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Something Different
Week of September 15, 2008
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Contact: Sarah Wally, (202) 328-7744

Be Active, Drink Smart

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Today, it’s hard to walk down the street without seeing a sports drink in someone’s hand. Originally created to help football players and other athletes replace electrolytes lost through perspiration during vigorous exercise, these drinks replenish sodium and potassium. Now, with mass marketing strategies and celebrity endorsements, people from Little Leaguers to Boomers are gulping sports drinks – both on and off the field.

While most ads for sports drinks feature athletes working out intensely, many consumers are missing the message that these products are meant for use after extended exercise (60 minutes or more). I’m a prime example, drawn by a desire to be one of the “active” set. Although my most frequent exercise is a brisk 30 minute walk at least twice a week, walking around with a bottle of sports drink makes me feel like I’m projecting the look of a more dedicated athlete.

Well, that was until I took a look at a label. Besides electrolytes and water, these products provide ample sugar, 15 grams per eight ounce serving. A 32-ounce bottle – the most popular size sold – packs a whopping five tablespoons of sugar.

Since few people do work out hard enough to require a true sports drink, I decided to make up an alternative. The goal was to create a refreshing beverage that looked cool, too, without the added sugar.

I wanted to use real fruit in a drink that was lighter than a smoothie, but more satisfying than simple juice. To do this, I whirled honeydew melon, kiwifruit, lime juice and agave nectar in a blender and voila! Green Gulp.

Honeydew and kiwi are excellent sources of vitamin C and both supply potassium to replenish lost electrolytes in the case of excessive perspiration. Agave nectar, made from the cactus plant and sold at natural food stores, is much sweeter than sugar, so you need only a touch. For extra refreshment, you can freeze the melon before pureeing it, and whirl a few mint leaves into this tall, green drink.

Green Gulp 1462

Green Gulp (Or Honeydew Kiwi Smoothie)

2 cups cubed honeydew melon, frozen or well-chilled
1 ripe kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. agave nectar (or honey)
2 mint sprigs, optional, for garnish

In blender, whirl melon, kiwi, lime juice and sweetener until smoothly blended. If using frozen melon, divide smoothie between 2 tall, narrow glasses. If using chilled melon, pour the smoothie into glasses filled with ice cubes. Garnish each glass with mint sprig, if desired, and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 120 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 32 g carbohydrate ,
2 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 35 mg sodium.

Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.


The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $100 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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