Sports performance drinks are a bit of a mystery. There are so many options and so many claims that at times we forget that the common denominator is really just water and electrolytes. Some brands add more, some add less. At the end of the day, however, the key is hydration.
Accelerade was the first true “performance drink” I tried outside of Gatorade. I must admit that after the sweet fruit punch taste of Gatorade, Accelerade was more than a shock to my system. It’s chunky consistency and orange-juice like taste made it difficult to swallow and stomach. I figured that like protein bars, because it was good for you it had to taste bad. So I just kept drinking the stuff.
One key note about Accelerade is that it contains a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein formula. Translation: They add whey protein to the drink. Protein is tougher for your stomach to digest and for some people can cause an upset stomach – especially while being active. It isn’t altogether a bad idea, because you need protein during long endurance events and especially for recovery. But if you are going to use protein for recovery, I think you should save it for recovery.
Accelerade has a lot of statistics on how it extends endurance, speeds recovery, reduces muscle damage and enhances rehydration. You can check out all their claims at their website.
The Bottom Line:
I didn’t really notice any such difference during, after or on my next race. I think the claims are exaggerated at best and with the chunky consistency and bad orange flavor there are much better options for hydration. I won’t be spending my money on another container of Accelerade and will probably be throwing away what I have left. Just because it’s an endurance drink doesn’t mean it has to taste bad.
Also, if you leave this drink in your water bottle too long – it creates one of the most nasty, funky smells imaginable (once again, I speak from experience.)