High5 Zero Electrolyte tablets - 20 tablets  £6.99

9/10

Excellent drink mix to help replace vital minerals and avoid cramp. Can also help burn fat, but only because it provides no energy

Weight 80g   Contact  www.hotlines-uk.com

by David Else   June 1, 2012  

High5 Zero Electrolyte tablets - tubes

High5 Zero electrolyte drink comes as a tube of 20 tablets. You mix one or two with water in your bottle and drink it to replace minerals in the body lost via sweat, which helps to prevent muscle cramp. We reviewed this product back in 2010, but it's recently been re-launched with a high-profile advertising campaign that heavily promotes this drink's ability to help you burn more fat.

Before studying that claim in more detail, first let's look at the drink itself. Zero comes in three flavours - Berry, Citrus and Cherry-Orange - but the important ingredients are the same, including sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium, plus dashes of Vitamin C and Green Tea Extract.

Zero's nutritional information indicates that all 20 tablets contain a total of 2g of carbohydrate (making it 0.1g per tablet), with each tablet providing 7 kJ or 1.7 kcal of energy according to the packaging, or 1.4 kcal according to the High5 website. But we're talking gnats. Either way it's a tiny amount of carb, making Zero virtually-calorie free. Hence its name, I guess. But as carb is the main thing you need to keep you going on a big bike ride, Zero is definitely not an energy drink.

But does it help reduce cramps? Yes. I suffer from muscle cramps in my legs after about 60 miles on long rides, and find I can definitely reduce this problem by using High5 Zero drink. I usually drink two bottles the day before a big sportive, and then have another one in the morning before the start. On the ride itself, I wrap a couple of tabs in a plastic bag, and add them to my bottles at one of the feed stations.

(That's another advantage: dropping tabs into your bottle is easier than spooning in power.)

Based on my experience, I'd say that if you suffer from cramps then this Zero drink will definitely help fight them off during long rides (or even short rides). The actual amount you need to drink will be a case of trial and error, and as with any energy product you should test it during training first before using it for real in a race or sportive.

So far, so good. Now let's have a look at that fat-burning claim.

The High 5 advertising says that that test subjects using Zero 'burn 41% more fat', implying that using this product can help you lose weight. While this is absolutely true, it's only because Zero contains virtually no carbohydrate. And if your body has no carb to use as an energy source, then it'll burn fat.

If you had only water in your bottle, you'd burn fat at pretty much the same rate. (Admittedly, the electrolytes in Zero might help you ride a bit further, but only by keeping the cramp at bay).

If you look closely at the High 5 advertising, you will see the 'burn 41% more fat by drinking Zero' claim is qualified by another statement in smaller type: 'instead of a normal sports drink'. Ah yes. That would be the carbohydrate-loaded normal sports drink. It's simply not comparing like with like.

Don't get me wrong. As a source of electrolytes for avoiding cramp, High 5 Zero is brilliant. But you shouldn't be mistaken into thinking it's some kind of magic potion for shedding excess kilos.

So while it's fine to use just High 5 Zero alone when training, if you're racing or riding long sportives then you'll usually need to take on carbohydrate as well (via energy gels, bars or normal food), and you'll also need to keep up the liquid intake. The right food and drink remain important for avoiding cramp; using electrolyte replacement doesn't preclude this.

A tube of 20 tablets of High5 Zero costs £6.98 from the High5 website. You can get it for a similar amount at your local bike shop, and for a bit less at the usual big on-line stores. On a crude tabs-per-quid basis, this is cheaper than most similar products from competitors and represents good value.

Verdict

Excellent drink mix to help replace vital minerals and avoid cramp. Can also help burn fat, but only because it provides no energy.

road.cc test report

Make and model: High5 Zero Electrolyte tablets - 20 tablets

Size tested: Cherry Orange flavour

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

This is a drink to replace lost electrolytes. It is not an energy product as it contains virtualy no carbohydrate.

For reducing or avoiding muscle cramps, it defititely works.

The High5 website says: "ZERO is the new SUGAR FREE electrolyte drink from High5; it's virtually calorie free ... and has a light refreshing taste ... Researchers have also found that simply drinking ZERO instead of a normal carbohydrate sport drink 22 participants burned on average 41% more fat during exercise."

