TetonAT.com welcomes Nuun as a new sponsor and partner of the website. I’ve chosen Nuun over other hydration products because it is formulated to actually be absorbed into your body faster that water alone. Nuun (pronounced Noon) is one of the few electrolyte drinks out there that doesn’t contain any sugar, an enemy to endurance athletes, or artificial colors and sweeteners…it is all natural. Nuun also avoids including carbohydrates into the mix, which can slow down the absorption of water in your stomach. I’ve tried nearly every electro-carbo-soy drink combo out there and in the end, all I really want from my water is hydration, and Nuun definitely promotes that.
For those unaware, Nuun is one of a new bread of ‘portable hydration’ and comes in the form of a tablet, which you drop into your bottle. Let the tablet dissolve and viola…you have a nice flavored electrolyte cocktail. They are very easy to pack and come in tablet sizes to add to both 16 and 32 oz. increments of water. The lack of sugar also make them safe for you hydration bladders too! Pretty simple really.
Nuun comes in handy tubes and is easy to pack.
Each tube contains 12 tablets and is able to make 1.5 gallons of electrolyte drink.
Nuun’s founder, an ironman tri-athlete, created the product as an MBA project while attending Dartmouth, because he was wanted to separate his electrolytes from calories during races. His professors thought it was such a good product, they invested in his idea and got him connected with one of the leading companies in outdoor hydration. (Hint…begins with a C) Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with the big corporate company, so he went out on his own and started Nuun…which came to market a full three years prior to the bigger corporate version. A feel good story for sure!
U Natural Hydration
Gogi Berry/Green Tea
Unlike many electrolyte drinks out there, Nuun’s mellow flavors don’t require the athlete to dilute the mixture, inevitably diluting the amount of electrolytes at the same time. Nuun’s flavors cover the gamut from traditional Lemon/Lime to ‘new school’ flavors like Cola…sure to be a favorite among tri-athletes. In addition to their Active Hydration lineup, Nuun also has developed U: Natural Hydration, which has a little bit less electrolytes in it, but includes a healthy dose of vitamins and works great as an all-day, everyday drink.
I kinda like a little sugar in my water. I feel it’s easier to keep the bonk away if you are consuming a little carbohydrate while hydrating, and not having to stop and eat all the time.
But the plus side of just electrolyte is no sticky water in your hydration pack, or all over yourself when you inevitably spill it.
Also, it’s very easy to avoid hyponatremia simply by eating, which you will be doing anyway if you aren’t consuming calories in your sports drink.
We used to transport hyponatremic patients all the time in the Grand Canyon. The tourist would hike way down, drink only water, eat nothing. Then arrive on the rim nauseated, vomiting, sometimes seizing or nearly unconscious.
Anyway, use whatever works or makes you feel good.
Typically, endurance athletes don’t like sugar since it tends to bring you up…but is followed by a big crash. Also, suger tends to give most people cramps when they are going hard.
Thoughts on the artificial sweetener? I have used Nuun occasionally in trail runs, etc. but I am a little bummed about the fake sweetener (I try to avoid it as much as possible). Steve, what’s your take on this?
Are you referring to the Sorbitol?
Sorbitol is found naturally in nature and is in Nuun in a very low dose. It helps it work better as a tablet.
Well, Steve, being the exercise science dork that I am I have to point out that the whole sugar crash nonsense is not supported in the scientific literature. Hammer Nutrition makes some claims about simple sugar in their propaganda materials but it really is just that, propaganda. At endurance exercise intensities, our insulin response is blunted and blood sugar levels will stay elevated as long as we keep it coming, whether by carbohydrate containing fluid replacement or regular food and gels. We can only deal with about 250-300 kcals/hr. Carbohydrate solutions of about 7% impair gastric emptying very little and enhance intestinal absorption. Most sports drinks are formulated around this number. This is well-researched.
The funny thing is, if you look at the most burly of endurance athletes, the Tour de France cyclists, they eat pastries and little sandwiches most of the day. They also pound Cokes at feed zones. So, one has to wade through all the advertising BS and just eat and drink often. You don’t really need all this technical food that costs so much more than regular vittles if you don’t need the covenience they offer.
Sorbitol is a sugar alcohol. It offers about 2.7 kcal. per gram compared to 4 kcal/gm with carbos. It can be used as a laxative in large doses. Watch how much Nuun you drink!
Thanks for the info Brian! As expected…you know your stuff. Though one could argue about Tour de France athletes being the burliest…since they do have a mechanical advantage with the gears and all…as well as slack along in the peloton for most of the race. (Easy now!)
Unfortunately, sandwiches and pastries don’t really fit conveniently in my trail running shorts and it’s not like I want to carry a whole Coke around with me when all I may want is a sip or two here and there on a two hour run. Maybe if there were always aid stations during my trail runs I would chime a different tune.
I think the idea is that too much sugar can be hard to stomach for some and may make them nauseous and crampy. I would bet different types of athletes may or may not experience this. Maybe because some sports are less jarring than others…which may shake the stomach up a bit. The other point is to have the ability to hydrate when you want to…and consume carbs when you want to….and as you point out, we can only handle so many as once.
I think it comes down to personal preference. In the winter on long tours I usually bring a light carbohydrate drink in my water bottle, and consume food while skinning. I never stop, don’t like to. Works for me. I never get nauseated or bonk.
When we ran the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim (48 miles), we consumed both carbohydrate drink (light) and used electrolyte pills, in addition to regular food. No cramps, no nausea, just pain.
Some folks have a hard time eating while exercising, I don’t. Maybe that’s why I’m fat;)
The good thing about having a little extra around the mid-section (cuz I know I do) is that you can tap into the reserves and carry less food.
Then all you need is NUUN!! 😆
Come to think of it, Steve, you’re right. Those pro cyclists are a bunch of over-paid, pampered pussies! What was I thinking?!
Synthetically enhanced at the very least.