Could You Drink Chai Lattes for Marathon Fuel?
During this morning’s Chicago Marathon, and at most marathons, aid stations placed every 1 or 2 miles around the course often serve some sort of sports drink. While I’m pretty certain that Gatorade is the go-to this morning for race organizers (I checked the race website :P), I have to think about what might happen if instead of Gatorade, runners were given chai lattes. After all, Chicago is nicknamed Chi Town, and while I can’t say for sure if it was given this name for the city’s expert latte making skills, I can give you a pretty good estimate about what might happen if you used chai lattes for your race fuel.
Unfortunately, not all chai lattes are created equal, so to create a universal standard for this hypothetical, I’m going to go ahead and use the Starbucks version because they not only provide nutritional info online, but also because I’m currently using their wi-fi. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Likewise, we’ll go ahead and say that, like most sport drinks at marathons, our lattes will be in those quaint little 8 fluid ounce cups, conveniently placed on tables for you to grab if needed.
Calorically speaking, you might be surprised to hear that Gatorade (80 calories for 12 fl oz.) and chai lattes (120 calories for 8 fl oz.) are fairly similar. Likewise, the total carbohydrates in each drink at those same amounts are 22g, so there will be no shying away from necessary sugar intake. One could even argue that the black tea in the lattes will give you a supercharge as we all know caffeine to do (cc: Nick Symmonds).
Here’s the thing though: One of those tiny little cups of chai latte has a whopping 4g of protein in it, as milk makes up most of the drink. This wouldn’t be a big deal at first, and a runner could maybe even make it two or (I say hesitantly) three fueling stations—5 or 6 miles, let’s say—without having to worry that much. If one were to keep fueling up on chai lattes thereafter…well, I like to think it’d be pretty similar to a chocolate milk mile, only stretched out over the course of 26.2 miles.
But hey, I’m no expert on latte marathon fueling, so if you’re crazy enough to try this and it works out okay (not being hospitalized is a win in my book!), tweet us the result @CitiusMag! Likewise, be sure to keep an eye on our social media pages and CitiusMag.com if you’re just absolutely itching to get your fill on the Chicago Marathon.