Secret Drink Mix is an alternative sports drink that claims to have major athletes using this drink instead of what their sponsors are paying them to drink. It is lower in calories than traditional sports drinks and uses natural flavoring instead of synthetic or chemical flavoring. Its website is rather unique and “in your face” right from the start. But does the drink actually deliver in its claims? After using the drink for about a month of steady riding, I think I am finally ready to share what I have found out.
One look at the label of Secret Drink Mix and it is quite apparent these guys took some time to come up with their formula. You can go from sports drink to sports drink and pretty much see the same nutritional information and ingredients right down the line. Personally, I have used Cytomax for years as I felt it was the best sports drinks for cyclists and had the best taste. This is how Secret Drink Mix stacks up against my old favorite.
Secret Drink Mix comes in three flavors for exercise (raspberry, orange, and lemon-lime). There is also lemon-lime anytime drink mix, which has a completely different makeup (its nutritional label makes me believe it would be very good as a recovery drink). Here is SDM compared directly to Cytomax for a 12oz serving.
Secret Drink Mix vs Cytomax
Calories 60 (90)
Carbs 15g (22g)
Sugars 15g (12g)
Calcium 45mg (6mg)
Magnesium 33.75mg (14mg)
Sodium 232.5mg (120mg)
Potassium 30mg (60mg)
I took my first ride on the blind, not looking at any of the components of the drink at all. My main concern was if the drink could hold up on a ride. As stated before, I have used Cytomax for years and have never come close to bonking during a ride using that sports drink. Test one, passed. I never bonked and felt great after the ride.
As far as taste is concerned, I have to say, this is the best sports drink I have ever had for cycling. Some of the lighter flavors of Cytomax are good, but they still have a bit of an aftertaste to them. I was immediately surprised at the freshness and lightness of the drink. I actually liked drinking it! All of the flavors are great, but I really enjoyed both the raspberry and orange. I even mixed the two of them together at one point and came up with a new favorite.
The reason for the lightness and great taste is the fact that Secret Sports Drink uses real flavoring, not artificial flavors and chemicals to simulate a flavor. The flavor actually catches you by surprise because if you have been drinking regular sports drinks, you have been programmed to expect a certain sweetness and heaviness from the drink. This drink mix actually tastes exactly like it should.
I was also impressed with the fact that I experienced no “rot gut” after doing several rides in a row. I generally consume about five or six ounces of sports drink every 15 minutes. For this review, I rode between 1.5 to 3 hours on every ride. Usually, after a few days of riding in a row, I can start to feel my stomach feeling the effects of all the sports drink. This is fairly common in riders I know with the reason being that our body simply cannot absorb all of the chemicals in these drinks. That simply did not happen with this product because they use real fruit to flavor the drink. No chemicals, no synthetics, just real ingredients.
My one concern about the nutritional makeup of the product was what appeared to be a higher sodium content. However, a quick chat with a Sports Drink Mix representative helped me understand why it is higher. Here is the response I received from the SDM representative:
“We use a higher concentration of sodium in our sports drink to better match the actual sodium loss faced by exercising individuals. During exercise, we can lose anywhere from 500 mg to 1 gram of sodium per liter of sweat (more for less fit individuals who are unacclimatized to the heat and less for more fit individuals who are acclimatized to the heat). Thus, it’s rationale for a sports drink to contain between 250 mg to 500 mg of sodium per 500 ml serving and this is what is currently recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine. At 310 mg of sodium per 500 ml serving we are still on the conservative end of the ACSM recommendation, but still on the high side compared to most of our competitors. In the end, it is critical that both fluid and sodium is replaced to match losses during exercise and our product was designed to do that.
The fact that we contain more sodium compared to our competitors may ultimately be one of market and mis-education. The USRDA for sodium is only 2400 mg of salt per day and even lower for those with salt sensitive hypertension. But the USRDA does not take into account exercise volume or sweat rate. Because many people are familiar with the USRDA for sodium but not familiar with the sodium loss associated with exercise and sweat loss, I can only assume that our competitors have a lower sodium because their products are marketed more towards individuals as a general drink rather than as a specific exercise hydration product. After all, not everyone who uses a sports drink consumes the product while they are exercising. Because of this, there may be a fear of adding more sodium to a drink because mass market consumers may chose to avoid the product or because the sports drink is not being marketed for exercise only. But who knows. In the end, we’ve always catered to the needs of athletes who are looking for optimal hydration and our sodium content reflects that.”
I was also sent an attachment outlining nutritional needs for athletes and after researching further, it became quite evident these guys truly have the athletes needs in mind with the creation of this product. Further proof was given when I noticed my legs simply did not feel as fatigued after multiple days of riding. I was following the same routine in regard to post ride recovery, but my legs felt better and I was actually able to ride harder on consecutive days.
The only drawback to the product is its price. Depending upon how it is purchased, the price is a little more than $1 per serving when shipping is added in. That is compared to about $.50 per serving for Cytomax and other sports drinks purchased in bulk powder. However, the results of the testing would seem to make it worth it, especially for competitive riders.
It is also recommended to put any open product into a sealed container to prevent it from clumping. The company actually sells a container for this purpose, but you could just as easily use a foodsaver container if you have one. As long as you keep the open air away from the product, shelf life should not be a problem. I had a one-pound bag open for a week using their container and experienced no problems whatsoever.
Bottom line is that this is a great product that seemingly delivers on every claim in makes. As long as it is being consumed properly and the cyclist hydrates properly before a ride, I cannot imagine they would ever have hydration challenges while on the bike. Secret Drink Mix has made a believer out of me.
Our Recommendation: BUY IT!