the second thing listed is sucrose (or high fructose corn syrup depending on country). I think most of know that ingredients are listed in order of amount; the first thing listed is the largest percentage of the make up, the last thing listed is the least. The first thing listed is carbonated water. This means “sucrose”, or sugar, is second to only water. The fourth thing listed is phosphoric acid. When we go over and look at diet, there’s a couple other chemicals added on to the list as well. We don’t really need a whole lot of explanation on how large amounts of sugar are not the best thing for us. Especially highly refined forms of it like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. When we go down the lists and start looking at chemicals, I’m fairly certain common sense comes in to play and they are not the best thing for us to ingest. “Pop” is one of those things, that for most of us, is regarded as a “treat” and we associate it as such.
Gatorade has also come under fire from Crossfit. Gatorade has obviously been marketed extensively as a “sports drink” and a healthy thing to consume. Once again Crossfit goes hard into the “why” on how it is not good for us. High levels of sugar is again a main culprit. Crossfit also sites “hyponatremia” quite a bit here. Hyponatremia very simply means “too low levels of sodium in the blood”. This is a potentially fatal problem. Gatorade has produced all kinds of studies stating how it can prevent sodium levels in our blood from dropping dangerously low during prolonged periods of exercise. The problem with these studies is they have all been funded by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute. To a simple kind of guy like myself, this kind of sounds like a conflict of interest. While hyponatremia is definitely something we do not want to happen, CrossFit’s research suggests it’s much less of a concern than Gatorade portrays it to be and it’s not a “Gatorade solution” if and or when it does occur.
So where does that leave us? I’m not saying do not drink these things. I enjoy a nice cold cola as much as anyone. However, I don’t think the two litre double gulp of cola is a great idea. If cola and sports drinks are part of your “daily routine”, then its time to make some changes! It’s no surprise and should not be new news that consumption daily is not a healthy thing for you. Solutions. Carbonated beverages are super refreshing to me. I’m a big fan. The healthy option here is club soda. They take some water, push some carbonation into it and done. I’ll sometimes throw a tiny squirt of Mio or even a scoop of BCAAs into it for flavour. Another option is a soda stream. Turn your tap water into club soda at home. La Croix, Perrier, “sparkling water”, etc. There are tons of healthy options out there now as people become more conscious of the health aspects of soft drinks in their lives.
If you are interested in learning more on the “Crossfit vs Big Soda” battle, give it a google and check out the Crossfit journal on their website. There are all kinds of reports, studies and big words to fill your brain with. Ultimately, some common sense on making drink selection is going to go a long ways. In my opinion, let the corporations battle it out. For you and I in our daily lives, be smart. Stay away from pop and refined sugar-loaded drinks as habit. Instead check out one of the many alternatives available to us. As with anything, enjoy in moderation.