Dr Stacy Sims, the exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist who co-founded both Skratch and Osmo, has partnered with Nuun to create a new drink mix called Performance. Performance is similar to Skratch and Osmo, but uses the latest research, Sims says, and "takes all the fillers out", leaving just a hydration product that is clean by both Non-GMO Project Verified, Informed Choice - Safe for Sport and vegan standards.
Nuun's primary product for the last few years has been ultra-low calorie hydration tablets that come in tubes. Those are sold in both specialty cycling and running stores as well as natural food grocery stores like Whole Foods.
Performance is a hydration powder made with sugar and salts, that comes in Mango/Orange and Blueberry/Strawberry flavors.
"The Nuun team wanted to create a product that delivered superior performance without compromising the pure sources that ultimately hydrate you,” said Kevin Rutherford, Nuun president and CEO. "The reality is that we are not as smart as nature which is why this product is the perfect blend of sports science and natural foods.”
At the beginning of the partnership that started more than a year and a half ago, Sims said the common ethics on sport and nutrition between Rutherford and herself was appealing. "Everything that Nuun has become – supporting clean athletes, a low carbon footprint, clean product — their existing values and vision were inline with my own."
Nuun doesn't sponsor any athletes who have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, and the company requires all of their sponsored athletes and brand ambassadors to take a public pledge at cleansport.org.
As for the product, Sims listed a few things ("the fillers") that she and Nuun were able to remove from the hydration drink powder formula: silicone dioxide, soy lecithin, inulin, maltodextrin.
"These are all fillers. Maltodextrin is normally used as a plating agent," Sims said, going on to explain what plating is. "Up to this point, fruit powders, even if organic, the juice that it is freeze dried, they have to be stuck to something. That is called plating. Usually it's another sugar, like maltodextrin. In this case, we're using a new technique. It is basically just drying the juice and taking the concentrate and the essential oils."
Performance is the first hydration powder to use non-gmo sugar sources, dextrose and sucrose. It is also vegan, which, Sims notes, comes from the difference in filtering process. "Most sugars are bleached through charcoal from cow bones," Sims said. "Because we are such an animal heavy society, we use the animal waste products for other things. So, our vegan product is done through wood charcoal."
The Performance mix has a light taste, which contrasts considerably to the sweetness of something like Gatorade. The lightness is intentional for two reasons, Sims says. One, the product is intended for endurance athletes, whose palette can become more sensitive further into prolonged exercise, when a less-sweet drink is more appealing. And two, the carbohydrates (read: sugars) in the drink are there to “work specifically for fluid absorption, not carbs for their own sake.”
Sims is now a researcher at University of Waikato in New Zealand, and a partner and consultant for Nuun.
“I am very honored to partner with Nuun to continue to evolve the sports drink industry, and Performance is a culmination of everything I have learned through my over 20 years of research in sport nutrition,” she said. “The selection and purity of ingredient sourcing supports the latest research, and this line strategically maximizes fluid absorption and minimizes cellular stress in the digestive system during exercise.”
Nuun Performance is available now in a 16-serving pouch for $19.99 and single-serve sachets for $1.99. UK and AU pricing was not immediately available.