When you exercise for more than an hour in hot summer weather, it's natural to feel tired and weak; you are low on fluid and calories. But to perk up, it isn't necessary to eat or drink something "special." You can replenish what you've lost by eating or drinking anything.
Years ago, studies showed that 2.5 percent was the highest concentration of sugar you could put in an exercise drink and still absorb it rapidly enough to have it make a difference when exercising. This 2.5 percent ratio poses a problem because drinks taste best when they are comprised of 10 percent sugar. For example, cola drinks contains 10 percent sugar. So do ginger ale, orange and apple juice and almost every other soda or fruit drink.
Soon after the studies were reported, exercise drinks containing 2.5 percent sugar appeared on the market. They tasted pretty awful, as the concentration of sugar was too low to satisfy our taste buds. Thus, some manufacturers added saccharin to sweeten the taste. But many athletes learned that instead of buying these sports drinks, they merely had to add water to dilute other sugared fluids, thereby creating their own 2.5 percent drinks.