New Scottish sports drink Active Root
Active Root is a new natural ginger sports drink created by a Scottish company. I have been sent a few sample packs to try.
Back ground to testing Active Root
If you follow me on social media you’ll know I suffer with tummy problems and nausea when running, especially if it’s a longer or tougher run. I can’t tolerate any food within 1.5 hours of training and energy gels and snacks during a longer session cause my stomach to cramp and churn.
I rely on water and a few jelly babies but sometimes I need something to give me a bit more staying power. I’ve tried all kinds of sports drinks but I think they have too many artificial ingredients and they usually make me feel worse in the long-term.
Added to this I am currently following the FODMAP diet to try to work out why I suffer with IBS and the associated stomach upsets and nausea.
All this is background to why I was happy to test the new Active Root sports drink. It’s a natural ginger drink. The ingredients are: Cane sugar, citric acid, salt, ginger root extract and Vitamin C.
Both founders Will and George have suffered nausea problems when running. Will recalled his mother giving him ginger beer for upset stomachs as a child and the idea for a sports drink snowballed from there.
It’s claimed by Active Root that:
- Natural ginger has been scientifically proven to relieve nausea, bloating and stomach discomfort.
- Gingerol compounds interact with your gastro-intestinal (GI) system to prepare you for training and racing.
- Ginger alleviates GI discomfort before, during and after exercise.
In addition, Active Root uses natural cane sugar as a source of simple carbohydrate for fuelling instead of the artificial sweeteners and sugar compounds used in other sports drinks.
Active Root quote studies that found that high intake of simple carbohydrates exacerbate gastrointestinal discomfort. That’s why Active Root combines ginger with carbohydrates to counteract these problems.
Huw, who is also part of the Active Root team, says: “We wanted to have something healthier and more natural than the glucose-fructose syrup concoctions for the carbohydrate ingredient. We use natural unbleached cane sugar because we believe it is easier on the stomach as well.”
Sodium and Chloride (or salt as it’s most commonly known) are the electrolytes in Active Root, which are important to replace as this what you lose in sweat.
Huw told me: “When added to Active Root these electrolytes also enhance hydration better than water because they allow more fluid to be absorbed in your gut by producing an osmotic gradient.”
On test: Active Root sports drink
It’s recommended that sporty people drink 250ml of Active Root for less than 30 minutes of exercise and 500ml for more than 30 minutes.
I tried mixing one of the sample sachets with water and discovered it’s quite difficult to get the cane sugar to dissolve. I asked Active Root about that and they told me to shake it more.
Huw said: “We are going to put a big ‘shake’ sticker on the next batch! We don’t want to add any chemicals to aid in the dissolubility because we want it to be as natural as possible. So just shake it more.”
I did this in a sports drink bottle instead of stirring in a glass and it did the trick, almost. Leaving the diluted solution for an hour or so helps to give the sugar time to dissolve in cold water.
As a form of hydration prior to exercise I found the Active Root drink nicely thirst quenching. It’s not sugary and has a brilliant ginger taste. If you don’t like ginger you’ll hate the drink but I am a big fan so I really like it.
I found I preferred the sample sachet to be more diluted than recommended to give a slightly subtler ginger tasting drink.
The test for me came when running, though. This is when my stomach can be an upset and irritated monster. I found the diluted Active Root easy to drink and it didn’t adversely affect my stomach at all. Not during exercise nor after.
I have no idea if it calmed my stomach as it claims to do but I certainly did not get the usual yucky, sick feeling that I’ve suffered before when consuming other high energy sports drinks.
I thought the drink would be very high in calories because it includes raw sugar rather than artificial sweeteners but 500ml amounts to 131 calories. That seems fine to me, especially as I easily burn that off when running.
The sugar as a carbohydrate will not fuel athletes over very long-distances because it’s a simple carb but for sessions of up to about two hours I found it worked well, with the addition of a couple of jelly babies.
It should be noted that the FODMAP elimination diet has been working very well for me so part of the lack of nausea could be because I an eating a diet that is far less likely to irritate my sensitive stomach and cause IBS.
However, I am pretty sure the Active Root sports drink is a good alternative to other sports drinks, which I am not allowed on the FODMAP diet, and I can confirm I have suffered no stomach upset, bloating or nausea having consumed about 4,000ml of the stuff over the past couple of weeks.
In fact, I am hoping they will send me some more to try!
Find out more at activeroot.co.uk.
You can request a free sample is sent to you here.
Meet the team at the Scottish Cycling, Running & Outdoor Pursuit Show on the weekend of March 10 to 12.