I drink a lot of carbohydrate and electrolyte beverages.
1. They taste good, so I want to drink them; and drinking more keeps me hydrated.
2. Carbohydrates are a very important energy source for active people -- before, during and after exercise.
3. Glucose promotes water absorption from the small intestine.
4. They also provide electrolytes - promoting water retention and electrolyte balance.
I've tried a lot of them, sometimes forking out more than a dollar per serving for products like Gatorade, Hammer's Heed, PowerBar's Perform, First Endurance's EFS, and so on...
But I've recently started experimenting with making some of my own drinks for performance and recovery. The best thing about making your own drinks is that you can customize it to be any flavor, any concentration (though the consensus is generally that ~6% CHO is the best concentration for gastric emptying and intestinal absorption), and you know and can control exactly which ingredients you put in your drink. Another plus, it can be really cheap.
Today's drink was really satisfying after a hard track workout:
1 sachet of Celestial Seasonings True Blueberry Herbal Tea ($0.17)
1 scoop GNC Hybrid Carb Complex ($0.14)
1 packet Stevia ($0.06)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (< $0.01)
Steep the tea bag (of your choice) in boiling water then transfer it to a shaker bottle with the CHO and sea salt and ice. Shake and enjoy. A squeeze of a lemon wedge would go well with it too.
This delicious drink provides 13g of glucose (6% CHO) and 295 mg sodium for just $0.38 a serving. Try it yourself.
Note, you certainly do not have to use the GNC Hybrid Carb mix. I got it because it was on sale that day, but any unflavored maltodextrin and/or dextrose based carbohydrate powder will work. I've used NOW's Carbo Gain in the past.