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Kit review: Active Root natural ginger sports drink

Written by Fiona

July 05 2017

Active Root is an innovative sports drink made with natural ginger. The drink, which aims to alleviate nausea and give energy to active people, is the brainchild of a Scottish company.

Why ginger?

Both founders of Active Root, Will Townsend and George Ashley, have suffered nausea problems when running.

It was when Will suddenly recalled his mother giving him ginger beer for upset stomachs as a child that the idea for a sports drink came about.

The ingredients of Active Root are: Cane sugar, citric acid, salt, ginger root extract and Vitamin C.

Root ginger. Pic credit: Jimlightfoot26 on Flickr

Active Root claims:

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.

The natural cane sugar in Active Root is a source of simple carbohydrate for fuelling (instead of artificial sweeteners and sugar compounds used in other sports drinks.)​

Active Root state: “Studies show that a 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.”

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 said: “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.” ​

Background to testing Active Root

If you follow me on social media you’ll know I suffer with stomach 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.

I can feel sick for up to two days after a long and tough run.

I rely on water and a few jelly babies but sometimes I need something to give me a bit more energy.

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.

All this is background to why I was happy to test the new Active Root sports drink. It’s a natural ginger drink.

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: “Give it more of a shake and for longer.”

Huw said: “We didn’t want to add any chemicals to aid the dissolubility because we want it to be as natural as possible. So we tell people to 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. I found the diluted Active Root easy to drink and it didn’t adversely affect my stomach at all. It was great during exercise and afterwards.

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.

I can confirm I suffered no stomach upset, bloating or nausea while consuming about 4,000ml of Active Root over a period of about two weeks.

Where to buy Active Root

The Edinburgh company has signed a deal with outdoor retailer Tiso to sell Active Root in stores across Scotland. It costs £6 for six sachets. See Tiso Active Root.

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