Accelerade Ready to Drink
By Raymond Estrella
August 11, 2007
Huntington Beach California USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or fiancée Jenn.
Manufacturer: Mott's LLP (yes the applesauce people)
Web site: www.accelerade.com
Product: Accelerade Ready-to-Drink
Year manufactured: 2007
Flavors in order pictured below (all reviewed): Fruit Punch, Citrus Grapefruit, Mountain Berry, and Peach Mango
Volume: 20 fl oz (591 ml)
Actual weight of full bottle: 23.1 oz (654 g)
Serving size: 8 fl oz (237 ml)
Servings per container: 2.5
Accelerade is a carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement drink that has a twist. It adds 4 g of protein per serving in what the company calls a 4:1 ratio with the carbohydrates.
It comes in a PET (Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate) bottle that stands 7.75 in (19.7 cm) tall and is 3.75 in (9.5 cm) in diameter. The bottle has a twist-off cap covering a 1.3 in (3.3 cm) inside diameter opening.
It contains the following ingredients;
Filtered water, sugar, trehalose, whey protein isolate from milk, citric acid, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, lactic acid, magnesium carbonate, salt, monopotassium phosphate, food color (differs by flavor, note that the punch does use red 40) vitamin E, acetate, ester gum, sodium ascorbate
Allergen information: contains milk.
Here are the nutritional facts, first for a single serving;
Total fat: 0 g
Sodium: 120 mg
Potassium: 15 mg
Total carbs: 15 g
from sugar: 14 g
Protein: 4 g
Strangely the nutritional numbers for the entire bottle (2.5 servings) do not jive with the other numbers. Here is what is listed for the full 20 fl oz (591 ml);
Total fat: 0 g
Sodium: 290 mg
Potassium: 40 mg
Total carbs: 36 g
from sugar: 36 g
Protein: 9 g
Each container says to, "Shake well and refrigerate after opening".
Here is my description of each of the various flavors. All are in order of the picture above.
Fruit Punch: This flavor is a dark pink in color. The liquid is clear (as opposed to opaque). It has a very understated punch flavor, leaning more towards cherry and berry. It is not at all sweet, a little tart, somewhat salty tasting. It is very quenching and is my second favorite.
Citrus Grapefruit: The grapefruit flavor is, shall I say, a milky pale yellow color. It has the most opacity of the four flavors and reminds me the most of the powdered version (see below) as far as looks. It tastes grapefruitier at first with the orange/lemon citrus tastes coming afterwards. The tartness makes the saltiness less apparent. It also is a good thirst quencher with no sweet aftertaste. This is hands-down my favorite flavor. Since trying the first batch of four I have bought mainly this flavor.
Mountain Berry: A clear light blue in color, this one tastes almost identical to the Fruit Punch, with just a bit less tartness. (To my mind it should be just the opposite.)
Peach Mango: This one is a clear, very pale orange color. It tastes like very salty peaches with a hint of mango. This is my least favorite flavor. (I only bought one of them until needing another for the picture above.)
I have used the bottled Accelerade only on day-hikes in southern California (CA) and Minnesota (MN) all in the summer of 2007. The hikes in CA ranged in distance from 22 to 26 miles (35 to 42 km), the two in MN were only about 10 miles (16 km) each. Temperatures in both states made it into the 90s F (35 C) with much more humidity in MN. Weather was clear for the most part with afternoon clouds common. Elevations ranged from 1000' (300 m) to 11500' (3500 m). I have used it on at least six hikes that I can remember.
I had to bring the Accelerade with me to Minnesota, but can get it easily from the grocery store by my place in California.
I first saw Accelerade in 2006, reading about it intrigued me. Here are two of the many clinical study results listed on the web site, and what made me interested in trying it in the first place.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Seifert JG, Harmon J, DeClercq P.
Protein added to a sports drink improves fluid retention.
International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 16: 420-429, 2006.
