I had no idea this was a problem. I sent out a Tweet asking if anyone else has heard about this and a fellow named Leon Harvey replied. We got talking and he told me that he’s formulated a sports drink product for himself that addressed this acidity problem. Leon’s story on how he developed this sports drink is long (but interesting) and he’s called it Sukkie Sports Drink (Leon is biologist by trade).
I tried the formula and to be honest, I really didn’t like it. Leon was such an approachable and nice guy that I thought I’d tell him the truth. He went back, altered the formula to make it taste better and gave me another sample. This time it was much better.
After a few iterations on the taste of the formula, Sukkie is pretty much the only thing I drink now. It doesn’t upset my stomach, keeps my hydrated, and the taste has grown on me. It tastes a little bit “soft”, but now that I’ve gotten used to it, I love it. It’s been nearly two years now that I’ve used Sukkie.
I told Leon that I’d be keen on doing a product review on Sukkie to help him get the word out on his sports drink. He’s not doing this to make a quick buck and is truly passionate about his product. The one problem with this is that I can’t really say anything more than “I like it”. Everything sounds good in theory, but there have been no official endorsements by the Australian Dental Association or research studies verifying the claims that it reduces enamel wear. I’m sure it would be different if Leon funded these studies himself, but that takes a deep pocketbook.
Since I can’t confirm or deny Leon’s claims about Sukkie, I’ve asked him to tell you more on the backstory and the benefits he sees in his product.
Note: Sukkie does not advertise on CyclingTips nor is there any paid affiliation. This isn’t something I would normally do, but I think getting the word out about Sukkie will be valuable to many readers.
Sukkie Sports Drink- By Leon Harvey
I formulated Sukkie out of necessity. I hadn’t had problems with my teeth since my teen years, then at 28 years of age I was at the dentist again for the second time in a year. My dentist said I had ‘dental erosion’ which is when the enamel on your teeth is permanently dissolved. He said if things didn’t change he would probably end up removing some of my teeth, as the hard enamel was dissolving and left only the soft tissue underneath. I remember thinking to myself “Ouch, this is going to be expensive!”
After I calmed down, my dentist asked if I was doing anything different than before like eating lemons or drinking sports drinks. I told him I had been cycling for over a year at that stage and had only started to drink sports drinks after a sports dietitian prescribed them to me for carbs and rehydration. My dentist said acid in drinks like sports drinks can cause dental erosion.
Call me naive, but at the time I didn’t know sports drinks were all that bad for my teeth. I knew they contained sugar for energy – I didn’t know sports drinks contained so much acid, that they actually dissolve the enamel off your teeth.
I started looking for a sports drink that could give all the nutrition the athlete needs AND keep the dentist happy. I looked everywhere – all the drinks I tested had lots of acid. Over 2 years, I used my science background and started meeting with and researching clinical papers of the worlds nutritional scientists and dentists.
I tested different compositions to get the best carbohydrates and electrolytes and developed ‘Sukkie’ from a formula clinically proven to not cause dental erosion. What really exciting for me is I haven’t had a filling or muscle cramp since I started drinking Sukkie. (Clinical Ref: ‘Erosive Effect of a New Sports Drink on Dental Enamel during Exercise’ MICHELLE C. VENABLES (2005)).
I started to share Sukkie with friends and elite athletes competing for Australia and then I started mass production. I have now made it Sukkie’s mission to reach athletes across Australia, especially junior athletes and show them that you can get performance rehydration and protect against dental erosion.
One way we are doing this is as Official Hydration Sponsor of the ‘Specialized Australasian Schools Cycling Cup 2012’ and supporting Brunswick Cycle Club at Cycling Australia’s National Junior Track Series 2012.
To help spread the word about better hydration, Sukkie would like to offer CyclingTips subscribers a special deal – buy one Sukkie tub and get the other flavour complimentary. Simply select one tub, proceed to checkout and put ‘Performance Fuel‘ in the PayPal ’Note to Seller’ field when purchasing to receive this special offer.
Offer limited to one free tub. Open to Australian customers only. Offer open until November 1, 2011.
Key research findings:
• Acid is used in drinks as a preservative. (To make them last for years on the shelf because the longer a product lasts on the shelf the cheaper it is to manufacture.)
• Acid is also used as a flavour ‘enhancer’. (You will notice acid written on the label as Food Acid, 330, 331 and so on – typically the closer to the start of the ingredient panel list the more acid it contains.)
• Acid in drinks dissolves the calcium rich protective enamel on the surface of your teeth, in a process called dental erosion which is made worse with brushing, grinding or clenching teeth.
• For athletes the effect of acid is potentially more severe when breathing and sweating heavily because the mouth is dry and your natural acid buffer saliva cannot protect your teeth from acid.
• The more acid the lower the pH, the more potential for damage to your teeth. The pH of your mouth is about 7.6, recent studies undertaken by the University of Melbourne show the pH of some sports drinks are more than 10,000 times more acidic than the pH of your mouth with a pH3.2. (Clinical Ref: Erosive potential of beverages sold in Australian schools.’ NJ Cochrane (2010))
• 6 out of every 10 Australian kids alone have dental erosion. Junior athletes may need particular attention because their teeth are softer and more susceptible to acid attack, and acidic drinks being readily available at schools and sporting venues. (Clinical Ref: Kazoullis S, et al. ‘Common dental conditions associated with dental erosion in school children in Australia’. Pediatr Dent 2007;29:33-39.)
For more information see the well written ‘Dental Health For Athletes Fact Sheet’ on Sports Dietitians Australia website: www.sportsdietitians.com.au/resources/upload/Dental%20Fact%20Sheet%20SDA%20June%202010.pdf