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The Taste of Science: Osmo Nutrition

  • By Nick Legan
  • Published May. 22, 2012
  • Updated Dec. 17, 2012 at 12:29 PM EST
Photo: Nick Legan | VeloNews.com

When it comes to improving performance, it’s easy to focus on training and equipment. But to neglect nutrition is to assure failure. Dr. Stacy Sims has consulted with Lance Armstrong and Andy Schleck on nutrition, and recently launched her new company, Osmo Nutrition. We recently conducted a taste test of Sims’ new line in the VeloNews office.

Available immediately at osmonutrition.com and coming to bicycle, running and triathlon shops soon, Osmo offers four different drink mixes to help optimize hydration, performance and recovery. Two of the drinks, Osmo Preload and Osmo Active, were developed with hydration in mind, while Osmo Acute and Osmo Goodnight are two recovery formulas.

All four of the products use organic and natural ingredients. According to Sims, the four of them work in unison to maintain optimal hydration.

Sims explains that hydration is commonly underemphasized in favor of calories, “Most sports drinks are not about hydration. They focus on calories, but you can recover from low blood sugar in a few minutes. You can’t recover from dehydration nearly as quickly.”

By decreasing the amount of calories in the Osmo drinks, athletes are able to uptake more fluids and avoid gut rot, that feeling of bloating and discomfort common on long rides. For those worried about consuming sufficient calories, Sims encourages them to remember this moniker: “Food in your pocket, hydration in your bottle.”

Here are some specifics on the products and their intended uses.

Osmo Preload hydration

($25 for 10 servings)
To be used the night before and 30 minutes before a hot or intense workout, Preload is designed to hyper-hydrate. Preload also has buffers (a bicarbonate compound), good for use before sprints on the track and time trials. The U.S. national BMX team uses Preload throughout its rounds of competition.

Initial taste impression: As you would imagine for a product intended to hyper-hydrate, Osmo’s Preload has a strong saline taste. It has a bit of a medicine taste, but if the performance claims are to be believed, it may be worth it to guzzle it before hard events.

Osmo Active hydration

($25 for 20 servings)
This 3.5 percent carbohydrate solution of glucose and sucrose is designed for use during exercise. It’s flavored with organic freeze-dried fruit. With its sugar and sodium/potassium mix, Active is designed for greatest fluid absorption. The goal is to avoid electrolyte tablets.

Initial taste impression: Active is the winner of the four Osmo products. Its taste is very mild, and everyone at the VeloNews office felt that it would be easy to drink for hours on end.

Osmo Acute recovery

($40 for 10 servings)
Acute is to be used within 30 minutes of the completion of exercise. Unlike other recovery drinks, Acute forgoes antioxidants and vitamins. Sims says this is because inflammation enhances cellular adaptation. Vitamins shut down that cellular adaptation.

Initial taste impression: When mixed with almond milk, the Acute recovery drink is bearable. With water, several tasters wouldn’t go back for a second sip. Both the Osmo recovery drinks are hard to swallow.

Osmo Goodnight recovery

($40 for 8 servings)
Sims claims that during a big block of training or after a really big day, drinking Goodnight helps with sleep. It features antioxidants, glutamine, zinc, B-vitamins, protein and herbs and fruits that naturally increase melatonin production. It acts as a mild sedative that helps the body relax and lowers core temperature for better sleep.

Initial taste impression: Goodnight was passable for some, others were repulsed by the flavor. “It takes like science gone wrong,” was one taster’s comment. Others weren’t as kind. To be honest, I can’t see myself ever drinking it again, nevermind the benefits.

Packaging

After ordering Osmo, you may want to decant the mix into plastic storage containers. The Ziploc packaging is hard to close after first opening. The powder tends to fill in the groove in the Ziploc.

Conclusion

No one said going fast was easy. Training hurts. When it comes to optimizing nutrition, Osmo shows that flavor is sometimes secondary to function. The clear winner from a taste standpoint in the Osmo lineup is the Active hydration mix. It’s a mild flavor that doesn’t ruin your pallet or stomach. For big days, Preload is worth a try. The recovery drinks are a tough sell, however. In order to try before you drop too much cash, consider ordering one of each of the products with some teammates. Have a taste test and decide whether to proceed.

FILED UNDER: Nutrition / Training Center

Nick Legan

Nick Legan

After graduating from Indiana University with honors and a degree in French and journalism, Nick Legan jumped straight into wrenching at Pro Peloton bike shop in Boulder for a few years. Then, he began a seven-year stint in the professional ranks, most recently serving for RadioShack at the Tour de France and the Amgen Tour of California. He also worked for Garmin-Slipstream, CSC, Toyota-United, Health Net and Ofoto. Legan served as the VeloNews tech editor 2010-2012 before sliding across the line into public relations.

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