Petroleum-based Dyes in Sports Drinks 🥤
If watching sports, both actual and on television is your thing, you probably must have noticed athletes drinking a bright coloured beverage in between games.
These sports drinks claim to provide better concentration enhance performance, better your endurance and offer more energy. These drinks also contain electrolytes that are important in replenishing lost fluids in the body. Electrolytes are minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium, this maintains and keeps the balance of fluid at the proper levels.
Our body continually loses fluids through urinating, sweating and even breathing so it’s important to get these electrolytes in (but there is a better way so stay with me..)
Brightly Coloured Drinks
Consumers are usually presented with a dizzying array of very colourful and brightly coloured sports drinks such as a bright red, orange, blue and violet among others to make consuming them more appealing. The relationship between a drink (or food) is pretty much logical. A consumer would prefer that the colour would match its flavour.
For example, if a drink is orange-coloured, we expect it to be orange-flavoured too. Or if it is red-coloured, we expect it to taste like strawberries, cherries or raspberries, and a violet-coloured drink is most likely associated with a grape flavour. However, most often than not, these colourings can actually impact our health negatively.
Petroleum based food dyes?
Food dyes are chemical substances that were made to improve how a food looks by giving it an artificial colour.
People have always added food colourings throughout our history, and the first kinds of artificial flavourings have been created in 1856 from coal tar. However, nowadays food colourings are derived from petroleum (much of a muchness if you ask me!).
More and more manufacturers often opt for artificial colourings for their sports drinks (or food in general) only because it gives off a more vivid and vibrant colour. Another big reason behind this is the cost cutting. These artificial or synthetic dyes can be mass produced at a fraction of a cost as compared to natural colours. Also a noteworthy reason why manufacturers opt for artificial dyes is because of their shelf-life.
Are they all worth it, though? The effects of these artificial colours, especially the kinds that are petroleum-based are still controversial. A majority of these colourings have since been found to be toxic.
Their Negative Effects
These types food dyes can cause hyperactivity and learning problems in children. Some children are most sensitive to dyes than others. Aside from these, studies show that there may be a link between petroleum based dyes and cancer. There are potential carcinogens that are incorporated in these, such as Benzidine, 4-aminobiphenyl and 4-aminoazobenzene.
These dyes are even banned in certain countries such as France, Finland, Norway and Sweden because of the health hazards they impose to people. Some of these health concerns may include chromosomal damage, brain and bladder tumours, lymphomas, insomnia, hives, and thyroid tumours to name a few.
I’m not too sure why Australia allows such products to seep into households and into the bodies of children? (and adults too of course).
Also, petroleum based dyes can’t be metabolised. A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health in 2011 has reported that there is strong evidence that mineral oil hydrocarbons are the greatest contaminant of the human body. Once it’s there, it’s said that they don’t metabolise…
However, you can help rid the body of these petrochemicals by sweating the toxins out and the best thing for this would be to use an infrared sauna (if you can get access to one?) 🧖🏼♀️
Personally, I feel it is one of the best investments a person can make into their wellbeing and you can often find them fairly cheap on eBay or Amazon. I got one on eBay about 4 years ago and it is one of the greatest gifts I ever gave myself! I use it most days and it helps me to stay healthy, my skin always feels amazing and glows with radiant health and I reckon it improves my energy after a good 20 minute session.
There a bunch of other benefits to using an infrared sauna but I’ll save that for another article!
Alternatives to Sports Drinks
No need to fret however, if you’re really into sports drinks but wants to skip the artificial versions, you can also try a few natural substitutes: Coconut water, watermelon juice, raisins (a good alternative for sports gels), or even your own wholesome version of a DIY sports drink with healthy ingredients.
Baobab raw fruit powder is an incredible source of electrolytes and you can find baobab in this simple electrolyte drink recipe below.
There are still some healthy alternatives for petroleum based dyes if you need to drink a coloured sports drink? You could try adding beetroot juice, turmeric, berries, spirulina or paprika are a few healthy alternatives than the harmful artificial dyes.
*Disclaimer: the information in this article is intended purely as information and not health advice. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure and one should always seek expert advice from their trusted health practitioner.