Zero-carb electrolyte drink tabs are a convenient way to replace lost minerals and prevent cramp. Here we review four of the best electrolyte tablets available
High5’s pink grapefruit Zero is a great little product, though only when you drop in two tablets per 750ml (High5 recommend one or two). Each tablet contains 200mg of sodium, 70mg potassium, 9mg calcium and 56mg magnesium. Just a note on magnesium, that’s applicable for all the tablets here; it’s rare an individual is deficient in magnesium even when sweating. Like the Nuun it comes with vitamin C (28m), which again might be better for taste than adaptation. It also contains 1mg green tea for a very minor caffeine hit. At less than 30p per tablet (£5.83 for 20), these are the cheapest on test here. highfive.co.uk
Verdict: Highly affordable option that tastes good 82%
Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com
This is one for hot races punctuated with stiff climbs thanks to 79mg caffeine per tablet. That’s a weak coffee but is enough for a mild physical and mental boost taken 20mins before a tough section. You might argue that caffeine’s a diuretic, which isn’t what you want with a hydration tablet, but increasing evidence suggests otherwise. Sodium is a standard 250mg, alongside 60mg calcium, 28.1mg magnesium and 150mg potassium, though it also includes 200mg chloride – another essential electrolyte for fluid regulation. The grapefruit taste is pleasant and, at 10 per tube, it’s wallet-friendly, too. powerbar.eu
Verdict: Impressive hydration tablet with a caffeine hit 87%
Buy from www.wiggle.co.uk
SiS’s hydration offering is certainly palatable, with one tablet per 500ml providing a nice, sweet taste, albeit lacking the real citrus hit of lemon.
As for electrolytes, sodium is at the 300mg mark, along with 102mg calcium, 8.1mg magnesium and 65mg potassium. Like Nuun, the Hydro can’t resist a hit of carbs, albeit just 0.8g per tablet with one tablet dropped into 500ml of water. Again, we’d prefer no carbs. Also be aware that SiS offer GO Electrolyte in powder form containing all the sweat-related electrolytes of the Hydro, but with 36g of carbs. Twenty in a tube equates to 35p per tablet.
Verdict: Tasty but not quite as carb pure as we’d like 82%
Buy from www.vanillabikes.com
Nuun’s Active ticks the electrolyte boxes thanks to 100mg potassium, 25mg magnesium, 13mg calcium and 360mg sodium, the latter too much for many. Its vitamin C addition is debatable, with research stating antioxidant supplement hampers muscular adaptation. It features sugar in the form of 1g dextrose and Nuun argue that’s down to increased hydration, presumably because glycogen attracts water in a 3:1 ratio, but we’d rather see no carbs in a hydration drink. The recipe has been upgraded using Stevia leaf extract as a sweetener, beet juice powder and avocado oil. But these come at a monetary cost.
Verdict: A proven product loaded with electrolytes 80%
Buy from www.evanscycles.com