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Sonic pickle juice slushee

Need a Post-Workout Recovery Drink? How About a Pickle Juice Slushee?

Depleted after a workout? Good news – Sonic will introduce pickle juice slushees this summer.

Oklahoma City-based Sonic gave Food & Wine magazine the scoop on this upcoming delicacy, which will be available at Sonics nationwide starting in June.

The story got picked up by a lot of television stations over the last couple of days, mostly for the “what did they just say?” effect of the news. And the Food & Wine article did note that pickle juice is undergoing a bit of a trendy popularity run in some bars at the moment.

But what didn’t get a lot of attention was that Sonic may be onto something for people leaving the gym. Athletes have been drinking pickle juice after workouts as a way of replenishing some of the sodium and electrolytes lost through sweat for a few years. It’s got the salt and the water you want – but without the sugar that’s in most sports recovery drinks.

Syracuse basketball player Michael Gbinje may have helped popularize it a bit after he was seen on camera drinking juice straight out of the pickle jar several times a few years ago, and reporters started asking him about it.  He said it helped him avoid cramps – which is the same thing sports beverages are marketed for.

The New Jersey Devils hockey player Blake Coleman is also known for hitting the juice.

The cramp thing has been tested by SCIENCE and shown in a couple small studies to shorten cramping, though the evidence is mixed.

“Pickle juice, and not deionized water, inhibits electrically induced muscle cramps in hypohydrated humans,” concluded one 2010 study. Some doctors have worried it could actually make dehydration worse, but the concoction hasn’t been studied a lot.  And at least one study found that pickle juice basically didn’t do much of anything. 

That hasn’t stopped the The Pickle Juice Company from trying to capitalize on the anecdotal evidence, and generations of high school athletes who have heard from a brother’s friend’s dad that he should drink pickle juice to recover after practice.

The company actually has a sports drink made with pickle juice that it markets as a cramp remedy.

“Football players, cyclists and triathletes have been sipping dill-flavored drinks, including bottles of The Pickle Juice Company, LLC, for years,” the company says on its website. It cites a study done at North Dakota State. “Those who downed the brine stopped complaining of cramping within 85 seconds — about 37 percent faster than the water drinkers and 45 percent faster than when they didn’t drink anything at all.”

Sonic probably doesn’t care. They’re making no promises about any medicinal properties. They’re just selling a pickle juice slushee.


Feature Image: Sonic

About David Royse

David Royse
David Royse is the Editor-in-Chief of Ledetree.com. He has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years, including stints with The Associated Press and The News Service of Florida. He enjoys writing about health and medical science, and hopeful stories about scientific breakthroughs and new technology.

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