The TOP 6 functional ingredients for sports drinks in 2016

January may seem like the quietest month of the year. The holidays are over, and we’re all getting back to our daily routines. But the opposite is true for beverage developers. For them, now is the best time to start working on new product development for the upcoming summer season.

TOP 6 functional ingredients for sport drinks in 2016Many people include regular visits to a gym in their New Year’s resolutions. As we focus more on living a healthy lifestyle, the market for sports beverages is expanding accordingly. More and more sports beverages are seeking product placement on the shelves. Yet the most important aspect of these drinks is that they should be effective. Although properties of functional products are difficult to discern, it’s much easier to note changes when you combine physical activity with functional ingredients. So here are the most popular ingredients for one of the most rapidly expanding markets.

BCAA. Branched-chain amino acids work as a great recovery ingredient after your workout. BCAA provides your muscles with more strength and is extremely helpful for maintaining muscle mass while following a low-calorie diet. BCAA also increases synthesis of the cellular machinery responsible for carrying out the processes of protein synthesis.

Essential amino acids. Protein is built from amino acids; 9 are essential amino acids and 11 are non-essential. Histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, valine, and threonine are the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce. They must be consumed as food or supplements. Research has shown that amino acids attempt to minimize catabolism and maximize anabolism (including recovery, improvement, and muscle growth). Therefore, essential amino acids consumed before, during, or after a workout promote huge increases in protein balance.

TOP 6 functional ingredients for sport drinks in 2016Green tea with EGCG. In recent years, scientists have investigated the potential benefits of green tea and its most abundant catechin, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This substance helps to support a healthy weight loss and cholesterol level. It may even protect the body from cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

L-carnitine. L-carnitine broke onto the supplement scene back in the 1980s as a popular fat burner. Today, L-carnitine is back in the spotlight and receiving more attention than ever. Only now, it is known not only for its efficacy in aiding fat burning but also for its potential to enhance exercise performance and recovery.

TOP 6 functional ingredients for sport drinks in 2016Natural caffeine from green coffee beans. You’ll see that caffeine is present in the majority of sports drinks. Now, because consumers want healthier foods, natural caffeine is more popular. Why is it included in sports nutrition? Ingesting caffeine jump-starts the process of lipolysis. That’s when your body releases free fatty acids into the bloodstream and, in turn, boosts your energy level.

Whey protein. When most people think of whey protein powder, muscle building comes to mind. After all, in order to generate more muscle mass in the body, protein is the biggest requirement. But another important property of whey protein is that it helps to boost your immune system and control body weight, as well as supporting heart health.

The combination of these great ingredients won’t make miracles, but combining the right sports drink with hard work at the gym will help to create a strong and healthy body.

Author - dipl. eng. Ieva Jurevičienė

Ieva currently Head of NPD for MyDrink Beverages. Her work encompasses innovation, new product development, recipe optimization and consulting.