This review was written by nutritionist Sally Pinnegar, she helps many elite athletes reach the height of their potential by using the right dietery and nutrition techniques. Her clients include Ironman triathletes Khara Mills , Steve Eadie and our very own Emma-Kate Lidbury!
Orbana Healthy Energy 185 cals per 500ml
I was first introduced to Orbana by Emma-Kate Lidbury, a pro triathlete who I was working with to hone her sports nutrition for a series of key races in the first half of 2011 – http://www.eklidbury.co.uk/ As usual I was slightly lacking in enthusiasm to try it as I have an avid dislike of the taste of energy drinks and prefer to take fresh juice and water but as I was likely to be writing it into EK’s plans I thought I’d better show willing. I’ve used it a few times since, which is mainly testament to its taste. It doesn’t have that sweet salty taste that is so horribly familiar. It’s a lot like orange Tic-Tacs, a sharp orangey-pineapple and is very refreshing, so much so that when I used it at swim on Friday I couldn’t wait to finish every 500m set just so I could taste it again. I’ve also used it on long rides but did find the taste changed a little over a few hours – I’ve yet to try it in some different bottles to see if it’s maybe mixing with my dishwasher fluid, ah hemm.
So on to the technical stuff. Orbana has everything other sports drinks have but with added vitamins and a few key amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein – basically it has a bit more protein than other drinks but not as much as something like High5 4:1. By consuming protein with your sports drink you can prolong the onset of fatigue and mitigate some of the muscle damage that occurs during endurance exercise. Regarding added vitamins, of course we should all be getting our vitamins and antioxidants from real food but it’s very nice to think you’re getting an extra hit from your sports drink; specifically B vitamins which enhance energy production. Orbana also has very few additives, stating it has no artificial colours, sweeteners (hurrah! See my note on artificial sweeteners here http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=239624136063920) preservatives or stimulants. That leaves flavouring but it’s as near as damn it non-artificial and tastes mighty fine.
Looking at the sodium content it has half as much as High5 2:1, for instance, which may explain the less salty taste. The recommended sodium concentration for exercise lasting longer than 60 mins is 0.5 to 0.7g per litre; Orbana falls below that so if you were using it during long sessions, especially in the heat or if you’re a ‘sweater’ you might need sodium from other sources such as solid food or Saltstix (in reality it would make little difference until you got to 2hrs and beyond)
Orbana contains pottassium and zinc, two key minerals. Potassium plays an important role in muscle contraction and nerve transmission and zinc aids energy production. A mild potassium deficiency can occur during prolonged exercise in the heat, such as running a marathon on a hot day, and though one glass of orange juice replaces the potassium lost in 3L of sweat it doesn’t hurt to keep levels topped up on the go (pure OJ is pretty tough to take when you’re running a marathon)
As far as carbohydrate goes Orbana has 85g per 100g and you’re looking for between 30-60g per hour for best performance) dependent on body weight, level of fitness and exercise intensity. I’ll let you do your own maths to work out how many bottles you’d need (2 x 500ml bottles give 85g of carb)
I usually recommend people use Orbana right before training and racing and for shorter training sesh’s or as a carb/fluid supplement between meals e.g before an evening sesh.
The beauty of the sachets is you can carry them with you and make up more drink on-the-run, that way you’re always getting a high quality dose of energy and nutrients freshly made up. Of course the fact that my bike is an Orbea and is blue and orange and the Orbana bottle looks the biz on it has no sway whatsoever…
Give it a try, I think you’ll love it.
Would I use it again? YES YES YES