Ancient Greek Olympians swore by beans to give them a competitive edge. Japanese sumo wrestlers rely on a protein-rich soup called chanko-nabe to get into peak condition. And the NBA all-stars Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, and Steph Curry credit their success to a pregame PB&J. Throughout history, athletes have traditionally eaten something special that they hope will up their game. But is there any science behind these special drinks and diets—and will consuming them help those of us who are not destined for sporting glory, too? Listen in this episode as we reveal the backstory behind such stadium staples as Gatorade and Muscle Milk—and the evidence for their efficacy.
When the Florida Gators beat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to win the 1967 Orange Bowl, a hydration legend was born. The Florida football team supposedly had a secret weapon to beat the heat: lemon-flavored salty water mixed up by the team’s doctor, Robert Cade. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets relied on the regular stuff from the tap. As their coach Bobby Dodd said after the game, “We didn’t have Gatorade. That made the difference.” Today, Gatorade—the “professional thirst-quencher”—is chugged by 5K fun-runners and ultramarathon racers alike. But what are electrolytes, and how can we replenish them? Do we really need to drink before we even feel thirsty, as the Gatorade marketing messages would have us believe? Christie Aschwanden, who explores the science of recovery in her new book, Good to Go, joins us to untangle the science behind the hype.