Scientist, nutritionist, and trainer Allen Lim, best known for his work with Lance Armstrong and Team RadioShack, strongly believes athletes should eat real food when exercising. He has recently founded a company, called Skratch Labs, around his sports nutrition philosophy, profiled in his cookbook The Feed Zone, written together with Chef Biju Thomas. The initial product offering is a pair of hydration mixes, one for your workouts and one for everyday drinking.
Lim's hydration mix recipe was developed and tested while working with many professional cyclists during the Tour De France. In order to feel and perform better, he claims the athletes would use his drink mixes instead of those from the sponsors, therefore dubbing the concotion the Secret Drink Mix.
The Skratch Labs hydration mixes are made from all natural ingredients, supposedly using less sugar and adding more electrolytes than those currently available, with an optimum sodium profile. The hydration mixes use no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, with a simple and clean taste created by using real fruit.
It is interesting to compare the nutritional information of Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix (left) with something like GU Electrolyte Brew (right). Apart from the addition of magnesium, the biggest difference between the two is in the carbohydrate makeup. GU uses maltodextrin and fructose, leaving the sugar count at 8g out of the 26g of total carbohydrates.
Skratch Labs uses sucrose and glucose, both simple sugars, leaving the sugar count at 100% of the 20g of total carbohydrates per serving. I am not sure I want to be drinking 40g of sugar (more than my daily recommended intake) on a ride if I go through a 1 liter bottle filled with the Exercise Hydration Mix.
If you want to try for yourself, one pound of both the Exercise and Everyday Hydration Mixes retail for $19.50. The Exercise Hydration Mix comes in three different flavors, Lemon & Lime, Orange, Raspberry, with the Everday Hydration MIx in just Lemon & Lime.