Comparing a calorie-free drink with a carbohydrate drink is the same as saying "simply drinking a carbohydrate-free drink instead of a carbohydrate sports drink...". Well, er, yes. But it's not comparing like with like.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Zero comes in a tube of 20 tablets. It's easier to drop tabs in your bottle than spoon in powder, especially when you're halfway round a big sportive.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

For reducing or avoiding muscle cramps, this drink definitely works.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

Each tab weighs a couple of grams, ideal for carrying in your pocket, so you can add one or two to your drink mid-ride.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

On a crude tabs-per-quid basis, this is cheaper than most similar products from competitors.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

As a source of electrolytes for avoiding cramp, High 5 Zero is excellent. But you shouldn't be mistaken into thinking that you can shed excess kilos simply by drinking it.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 51  Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm  Weight: 11 stone / 70kg

I usually ride: an old Marin Alp, or an old steel classic  My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex (can you see a theme here?)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

I don't think the claims that drinking electrolytes will prevent or reduce cramp are founded on solid evidence.

If you have the time and inclination , this series of articles discusses the subject in detail.

More briefly - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/why-do-i-get-painful-muscle-c...

By all means use them if you prefer the taste over plain water, although a dash of squash or fruit juice in your bottle will do that too.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
1st June 2012 - 13:20

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I really rate these. I struggled with cramps whilst training for the swim leg in an Ironman. I tried squash, salty squash, and just plain water but to no avail. Then I tried these and they really helped.
Top marks from me!

jamesfifield's picture

posted by jamesfifield [91 posts]
1st June 2012 - 13:25

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Like this product a lot. On long rides I go out with two bottles, one with an energy/electrolyte drink like SIS GO, but there are times when your body just doesnt seem to want any more sweet energy stuff. This works as a very thirst quenching (and effective electrolyte replacement) alternative. The caffeine-enhanced one tastes pretty foul though.

posted by PpPete [10 posts]
1st June 2012 - 14:49

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Yeah, agreed - avoid the caffiene one. I get through gallons of the normal stuff though, just because I really like the taste.

Also I found that I could make pseudo-whiskey RedBulls by dropping the 'extreme' version into a glass of Jack...

Probably not the intended use.

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
1st June 2012 - 16:02

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NUUN is a similar product I've been quite happy with. No sugar so when you drink messily during a ride or race, you aren't coated in goo.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [202 posts]
1st June 2012 - 17:02

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i use these and like them. another top tip with these is if you have been out on the sauce. make 1-2 in a pint of water before bed and i have found i avoid the hangover!

loose science but im seriously prone to a hangover and the last 3 times i have ahem..over cooked the tribute this has saved me

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
1st June 2012 - 17:10

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russyparkin wrote:
i use these and like them. another top tip with these is if you have been out on the sauce. make 1-2 in a pint of water before bed and i have found i avoid the hangover!

Seconded. I know of an entire bike-shop "engineering" team who now swear by these after I recommended them for their alternative properties.They also work if taken the morning after (although not quite as well).

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
1st June 2012 - 23:03

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@jack osbourne snr? they work as a morning after pill as well? no wonder my breasts are always so tender

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
2nd June 2012 - 16:46

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plus one for hangover cure. They're are really good for that..

posted by localsurfer [160 posts]
2nd June 2012 - 18:22

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russyparkin wrote:
@jack osbourne snr? they work as a morning after pill as well? no wonder my breasts are always so tender

LOL. No its because you're a t!.

Rolling On The Floor

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [304 posts]
2nd June 2012 - 18:37

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ha ha, glad to share the joy of the secret benfit, have to be honest i use torq now most of the time but i keep a constant supply of zero to hand as a 3rd bottle / hangover cure. mr zero, i salute your style. and now im off to mix a bottle now....

posted by russyparkin [579 posts]
2nd June 2012 - 23:53

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I put one tablet in with my SIS carb drinks and not only does it taste pretty good it means you don't have to think about if you are getting enough carbs, electrolytes, etc.

Works for me!

posted by bridlematt [11 posts]
4th June 2012 - 12:00

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I use the cherry orange and they're pretty good. Fruit juice and water is fine but losing potassium and sodium is a factor in cramp and you need to try and replace these as well as hydrate.

Two tips:

If you have any old 35mm film canisters - the black ones with water proof lids? They are perfect for these tabs. I always carry 6 spare tablets on sportives in one.

My mother in law was recommended quinine when she had foot cramp. I've used tonic water/water in a 50/50 mix for the past 3 years and it seems to help me. I offer no claims for anyone else. Cheap supermarket tonic water is fine. If you ride a Cervelo - by all means buy Schweppes if you feel you need it. Big Grin

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1028 posts]
6th June 2012 - 16:02

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