31 Oct Overtime: Rehydration with Less Sodium and No Sugar
UPDATE DECEMBER 2017: My current choice for a sugar-free electrolyte replacement is Hi-Lyte (which is readily available and actually a better mix of electrolytes and has 0 carbs, which is important for diabetics) — read about it here: Hi-Lyte Electrolyte Replacement or buy it on Amazon.
UPDATE AUGUST 2016: The company has stopped fulfilling requests for samples that they previously offered. Overtime is no longer sold on Amazon and it’s not apparent that it’s being sold in any retail outlet. I phoned the company and the person who answered could not tell me where I could order the Single Shotz (they do not sell online and don’t sell to retail customers). I’m disappointed as we’ve been drinking this for the last 9 months and really like it.
I’m leaving the post up in case they do start selling at retail again . . .
When it’s hot out and we’re living and working outside with no air conditioning, it’s important to stay hydrated. We all know that.
Water’s good to drink, but we also need to replace the electrolytes periodically too. Cruising in the Sea of Cortez we learned just how important this was as we developed muscle cramps and more.
For years, Dave and I have filled our drink bottles with Gatorade when we’re sailing or working outside. No cramps, but I didn’t like all the extra sugar and sodium I was getting. I have what’s called “metabolic disorder” or “pre-diabetes” with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. While I control things with exercise and meds, I don’t need extra sugar or salt!
A couple of weeks ago, Melissa Brisbane at Overtime sent me a note to see if I’d like to try their rehydration drink. The difference? Unlike Gatorade and many others, it has zero sugar and is low in sodium. I was really intrigued!
Overtime was originally developed for heavy industry and job sites where people were working long hours in heat. Unlike the sport drinks, most workers don’t need lots of extra (empty) calories or sodium; they need something that they can drink all day to replace the electrolytes they’re sweating out.
The two main electrolytes that we sweat out are sodium and potassium. Almost all of us already get too much sodium in our diet, so we don’t really need to replace it.
Potassium, however, is a different story: most of us don’t get enough of it in our diet and when you’re sweating a lot, you can quickly get a deficiency . . . which leads to muscle cramping and generally feeling awful. It’s also very hard to get too much potassium, as our bodies simply excrete any excess.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Overtime is not the same formulation as the World Health Organization recommends for rehydration due to extreme illness and for use in developing countries. As stated on the company website:
Overtime was founded in 2008 with a primary focus on providing a diabetic friendly, electrolyte drink that would protect the wellness and safety of the workforce without restrictions. Since over 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes or are borderline diabetic, we decided to make all of our products sugar free. Additionally, because 10 million Americans suffer in varying degrees with hypertension issues, our products maintain the lowest level of sodium of any competitive products. Also, because potassium is the primary electrolyte that the body needs for hard work or play, Overtime was formulated with significantly more potassium than any comparable product on the market.
Here’s a comparison with other sport/rehydration drinks (source: Overtime):
I knew that the Gatorade wasn’t all that good for me, but that comparison chart showed me that perhaps it was downright bad for me. So of course, I was willing to try Overtime.
I like it. Yes, the taste is different from the sugar-based drinks, but it’s not bad. The flavors — orange, grape, fruit punch, lemon-lime and raspberry blue — are all good. I use the powder in a quart/liter water bottle (if you’re in the market for a good water bottle, I love this one from Nalgene with a “keep-clean” top).
As I said above, Overtime was originally developed for industy and their first products were sized to fit in the large Igloo drink containers that you see in plants and on job sites. More recently, they have come out with individual liter bottles (sold in 24 packs) and now powder packs called Single Shotz designed to be mixed with pint/half-liter bottles of water . . . but still in quantities more suited to industry.
After I used up the samples, I bought a box of the Single Shotz. The boxes contain 400 in a mix of the five flavors and it seemed like a huge quantity to me. Where would I put them all? The reality is that they don’t take up that much space (far less than the Gatorade needed to make an equivalent amount). The box is just 8″ x 10″ x 8″ and roughly 80 will fit in a single quart Ziploc for ease of storage. Since we generally use 4 a day (2 for Dave and 2 for me), a box will last us just over 3 months.
Overtime is a little more expensive than an equivalent quantity of Gatorade, but not hugely. I find the Shotz more convenient to use since I don’t have to measure out a scoop and I’m less likely to spill any (and if I do, it doesn’t have sugar to attract ants). The Single Shotz are also easy to take with us if we’re going to be refilling the water bottles along the way. Gatorade, on the other hand, comes in a large container. It has a tendancy to pick up moisture from the air, even when stored in a Lock & Lock container, and will turn rock hard just from being opened a couple of times a day.
So Overtime is now my drink of choice. I figure that some readers are like me and don’t want the extra sugar and sodium in many other rehydration drinks, so I wanted to write about it. However, I told Melissa at Overtime that while I liked these, I just couldn’t see people buying a whole box of 400 without trying them. To really move into the retail market, I think they need to make some smaller packages!