Carbohydrate Lower Limits for Electrolyte Drinks Used for Sports

The following passage can be found on page 216-217  of the following book Sports Drinks: Basic Science and Practical Aspects

Striking the optimum balance between sports drink efficacy and palatability is a considerable challenge for sports drink manufacturers. From a food science p-erspective, sports drinks are relatively simple beverage systems and that fact makes it difficult to manipulate the types and amounts of solutes without having an immediate and noticeable effect on palatability. When palatability is not a major concern, rehydration solutions can be formulated with efficacy foremost in mind. Such is the case with clinical rehydration solutions for which palatability is not a critical consideration. However, the rehydration that is required following physical activity and that required in clinical settings do share some common ground in that rapid fluid replacement is required to restore physiological homeostasis. Clinical dehydration is often complicated by severe metabolic and electrolyte disturbances for which different solution formulations and different modes of administration (oral vs. intravenous) are required. For example, the oral rehydration solutions formulated to treat bouts of childhood diarrhea contain small amounts of carbohydrate (e.g., 2% to 3% wt/vol) and comparatively large amounts of sodium and potassium (e.g., 45 mmol/l and 20 mmol/l, respectively). The oral rehydration solution that is distributed by the World Health Organization to combat severe diarrhea contains 90 mmol/l sodium. The higher electrolyte concentrations and the lower carbohydrate levels of these solutions are consistent with the need to stimulate rapid fluid absorption and to replace the large amounts of electrolytes that can be lost with diarrhea. Due to the low carbohydrate content, high electrolyte content, and poor palatability, such solutions would not be appropriate for the extent of dehydration that is common to physical activity and sport.