Sports Drink Supplement for MMA/Muay Thai
Sweat that you can drink. Is it genius?
Nutrition Facts: Pocari Sweat
Serving Size: 100ml
Servings per container: 3.5
Amount Per Serving
Saturated Fat 0g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Total Sugars 6.2g
*The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a food contributes to a daily diet, based on FDA recommendations. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Protein RDA is based on an 80kg athlete consuming 1.6g of protein per kg of body mass.
Did you know that in the movie “Back to the Future II” a bottle of Pocari Sweat appears in one of the scenes set in 2015? Director Robert Zemeckis asked the art department to introduce distinctly futuristic elements into the scene where Marty McFly was video calling one of his associates. And the art department nailed it by introducing Pocari into the frame, as today it has become a powerhouse of sports drinks not only in Japan, but it has spread its tentacles throughout Asia and the Middle East.
With so many different energy drinks on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. There are many considerations: too much caffeine and sugar can cause a crash hours later. Too little caffeine and sugar leaves you feeling tired, lethargic, even depressed.
However: Pocari Sweat may just be the best of both worlds. It contains just enough glucose and caffeine (along with other key ingredients) to give you an initial surge of energy — but without any crashes or excessive calories!
The concept of this drink was to become “sweat you can drink.” The company’s founder, Roruko Harima, had been producing IV solutions for hospitals for decades, and he knew that these saline solutions could be consumed orally to recover the body from severe dehydration and in fact quite a few doctors used to sip straight out of the IV bags to give their body a very much well-deserved hydration break after long surgery sessions.
Why couldn’t the same principle apply to a drink that could be marketed beyond extreme cases of clinical dehydration? Harima’s idea was to apply his knowledge and decades of experience in the field of saline serums to the by then uncharted territory of sports drinks.
The Japanese beverage market was largely dominated by alcoholic beverages, and in the non-alcoholic arena, there was nothing beyond sodas and juices. That is until Pocari appeared and revolutionized the market with her drinkable sweat.
I train a lot. Teaching Muay Thai, Boxing classes and HIIT classes at a fight club in Thailand only constitutes part of my job. I am also the owner of an adolescent dog with an unhealthy relationship with food. She literally never tires of eating. And to keep her from exploding, I take her on a run every evening (weather permitting). Staying hydrated with this lifestyle while living on a tropical island poses a significant challenge.
I’m lucky in that I like to drink water. I know it sounds strange, but I work with people who literally have a hard time drinking the amount of water that the job requires. In addition, I like to eat. So, I’m not one who needs to rely on sports drinks to provide nutrients or hydration. But I know these people exist.
This product is awesome for these people.
English speakers might find the name funny and not that appealing. In the end, who would like to be drinking anything that reminds you of sweat? In actuality, the branding makes total sense since Pocari wanted to create a product that mimicked the chemical composition of human sweat.
From a purely physiological point of view it makes perfect sense, since the sweat that we exude every time we exercise contains a large amount of ions and nutrients that we should replace to maintain a correct balance in our system.
Human sweat is basically composed of four ions, sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, from highest to lowest. When we look at the chemical composition of Pocari Sweat, these are exactly the four ions that make up the base of this drink and in that exact same order from highest to lowest.
Beyond the electrolytes in high concentration, we will find added sugars and certain amino acids used as flavor enhancers.
Pros and Cons
- It provides an excellent mix of electrolytes that really mimics the bodily fluids you lose after a workout.
- It has a tangy taste to it that really helps curbing your thirst.
- You will always look cool with a bottle of drinkable sweat. It’s kind of a cool concept, isn’t it?
- It is not an energy drink as it is. The energy provided comes in the form of simple sugars that don’t provide long-lasting energy but a quick “sugar rush”.
- Its saltiness might seem strange if you’re not accustomed to it.
Claims and Potential Benefits of Pocari Sweat for MMA
According to the Otsuka website, the main benefit of Pocari Sweat against its main competitors is that it provides a healthy way of replenishing the ions you may lose during a workout.
The biggest difference compared to drinking only water is that when you drink water your body fluids become much thinner and more diluted. Drinking water quenches your thirst in part because your body responds to this dilution of your body fluids by making thirst disappear to avoid further thinning of your bodily fluids.
With an ion replenishment drink such as Pocari Sweat, not only do you quench your thirst, but you also provide your body with minerals that you have lost during your training.
It is not so much a matter of quenching your thirst as doing it in a way that is beneficial to your body.
Pocari also claims to hydrate you for 19% longer than other similar drinks, to be absorbed 2.3 times faster and to support your body´s mucous membranes, which in turn could facilitate the immune response of your body against viruses and bacteria.
While this claim could be supported by scientific evidence, as this drink has sugars and the cell walls are made up primarily of peptides and sucrose, we believe it to be a bit far-fetched. According to this reasoning, any food with sugars and peptides helps the regeneration of cell walls, and even though that might be a thing, it should not be quantified as a claimed benefit as the effects are infinitesimal and therefore easily negligible.
How to use it?
