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e-Fuel Endurance Blend
vs.
Osmo Active Hydration

Osmo is 100% simple sugars, virtually no complex carbohydrates and less than half the calories of e-Fuel. e-Fuel provides more than twice the energy, 14 grams of complex carbohydrates, more anti-oxidants, and it is only 29% sugars (fructose) ... and e-Fuel cost about half the price!

Osmo's primary claim is that it hydrates better and they have the science to back it up. Unfortunately independent research tells a different story, read on...


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e-Fuel

Osmo
   
Carbohydrates

  Calories (8 oz serving) 80 35
  Complex Carbs 14 g 0.5 g
  Sugars Grams 5.8 g 8 g
  Sugars (% of total carbs) 29% 100% sugar
  Carb Sources Maltodextrin
Fructose
Sucrose
Dextrose
 

Carbohydrate usage by endurance athletes has been studied for decades by independent researchers such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the results have consistently shown the significant benefits that are achieved when using primarily complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugars. To understand why you have to go back to your 10th grade biology class when you learned about osmosis.

The beauty of a good sports drink is that it is rapidly absorbed in your small intestine by osmosis without the digestive requirements associated with fats, fibers and proteins. Another way of looking at this is that the water in your sports drink becomes the transport vehicle for the other good stuff in your drink (energy and electrolytes). However, in order to be absorbed, the fluid in your intestine has to be an equal or lower concentration than your body fluids. The measure of fluid concentration is called osmolality. The osmolality of Osmo is approximately equal to your body fluids (isotonic), thus allowing it to be rapidly absorbed - that's a good thing. The beauty of complex carbohydrates is that because of their larger molecular structure you can get much, much more energy in an isotonic solution compared to a drink made with simple sugars. Case in point, e-Fuel is also isotonic but it contains more than twice the energy of Osmo - that's an even better thing!!

Both drinks will be rapidly absorbed, both will keep you hydrated, both will replenish your electrolytes ... but e-Fuel will provide twice the energy. Bottom line, if you're an endurance athlete there isn't enough energy in Osmo to keep you going, you need to get more energy from somewhere.
 

Peer-Reviewed Science ...

Osmo likes to promote the fact that their products are based on peer-reviewed science, most of which was done by one of the company's founders (Stacy Sims). According to Osmo, their simple sugar formula is absorbed faster than other drinks. However, what's even more valuable (and believable) is independent research (not performed by or paid for by the company trying to sell the product).

Fortunately there has been lots of independent work done in this area, and it has been proven that what determines the absorption rate is the osmolality of the solution, NOT the carbohydrate sources. One study for example is "Intestinal water absorption from select carbohydrate solutions in humans," Gisolfi CV1, Summers RW, Schedl HP, Bleiler TL., J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Nov;73(5):2142-50. In this study researchers concluded that three isotonic solutions consisting of glucose, sucrose and maltodextrin were all absorbed at the same rate despite the fact that the maltodextrin solution contained approximately twice as many calories.

A second reference can be found in "Intestinal fluid absorption during exercise: role of sport drink osmolality and [Na+]" by Gisolfi CV, Lambert GP, Summers RW at the Department of Exercise Science, University of Iowa, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise [2001, 33(6):907-915]. In this study, researchers looked at solutions containing sucrose and glucose (used in Osmo), fructose, and maltodextrin (used in e-Fuel). The conclusion was that "gastric emptying was not different among solutions" and "net fluid absorption was not different among beverages".

So, as we stated above, both Osmo and e-Fuel will be rapidly absorbed, both will keep you hydrated, both will replenish your electrolytes ... but e-Fuel will provide twice the energy.

Osmo Recommends That You Drink Your Hydration and Eat Your Calories
The logic is that you want to absorb the drink fast to stay hydrated so you shouldn't load it with calories. Instead they recommend drinking Osmo and eating other foods to get your calories. Unfortunately this logic just doesn't make sense for three reasons:

Problem # 1 - It all ends up in the same place
Unlike cows that have four stomachs we humans only have one. Once you start eating and drinking it all ends up in your stomach .... the Osmo, the banana, the PowerBar and what ever else you decide to eat. Guess what, the osmolality of the fluid in your stomach just went up and the absorption rate slowed or even came to a halt. Not a good thing.

Problem #2 - Digestion
Most foods that you eat contain proteins, fats and/or fibers. Once one or more of these are introduced to your stomach they have to go through a digestive process. When you are doing aerobic activity the blood supply to your stomach gets shut down in order to maximize blood flow (and oxygen) to the working muscles for the oxidation process. More oxygen = increased performance (just ask Lance). Digestion of those foods you just ate requires blood flow back to the stomach and away from the working muscles ... and that sound you just heard was your performance dropping.

Problem #3 - Delayed Energy
We all know that bananas are one of the most common foods consumed by endurance athletes, but do you know how long it takes a banana to leave your stomach? Try 4 hours and 15 minutes! Eating solid foods during typical workouts or competitions might taste good and satisfy your craving for food, but it does little if anything for your performance.

Note About Ultra Endurance Athletes
If your an ultra athlete competing for 20+ hours the normal rules don't apply to you. You are going at a slower pace so you can afford some blood to go back to the stomach to work on digestion. And if it takes 4+ hours for the banana to kick in that's okay!


   

e-Fuel

Osmo
   
Electrolytes    
  Sodium 150 mg 160 mg
  Potassium 60 mg 50 mg
  e-Fuel is designed to provide complete and balanced electrolyte replacement that is critical for proper hydration and to avoid muscle cramping and injuries. The sodium and potassium levels in e-Fuel are designed to meet the American College of Sports Medicine's recommendation for electrolyte replacement during intense athletic activity.

Citrates    
  Sodium Citrate
  Potassium Citrate
  Citric Acid
  The Citrates in e-Fuel assist in the carbohydrate to energy conversion process as well as reduce and slow the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles.

Antioxidants    
  Vitamin E 60% 0%
  Vitamin C 60% 15%
  e-Fuel is one of the few sports drinks on the market that contains antioxidant vitamins C and E to help protect against tissue damage, reduce soreness and aid in the recovery process.

Protein 0 g 0 g
  Neither Osmo or e-Fuel contain protein but there is a lot of mis-information that has been published regarding the benefits of protein in your sports drink. Protein has to go through a digestive process which draws blood away from working muscles to the stomach and intestines. When you are competing in an aerobic activity you want as much blood as possible supplied to your muscles carrying fresh oxygen for the energy conversion process. Consequently, independent studies have found no benefit of protein in a sports drink. Save the protein for your recovery drink. See the following article from the American College of Sports Medicine for a more complete discussion:

American College of Sports Medicine
Failure of Protein to Improve Performance when Added to a Sports Drink

Science Daily
Protein-added Sports Drinks Don't Boost Performance

Cost MSRP $26.95
1.96 lb Canister
$13.75/lb
 Sale Price $24.29

$12.39/lb
 
MSRP $19.95
400g (0.88 lb) Canister

$22.67/lb
 
 
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The nutritional information shown above for Osmo Active Hydration as published on the Osmo Nutrition web site February, 2016. Please refer to the manufacturer's web site or product packaging for the most recent information.

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