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Over the summer, I had a chance to attend Interbike where I came across a sports drink that I actually liked. I generally don’t like the taste of sports drinks despite the huge variety available, so when I came across Skratch Labs I wasn’t expecting much. Over the course of the Outdoor Demo where I had to stay hydrated (due to the Las Vegas sun), I found myself wanting more and more of the drink. Not to take away anything from the boys from Florida who developed the “G Series” but this new company is doing something that I never thought would be possible for a sports drink: focusing on keeping it all-natural.
Launched officially in February of 2012 (although it really started in 2008) while working to prepare the Garmin team for the Tour de France, Allen Lim set out to solve the stomach problems his riders were experiencing from their existing sports drinks. After some trial and error, he developed a drink mix that worked for his riders. With no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives of any kind, the drink was designed to replace everything lost in sweat with just a little bit of real fruit for flavor. And so, Allen’s “Secret Drink Mix” caught on quickly with the peloton and he was soon mixing batch after batch of it from Skratch in his own kitchen.
When I think of sports drinks, I immediately think of the argument of why a sports drink is better than water during physical activity.
Argument: Water doesn’t have electrolytes and an athlete needs it to better perform.
Quite a good argument but whenever I read the ingredients of any sports beverage, I am left wondering why it needed more than water, sugar, salt and fruit. To better make sense of why I just said that, here’s the definition of what an electrolyte (the sole argument that seems to trump water in athletic use every time) is:
Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity to conduct electricity. Sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphate are examples of electrolytes, informally known as lytes. (Medicinenet.com)
Based on that definition, electrolytes are found in every food I can think of, but I never see it on a label of a sports drink.
According to their Public Relations person, this is how it’s different:
“Skratch Labs Hydration Drink Mix is an all natural sports drink designed to replace everything lost in sweat without the common complaints of flavor fatigue and GI issues. Made with less sugar, more electrolytes and flavored only with real fruit powder, the bottom line for Allen when he created it, and for us now, is that it just works better.”
It comes with fruit, NOT in flavors
There are designated “flavors” that the drink comes in but to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s accurate. I suppose somebody could argue with me on this, but if a company (or a restaurant) actually included real fruit in their drinks and that’s where the taste comes from, I would think that the drink is a fruit drink. I know it’s kind of a play on words, but I don’t think any of the other major sports drinks can claim that their “Fruit Punch” actually has fruits in it.
My own take on it…
About a month ago, I was able to get a supply of Skratch Labs drink mixes to review. Now obviously, I’m not a scientist or a researcher that can quantify or qualify a conclusion with supporting research between differing drinks because after all, I write for a bicycling commuting blog =) and not a medical science journal BUT I can assure you that my experience with the Skratch Labs drink mixes have been great! As far as how it tastes? It tastes sweet but not too sweet. It’s refreshing and cleansing like an organic juice blended at a local Jamba Juice. As far as performance? Like I said, this is by no means done scientifically but considering I have never been a fan of drinking sports drinks during rides because I often end up feeling more dehydrated but with this, I did not feel that way. I like that this drink packs more sodium in it because I don’t know how many times I’ve noticed a good amount of salt stains on my biking jersey, helmet, sunglasses, etc. I also liked that it was lower in sugar so my teeth don’t take the beating they already do with Gu and whatever else I consume just to keep riding.
My biggest attraction to this drink, other than that it has real fruits to replace the sugar content, is that it’s gluten-free. I’m not a huge health nut; my experience with gluten-free foods have been excellent. I won’t get into it, but I noticed that I sleep better and have more energy on a gluten-free diet. One thing though: Although officially they’re not gluten free, the certification that is costly for a small company like them will come sometime in 2013.
I strongly suggest this product. Until I find another sports drink that’s better, I will personally be using Skratch Labs drink mixes.
I encourage anyone to take a look at their website to browse through their products.
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