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Athletes and sugar: nothing to smile about

Sugar-laden sports drinks blamed for Olympians' poor oral health

BY JAKE GRILLEY

Hammer peak performance tip: A leading dentist recently cited sugary sports drinks as the cause for Olympians' high rate of tooth decay and gum disease. With HEED - Hammer Nutrition's highly effective and healthy sports drink - you can enjoy sustained energy, hour after hour, without worrying about your health. Read more below.

Olympic athletes are among the fittest, strongest, and presumably healthiest people on the planet. In one area of wellness, however, most Olympians fall far short: More than 3 in 4 have poor oral health.

A University College London survey of athletes during the 2012 Olympics in London found that 55% of athletes had evidence of cavities, 45% had tooth erosion, and 76% had gum disease.

The issue took center stage earlier this year at the Irish Dental Association annual conference, where new president Dr. Anne Twomey derided sugar-laden sports drinks and their negative influence on athlete's oral health.

"Tooth decay is always caused by sugar. Often my patients are unaware they are consuming sugar as [these products] are labeled with other words. There are in fact 57 different words used instead of sugar such as sucrose, lactose, glucose, fructose, etc.," said Twomey.

Citing the findings from the study, Twomey was quick to point out that by consistently fueling with sugar-spiked sports drinks these otherwise high-caliber physical specimens were essentially bathing their teeth in sugar and citric acid and causing serious harm to both their oral and overall health.

"Clearly there are many benefits to adopting healthy lifestyles. However consumers have to be clear about what they and their children are consuming. Sports drinks, protein shakes, energy drinks, energy bars, and fruit juices can contain from 5 to a dozen teaspoons of sugar."

To those Olympians and everyday athletes looking for guidance on how to fuel better, Twomey offered up this suggestion: "Our advice is clear. Avoid [sugary] sports drinks on a regular basis. If taking sports drinks, protein shakes, or bars, study the ingredients carefully and opt for those not containing sugar."

HEED: better for health, better for performance

Unlike nearly every other sports drink on the market, Hammer Nutrition's HEED contains no added simple sugars, and only 2 grams of naturally occurring simple sugar per serving. That's less than 1/2 teaspoon. The complex carbohydrate maltodextrin used in HEED and other Hammer Nutrition fuels provides a more consistent and longer lasting energy supply than do simple sugar-based fuels, without putting you at risk for the tooth decay, stomach distress, and multitude of other health conditions commonly caused by simple sugars. What's more, HEED contains none of the citric acid that other sports drinks have, so it won't burn your throat or stomach, or erode tooth enamel.

Award-winning HEED contains maltodextrin for steady energy, a full-spectrum of electrolytes to help prevent cramping, the healthy natural sweeteners stevia and xylitol, and L-carnosine and chromium polynicotinate to help to buffer lactic acid and support stable blood glucose levels. Among sports drinks, HEED is in a class of its own.

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