In Part 1, we used grapes and toothpicks to understand what citrulline is. In part 2, we discuss what it does.
Since citrulline is one of the key ingredients in the Energy Drink of the Month for June 2016, it’s time to take a closer look. With the help of grapes and toothpicks, GreenEyedGuide answers your biggest citrulline questions.
Citrulline is an amino acid, but not an essential/non-essential amino acid our bodies use to build proteins. Citrulline is called “watermelon extract” and gets its name from watermelon’s Latin botanical name, (Citrullus vulgaris). So you’d think watermelon has a lot of citrulline, right?
Wrong. Read more
What’s going on? Why is WTRMLN WTR on an energy drink blog? Because dehydration causes fatigue, and the solution (pun intended) for Level 1 of the Five Levels of Fatigue is water. With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to review the ingredients, hydration power, and food science behind this watermelon hydration drink.
The Energy Drink of the Month for June 2016 is WTRMLN WTR.
Yes, this is literally the water from a watermelon, not water that’s been enhanced with fruit juice extracts or add-ins. Food Waste is a growing concern among food scientists (and consumers!) so I was overjoyed when I learned that this product is made from watermelons that would otherwise be discarded. Read More: http://wtrmlnwtr.com/story
This drink is a little bit sneaky with its serving size. One bottle is actually one AND A HALF servings, and the Fact Panel pretends you’re only going to drink two-thirds of the container (8 of 12 ounces). This is a pet peeve of mine, but the new FDA food labeling regulations should resolve this.
One reason this serving size decision bothers me is that the label compares the sugar and electrolyte content of WTRMLN WTR, orange juice, and coconut juice. These comparisons are “per serving”, but that is not helpful because the serving size is arbitrary. If you Googled “what is one serving of fruit juice”, you’d find the American Heart Association explain that one serving of fruit is one whole medium-sized fruit or one-half cup (4 ounces!) of fruit juice. And yet one whole 12 oz bottle of orange juice can also be labeled one serving.
With this inconsistency, it’s better to compare the nutrients per ounce than per serving.
The ideal hydration beverage has 6-8% carbohydrates, according to the research review article, “The effectiveness of commercially available sports drinks.” In the table above, Gatorade falls in that ideal range – shocker – but so does WTRMLN WTR. When are these hydration beverages most effective? According to this same research review article:
- Consumption during short duration high-intensity exercise may enhance performance
- Consumption during prolonged intermittent exercise can improve performance
- Consumption during prolonged exercise (meaning 1-4 hours) may enhance performance
For more interesting hydration comparisons, see the “Guide to Hydration Beverages” I wrote for The Scientific Parent
Food Science – What is Citrulline?
The more I read about citrulline, the more I wanted to learn about it. A “deep dive” on this ingredient is forthcoming later this month, but here are some key facts you should know.
- Citrulline is also known as watermelon extract.
- Citrulline gets its name from watermelon – watermelon’s Latin botanical name is Citrullus vulgaris.
- One average watermelon contains 2.1mg citrulline per gram
- In the sports supplement world, people take citrulline (as L-citrulline or citrulline malate) to increase the levels of amino acid arginine in the body
- The kidneys turn citrulline into arginine, which is supposed to delay muscular fatigue [Bodybuilding.com’s Complete 2016 Supplement Guide rates this ingredient/function claim as “Great: Inconclusive findings but anecdotal evidence is favorable and the ingredient is considered safe for use”
Comparisons and Conclusions
How does this drink hold up to plain old water? Well, it’s certainly tastier, and potentially more expensive. If you’re one of those people that have a hard time drinking enough water throughout the day, this product could be one way to drink more.
How does this drink hold up to orange juice? Comparing ounce-per-ounce instead of tripping over serving sizes, WTRMLN WTR has fewer calories and fewer grams of sugar. It also has less Vitamin C.
How does this drink hold up to other watermelon beverages we’ve reviewed at GreenEyedGuide? Well, WTRMLN WTR is not caffeinated, so if you’re one of those people who need help getting up for your 5 am workouts, WTRMLN WTR may not be the best pre-workout drink.
My initials are DR but I’m not a doctor, so take my insight with a grain of salt and take all caffeinated beverages with a tall glass of water.
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