After the blog post about sport drinks, and intrigued about the whole hydrogel concept in opposition to the more traditional drinks, I was offered from Maurten the chance to test their Drink Mix 320 & 160.
Briefly, the hydrogels based drinks have alginate in their composition. Alginate is a soluble polymer derived from seaweed used for cartilage regeneration and wound healing in the medical industry. Although liquid dissolved in water, when entering the stomach, which is an acid environment to facilitate food digestion, it turns into a gel. When the gel leaves the stomach and gets into the intestine, with normal pH, becomes liquid again and releases its “content”.
High levels of carbohydrates in normal drinks are associated with slow gastric emptying and gastrointestinal stress. Hydrogel drinks surpass these issues, as their carbohydrates only get released beyond the stomach, allowing the transport of high quantities (up to 160g/L of carbohydrates in the Maurten 320), with no side effects. To attain similar carbohydrates ingestion with normal sport drinks would be necessary the ingestion of high volumes (more than double) of usual sports drink, with level of carbohydrates going up to 70g/L.
The ingredients listed are maltodextrin and fructose (as carbohydrate’s sources), pectin, sodium alginate and sodium chloride. The nutritional values listed per 100g are:
- Energy 400kcal
- Fat 0g
- Carbohydrates 99g (of which sugar 41g)
- Protein 0g
- Salt 0.63g
The Drink Mix 320 and the Drink Mix 160 formulations are very similar, with the 320 having a slightly higher proportion of carbohydrates as sugar. They differ in the amount of carbohydrates per serving, as both are dissolved in 500mL of water, but the 320 is provided in 80g sachets, and the 160 in 40g ones.
Per serving (500mL):
- Drink Mix 160: 160kcal / 39g carbohydrates (13 of which sugars)
- Drink Mix 320: 320kcal / 79g carbohydrates (33 of which sugars)
Only available to buy online the Drink Mix 320 is priced (in Spain) at 3.20€ each one-dose sachet, while the Drink Mix 160 costs 2.15€. There also some package offers (marathon, half marathon, pro cycling) that may save money.
- Maurten Drink Mix 320 or 160 for breakfast, 2-3 hours before a marathon start.
- Maurten Drink Mix 160 during a long training session.
- Maurten Drink Mix 320 & 160 during a marathon race.
Results in our next entry.