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Powerade Zero and fluid retention?

Hello Do these drinks make you retain fluid? The reason I ask is that I have kept to my calories this week (well, overall week summary, but not on a daily basis and I know I haven't eaten well!) but I ran half marathon on Saturday and still am same weight today - also still thirsty although am peeing normally and it is pale. During the run which was saturday 4pm, I drank 2 Powerade Zeros. I did RICE and also took a nurofen before bed and one in the morning because of my knees. I am doing tonnes of exercise for me, I am improving on my running and doing rowing and walking too. I don't really want to change what exercise I'm doing as I like what I'm doing and I am running in all different places - local hills, trails, have booked some races in, different lengths of run etc so am hoping I have enough variety in there. But I'm not losing (except motivation), am not changing shape, clothes still the same, and still often hungry. I was hoping I'd lost this week - maybe I have if this is fluid- if the Powerade causes fluid retention over a long period / nurofen does should I just ditch them and drink water instead? and if it is fluid, how long does all this take to flush out of the system? Thanks


Our expert says...

Hi there

Firstly, no the Powerade Zero drinks and Nurofen don’t make you retain fluid – especially in the small quantities that you have consumed.

The thing you must remember is that the body adapts at different speeds and can take time to register and provide visible responses to types of training and large calorie spends, such as extreme events i.e. your half marathon. It also takes time for the body to convert into a long-term 'fat-burning machine' and to show clear decreases in body fat and kilograms from a structured approach to creating a calorie deficit. Often people want to see the impact immediately and it just isn't always realistic but equally doesn’t necessarily mean that something isn't right!

One week you may lose 2lbs, then the next nothing and then the next 4lbs! Fluctuations in body water mass can vary by several pounds within a few hours. The timing of your "weigh-in" is also important as having gone without something to eat or drink for a few hours or having just been to the loo could make several pounds of a difference and give a low reading, whereas the opposite scenario could give a higher than actual weight - and the difference between the two results could be as much as half a stone!

The body is a science and you are now getting the science right. Focus on your heart health, how good you feel, the emotional release you get from your varied workouts and the power it gives you to be strong over what you consume on a daily basis.

Equally, be careful not to create too big a deficit in calories that your body reacts with a fat-storing protective system! Extreme deficits of weight in a given week can be as negative on weight control as overconsuming, as the shock causes the body to panic and hold on to fat stores in case the interpreted famine continues! This is a common mistake as people would always like to achieve things quicker, but you have to make sure weight loss is achieved at a rate that does not hurt your body as this weight loss becomes short-term and harmful in the long-term.

Look only at how your clothes fit you over the next 3-4weeks and don't worry if the scales aren't displaying the decreases in body fat that will be occurring. With all your exercise, there will undoubtedly be an increase in your lean muscle tissue which weighs more than body fat, so often, as people decrease body fat and drastically change their body shape and dress size; their weight can in fact stay the same for a long period of time!! Because of this it is important to just ensure you get your calories exercise right and have faith in what you are doing and not misinterpret figures that could wrongly demotivate you.

There may be some simple solutions to help ease the hunger you are experiencing so the first thing I would suggest is to consider the following:

- Consider when you are eating around your training. Ensure you are achieving ideal pre and post training nutrition. See the article titled "Can you explain about the timings for food and exercise?", (dated Tuesday 18th September 2007), in the forum, you can find this by entering "Post exercise nutrition" into the 'search forums' tab on the forums page of the website

- Consider your caffeine and sugar consumption - these can create energy highs and lows as our blood sugar levels rise and fall in response to these stimulants. The lows can leave us vulnerable to experiencing self-inflicted cravings for more sugar. Try to cut down or reduce such potential causes if you note these may be relevant to your personal situation.

If you were to try all of the above and did not notice any significant improvement in your ability to overt hunger then I would possibly suggest you re-check all your inputs for your exercise and food to make sure there are no slight miscalculations that could be leaving you with a daily calorie calculation that is actually slightly too low for your requirements. The likelihood of this is quite low and normally the above factors have more influence then we give them credit for but just in case it is always good to thoroughly re-assess all elements of your plan.

Hope this helps,


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