This study concluded that "contrary to popular misconception, adding protein to a carbohydrate-based sports drink ... led to improved water retention by 15 % over [a carbohydrate-only sports drink] and 40 % over plain water." Cyclists exercised until they lost 2 % of their body weight (through sweating) and then drank either a carbohydrate-protein sports drink (Accelerade), a carbohydrate-only sports drink (Gatorade®), or water. Over the next three hours, measurements were taken to determine how much of each beverage was retained in the body (versus the amount lost through urination). The carbohydrate-protein sports drink was found to rehydrate the athletes 15 % better than the carbohydrate-only sports drink and 40 % better than water. All three drinks emptied from the stomach and were absorbed through the intestine at the same rate. In addition, there was no difference between the carbohydrate-protein drink and the carbohydrate-only drink in terms of effects on blood plasma volume. This suggests that the carbohydrate-protein drink resulted in increased water retention within and between cells. Therefore a carbohydrate-protein sports drink may be a preferable choice, over plain water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sports drink, when rehydration and fluid retention are a concern.
Luden, N.D., Saunders, M.J., Pratt, C.A., Bickford, A.S., Todd, M.K., and Flohr, J.A.
Effects of a six-day carbohydrate/protein intervention on muscle damage, soreness and performance in runners.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 38(5):S341, 2006.
This study found that "muscle recovery ... was enhanced with the ingestion of a [carbohydrate-protein] recovery beverage compared to a [carbohydrate-only] recovery beverage." Twenty-three NCAA Division I cross-country runners completed traditional in-season training for six days. Immediately following each training session, subjects ingested either a carbohydrate-protein beverage (Accelerade) or a carbohydrate-only beverage. Following a 21-day washout period, subjects repeated the same protocol as above, receiving the alternate beverage. Measurements of muscle damage (CPK) and muscle soreness were obtained before and after each trial. Compared to the carbohydrate-only, Accelerade reduced muscle damage by an average of 27 % and muscle soreness by 30 % in the runners.
There are many more references to other sports but as I used to run, I know that hard backpacking can be much like running as far as the way that I work and sweat.
It should be noted that I wrote a review of the company's powdered version also (please see review). I found that version to be somewhat lacking in areas. There was enough difference in the powdered version and the ready-to-drink bottles that I decided to give it another try. During the course of telling about the bottled product I will explain how it differs also.
It should also be noted that I was raised in a very health-conscious environment. (Read; my mom was a health nut…) I also spent 10 years as a vegetarian, and needed to know a lot about protein requirements and the ways to get it without eating red meat. Because of this I have already used the whey products mentioned in this report prior to my exposure to Accelerade.
The biggest difference that I see is the use of whey protein isolate as the contributor of protein versus whey protein concentrate. Whey protein isolate is the most pure and concentrated form of whey protein available. It contains 90% or more protein and very little (if any) fat and lactose. Whey protein concentrate has anywhere between 29% and 89% protein depending upon the product. As the protein level in whey protein concentrate decreases the amounts of fat and/or lactose usually increase.
I am pretty sure that that is why the powdered version was very opaque. It also tasted milky and frothed up when I shook it. The bottles of ready-to-drink Accelerade do not do this. All except my favorite flavor Grapefruit Citrus are very clear. When I shake it nothing happens. I do not even know why they say to shake it as I never notice any particles in the bottom of the bottle.
And particles are something that is quite abundant in the powdered version. Again I think it is from the less-pure concentrate. The isolate seems to dissolve and stay dissolved in the bottles. I looked at a bunch of them at the store before I decided to try it the first time.
Another very big thing for me was the fact that the powdered version made me very gassy. The bottled does not do this. I can even drink it on an empty stomach with no problem, and have.
The bottles contain slightly higher concentrations of nutrients at 1.87 g of carbs and 0.5 g of protein per fluid ounce (30 ml). That is good in my book. And it is much less sweet tasting, in fact all flavors are downright salty. I like them a lot for hot weather hiking. None leave a sweet aftertaste and all are very quenching. There is also no milky taste. If I did not know that it contained whey I would never guess that it had a milk product in it.
It works very well in the field. I can tell that it has protein in it. It seems to be more satisfying than my normal drink of choice. I can not tell if it does all they claim, but I am inclined to take them at face value from all of the research they, and others, have done about it.
The bottles are a good size for packs with small pockets, like many of my day packs have. They fit my hands quite well. They also seem to fit in a bicycle water bottle holder, hmmm, I wonder if that was planned? I really like the size of the opening. I want it NOW mister…
The only negative marks I can give to the Ready-to-Drink Accelerade are for the price. It is very expensive. Even at a regular grocery store (where I can get it the cheapest) it is 3 times more expensive per volume than my other brands. In fact I cut the introductory coupons for it when ever I see them. Now if it will go on sale when I have some coupons then I will be golden.
Read more gear reviews by Ray Estrella