The world does not need a “sport” popsicle


“Replenish, Restore, Refresh”

The Chapman’s “Sport Lolly” is a popsicle.  It calls itself “frozen hydration”.  But it is a popsicle.

I hope this goes without saying, but “sport popsicle” is an unnecessary food category. According to the nutritional info on the Chapman’s website, the Wild Berry Blast is nutritionally almost identical to No Name Brand Ice Pops (which I assume most people would regard as dessert, rather than a tool for improving sport performance).  They both have 60 kcals, and the Sport Lolly actually contains more sugar (13 grams vs 11 in the Ice Pops).  The only difference that I can see (aside from the branding) is that the “electrolyte enhanced” Sport Lolly has 35 mg of sodium, while the No Name Brand Ice Pops have just 20 mg.

I find the whole idea of a sport popsicle very strange for a few reasons.  First of all, aside from being delicious, popsicles are unlikely to be all that useful for the average person.  This issue was expertly covered by Megan Griffith-Greene and Dr Greg Wells on the CBC just last week, in an article titled “Sports drinks unnecessary, counterproductive for most people” (I consider sports drinks and popsicles to be more or less equivalent – sports drinks are basically sugar water, and popsicles are just frozen sugar water).  Here’s an excerpt from that article (emphasis mine):

To test how many electrolytes are actually lost during exercise, Marketplace recruited a team of recreational runners and tested their blood before and after a 45-minute run. None of the runners depleted either their glucose or electrolyte levels enough to require a sports drink to replenish them. In many cases, electrolyte and glucose levels increased in the blood. The test revealed that they could have benefited from water alone.

The same goes for kids – they generally don’t need sugar or electrolytes after a hard day of play.

The one situation where sports drinks/sport popsicles are actually useful is in high-intensity, long duration sporting events.  For example: running a marathon (if you are running for less than 75 minutes, you almost certainly do not need a sport drink/popsicle).  I drank Gatorade when I was racing marathons.  And as any marathoner knows, it is tough to drink while running at a high speed. I cannot imagine any possible way to consume a popsicle while racing a marathon.  And this is the most ridiculous thing about a sport popsicle; the one time you could actually benefit from it (e.g high intensity/long duration sporting events) is also the time when it is going to be extremely difficult to eat a frozen treat.

I am 100% certain that Chapman Sport Lolly’s are delicious.  If you are going to buy them, buy them for that reason.


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3 Responses to The world does not need a “sport” popsicle

  1. Dave Munger says:

    About the only time I could see something like this being useful would be during a hot ultramarathon or perhaps an ironman bike segment. I know some ultrarunners eat crushed ice to cool down and this would offer a similar experience. I believe there is even some research to support the benefits of crushed ice versus water for cooling. You could eat it while running at a slow pace or even walk while eating it — something that is typical during an ultra; during a marathon, not so much. I doubt this thing is really being marketed at such a small niche!

  2. travis says:

    I agree – I don’t think this product is targeting ultramarathoners so much as health conscious parents.

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