Although you can drink it directly, the way we like to enjoy Pocari Sweat is by diluting it in two parts of water for each part of Pocari. This will not only make it last longer, but it will also prevent the feeling that the drink is too full-bodied and too thick as some people might say.
In any case, it will certainly clench your thirst after a good workout, but watering it down will help to stay well hydrated.
How does Pocari Sweat taste?
When we look at the chemical composition of Pocari, the first thing that comes to mind is the amount of salt and potassium it contains, and one cannot but think of that kind of chemistry is not what is sought in an isotonic drink in terms of flavor. After all, who would want to drink something salty?
The guys at Otsuka Pharmaceutical went through the same issue, and the first iterations of Pocari Sweat turned out to be either way too acidic or way too salty. After all, they were trying to replicate the chemical composition of sweat and sweat is, by definition, salty.
It was not until a lot of trial and error that they came across the perfect combination of lime juice, corn syrup and sugars that balanced the isotonic contents of the drink making it, not only palatable, but really tasty.
This might be the most controversial topic we came across about Pocari Sweat. For most of us, the taste is probably one of the biggest advantages of this drink over its competitors.
However, and perhaps it is because our palates are used to sports drinks being usually much sweeter, there are people for whom the taste of Pocari can be a deterrent.
Let us get something straight, it does not taste like your usual sports drink. It has a nice amount of tanginess provided by the lime juice that it carries and it has a savoriness to it.
It also has a pretty thick texture, and that makes it really different from the other options on the market. You and I know the feeling of drinking a whole bottle of Gatorade or Aquarius without even thinking about it. Before we even knew it, we went bottoms up and still feel thirsty. Not with Pocari. With Pocari Sweat you have the feeling that you have to gulp it down, and that makes it both a more enjoyable and lasting experience.
At the same time, you can always dilute it in water. It has enough body to make its way through twice as much water.
When to use Pocari Sweat for Muay Thai & MMA?
As we have said before, Pocari Sweat is not so much an energy drink as a restorative drink. This is why the most common and logical use is during your post-exercise recovery routine if you are doing a more explosive workout, or even in the middle of the exercise if you are doing a more cardio-focused regimen like running, yoga, tabata or martial arts classes like Muay Thai or Boxing.
We have tested it primarily as a recovery drink after our workouts and you can safely say that it delivers on its promise to quench your thirst. The guys training jiu jitsu in our gym really like the taste and are big fans. Take that with a grain of salt, because these guys are all variously “touched”…
Pocari Sweat comes in a wide range of serving sizes, but we found that the 350ml hits that sweet spot between quantity and convenience. The bottle design makes it really easy to grasp if you want to carry it along with you during your long miles hitting the road and as we previously stated it can work wonders diluted in water if you really want to make it last longer during the recovery phase of your workout.
Potential Dietary Issues
Due to its high content in sugar, we wouldn’t advise its use if you are diabetic or have some kind of blood sugar issues.
Other than that, it is pretty much 100% free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners and acidulants, making it a safe bet when it comes to special dietary needs. We could not find anything on the ingredients list that might be flagged as a potential allergen, but as we always do, we advise you to contact your personal dietician or endocrinologist if you fear any kind of potential side effects.
Other cautionary notes
Pocari Sweat undoubtedly contributes to quenching your thirst, and that is obviously a great point in its favor. But funny enough it can also become a cautionary issue, since the fact that you are not thirsty does not necessarily mean that you are perfectly hydrated.
When you replenish the electrolytes that you have lost during exercise, it is easy to feel that your thirst has been quenched, but do not confuse that physiological response with being adequately hydrated.
After exercising, don’t forget to drink water and replenish fluids beyond electrolytes and ions. In fact, water is the essential vehicle for transporting these chemicals through your bloodstream, and injesting your electrolytes is of little use if you don’t have a way to transport them to where they are most needed.
Alternative Sports Drinks you might consider
Keep in mind that this is not an energy drink, or at least it shouldn´t be treated as such. It is quite a common misconception to mistake isotonic sports drinks with energy drinks, and while they are all marketed towards people with a highly active lifestyle, they are quite different regarding the way they act on your organism.
If you are looking for an energy drink to boost your performance and give you a bit of an edge, you should go for a more caffeinated option – or a more natural alternative such as a pineapple orange juice.
When it comes to purely isotonic drinks, you have a wide variety of options, Aquarius or Gatorade being the best known worldwide.
The big difference in our opinion, beyond the distinctive flavor that characterizes Pocari, is that its sugar content is much lower and, therefore, it makes Pocari a more natural option than its competitors.
Our Verdict on Pocari Sweat for MMA & Muay Thai
Marty McFly was right and Pocari took the world by storm.
This drink packs not only a reasonable number of electrolytes and ions that makes it a good choice when it comes to replenishing your body fluids after a workout. It also packs a punch flavor wise.
Although it is not available worldwide, if you have the possibility to try it instead of the most common market leaders, we assure you that you will not be indifferent to the power of its flavor and its incredible ability to quench your thirst.
Who would have thought that drinking sweat would be this delicious?