Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Are Recovery Drinks the Nutritional Scam of the Century?

They get my vote!

It's been 4 decades since the first glass of Gatorade was quaffed. Since then? A $4 billion dollar industry's been born which in turn has perhaps provided more sugar and more misinformation than any other.

So does anyone actually "need" a "recovery" drink?

I know I don't, and I exercise quite a bit, but to be fair, I'm not an elite performance athlete, and in general I don't work out in beast mode.

Me? My workouts range from 30 minutes to an hour and I drink water if I'm thirsty or sweat a ton, and usually try to have a bit of protein when done.

Are you an elite performance athlete or work out in beast mode for hours at a time?  Really, unless you're competing (and even then, only if you're competing at high levels), or just absolutely killing yourself, recovery drinks just aren't necessary.

If I had to venture a guess, I'd bet that over 95% of all so-called recovery drinks were consumed by people who truly don't need them.  I'd also wager that a large percentage of those same folks only decided to exercise in order to lose or maintain weight, in which case that "recovery" drink's more likely to aid in the "recovery" of a few pounds, than of muscle or performance.

But the thing that really gets my knickers in a knot is that they're being aggressively marketed to children, virtually none of who are elite performance athletes, and all of who burn substantially fewer calories than full grown adults.

Take a gander at the photo down below. It's from a lengthy article that ran in the Montreal Gazette extolling the virtues of chocolate milk.  Do you think they're targeting you and me, or our children?  That's Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson, Chris Bosh, Apolo Ohno and Elana Meyers along with a giant cartoon bunny and they're promoting the Refuel Chocolate Milk campaign, where Refuel style bottles tend to be 500mL in size and on average contain 20% more calories and double the sugar of a Snickers bar.  How well do you think a campaign to get kids to down a Snickers bar post every workout would fare?  Probably not too well, which is a shame, because it might be a healthier choice than that god awful chocolate milk.

That photo at the top? Those kids lined up like an assembly line, probably at a school, as part of a Refuel with Chocolate Milk promotion, where their school's teaching them the "benefits" of liquid, double-sugar'ed, Snickers'.

(Both photos by Jemal Countess)

So basically what we have with the Refuel campaign are high octane liquid chocolate bars being peddled to children on the basis of something that virtually nobody needs - frickin' recovery drinks.

What a scam.