cytomax sports drink

I have sampled nearly every sports drink out there, but Cytomax always eluded me. The name has been popular for many years, and the Cytosport company makes products for all sorts of athletes, but it was just this past year I tried Cytomax Performance Drink.

I bought it on a whim, when the option of a “Peachy Keen” flavor caught my eye. It was just something about a peach flavored sports drink that drew me in!

When I opened the canister, I got a whiff of peach rings! Know those sugar-coated, gummy candies that are red, orange, and yellow? The ones that are totally artificial and way too sweet, but oh so good? Well, this peachy keen Cytomax smells and tastes like those peach rings!

Things got even better from there. Turns out that Cytomax mixes very easily. Just add it to water and shake a couple quick times.

And you’re left with a very thin consistency and no aftertaste. I was surprised how “clean” it left my mouth. There was no stickiness like with many other sports drinks.

The only downside was that the sweetness made it less refreshing. (Whether i was using 1 or 1.5 scoops for a 16oz bottle, it was quite sweet. Not sugary, but sweet. Artificially sweet…)

Cytomax Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

I was so wrapped up in the peach flavor that I completely ignored the ingredients. That is, until I thought about the artificially sweet flavor…

They actually tricked me on this – the label says “no aspartame, no sucrose.” Being a sports drink, I figured it contained maltodextrin or something as the main carbohydrate. I was wrong!

Cytomax contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium. It’s one thing to put that in diet drinks, but to put it in a sports drink powder? Last time I checked, a good sports drink was supposed to provide two things: calories from carbohydrates, and electrolytes. So why remove one of the main ingredients?!

Worse still, I found crystalline fructose on the list. This is basically a powdered form of high fructose corn syrup!

It’s cool that there are some vitamins, minerals, etc., and the “herbal lift” (i.e. caffeine) is an interesting concept, but please, skip the sucralose and other artificial junk!

Funny thing is, they have something called “Cytomax Natural Powder,” which is basically the same thing but without any artificial sweeteners or flavoring. So why not keep that one and ditch this artificial junk?

Cytomax Taste Test

As I mentioned, the Peachy Keen flavor tastes like peach rings. It is an artificial peach flavor.

It was a great novelty, but it gets old after a few times. I could never drink this on a daily basis.

The other flavors do sound tasty though:

– Cool Citrus
– Fresh Apple
– Pomegranate Berry
– Tropical Fruit
– Go Grape
– Tangy Orange

Cytomax In Use

If you go by the claims on the label, this would sound like a miracle!

“PROVEN Acid Buffering”
“STABILIZES Power Output”
“REDUCES Perceived Exertion”
“REDUCES Oxygen Consumption”
“INCREASES Recovery Rate”

Are you sure this isn’t on the banned substances list?!

The real question is, will you notice these benefits? I doubt it. If you switch from plain water, maybe. But if you switch from another form of sports drink, I can’t imagine that you’ll definitively use less oxygen and stabilize your power output. (And the point of stabilizing your power output, well, that’s a mystery to me.)

In my experience…

The first two times I used it, I felt crappy and ended up with a headache. I almost quit using it, because I blamed those side effects on the abundance of artificial sweeteners.

But then for the third time, I made sure I had a good breakfast and felt great beforehand. Then I did a 4.5 hour ride after some weight lifting and consumed two bottles of this stuff. I felt great the whole time.

So, it seems this drink works fine for me. I can’t attribute the initial crappy feelings or headaches to the sucralose. But I also can’t attribute “feeling good” to this drink either. If I’m well rested and have been eating healthy, I can feel good by drinking any sports drink.

P.S. This stuff permanently stains the inside of your water bottle.

My final verdict is…

There are some things about this drink I really like, as well as things I hate. Unfortunately, the prevalence of artificial sweeteners means I won’t recommend this drink, nor will I buy it again. (And the rest of my canister will be going in the trash!)

Since I did like the taste, texture, and ease of mixing, I may try that Cytomax Natural Powder someday, but it’s more likely I’ll switch to Hammer Heed.

Official website: www.Cytosport.com

Buy online: www.REI.com or www.PerformanceBike.com


Product Review Details
Company: Cytosport
Product: CytoMax Performance Sports Drink
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 1.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2009-05-19
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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6 Comments
  1. 1 for Hammer Heed, I put one scoop per bottle and think it is great.

  2. Thanks for this review. I was introduced to it at a running expo and really liked it. Since then I have been training with it, as well as some other sports drinks. I am in the process of writing my own review, so I found your thoughts to be very helpful, you raised some points that I hadn’t noticed before.

  3. Cytomax recently changed their sweetener to stevia, a natural sweetener also found in HEED. Have you had a chance to take a look at this new Cytomax?

  4. @Kevin

    Interesting info. Thanks for pointing that out! I haven’t been using many sports drinks lately and have not tried the new Cytomax or even looked at the details, though.

  5. The entire point of the fructose is because we have glucose and fructose pathways that we can uptake the fuel from, and a combination of some fructose with primarily glucose has been proven to have performance benefits. Fruit also has fructose. Why hold a benefit against it in a review?

    • @Connor

      Indeed, a combination of glucose and fructose in sports drinks can be beneficial. I have no problem with that.

      I’m saying that a drink containing both high fructose corn syrup and multiple artificial sweeteners is sort of ridiculous.

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