Sports Drinks – Spit or Swallow

Sometimes it’s a wonder how these studies come to occur and nevertheless, the results can often be helpful. Recent studies have shown that, while exercising, you do not need to swallow your fluids such as water or sports drinks, in order to remain energized.

There has been much discussion around how the high levels of carbohydrates that are inherent in many of the name brand sports drinks can work to maximize performance particularly for runners. When your body identifies those and absorbs them into your digestive system, they are delegated throughout your tissues via your veins and arteries and thus your energy level gets a sudden boost and you can maintain your stamina and carry on. Seems logical enough, right?


However, there is something more to logic behind this concept based on recent studies that demonstrates that the same carbohydrates can be captured into your system without taking the long route via the digestive tract. Yes, there is a shortcut to boosting your energy with the use of these types of fluids. Who knew?

These same papers pose the premise that the carbs can be inducted into your system by means of complex transmitters situated within your mouth that will just as effectively work them through the necessary process to amp your energy and enable you to maintain your pace when running or exercising. Thus simply taking in a mouthful of the drink and letting it remain there for moments can activate specific receptors in the tongue that communicate directly with centres of the brain. The dialogue that occurs involves the message that the body is not maximizing the required physical effort in its performance and the introduction of the carbohydrates on the tongue’s receptors allows for greater power thus enabling the runner to increase their functionality. See. Not so logical, is it?

This is excellent news for those that tend to find the intake of the fluids inhibiting when they are attempting to sustain over long distances. The weight in the digestive system can cause cramping or bloating and actually lessen speed and endurance. When a runner is permitted to simply swish the carb loaded drinks around in their mouth and then spit them out, they are avoiding the discomfort of the digestive process hijacking their run.

That is only one way of looking at the big picture, however. That is a speculative hypothesis and there are elements that might not support it. Beyond the need for carbohydrates that will enhance energy levels, the athlete will also need to fuel other organs while they are expending their resources. Glycogen becomes depleted through high performance activity and can throw a monkey wrench into the race without replacement. Sports drinks will actually need to be consumed in order for this to occur.

Additionally, without swallowing the fluids, hydration becomes an issue as well. As the athlete continues to run, the body’s fluid resources are also being reduced through perspiration, breathing and being burnt through processes and the only way in which they are able to replenish these fluids is through the actual intake of more liquids. To counterbalance the digestive intrusion of gulping fluids, however, it is best recommended that runners try to take in many small sips of their drink of choice so that the fluids remain balanced through their run and they don’t cramp up.