This is a question many of us ask. There are so many products on the market. Are they safe? Do they really help? Is it all just hype?
Sports drinks were designed as just that – drinks that provide quick and adequate hydration for athletes participating in sports, helping them to hydrate and energize while replenishing electrolytes before, during, and after sustained, vigorous physical activity.
Read that carefully!
This doesn’t say sports drinks are designed to be consumed as a drink when thirsty. However, due to mainstream marketing, they’ve become the drink of choice for many of us whether we are working out or just choosing a beverage. Should they be used this way?
It’s not a simple answer. Perhaps, yes, if you participate in high-intensity endurance exercise lasting 30 minutes or more, such as cycling or running. Sports drinks can replenish electrolytes, fluid and fuel. If you are engaging in stop-and-go or burst activities, like basketball, tennis, soccer or hockey, sports drinks can help keep your energy high. However, if you are exercising less than 30 minutes, water is a better choice for rehydrating yourself.
So, armed with this knowledge, the choice is yours to make. If you opt to consume sports drinks, keep these things in mind…and READ the label carefully.
- Try to find a sports drink with 110 to 200 mg. of sodium per 8 oz. of drink.
- Look for a sports drink with approximately 14 grams of carbohydrates for every 8 oz. of fluid
- Choose a drink with a combination of carbohydrate sources, like sucrose, glucose and dextrose. These combinations are quickly and easily absorbed from the gut, for that burst of energy you are looking for.
- Avoid drinks containing only fructose or galactose. These are not easily absorbed, so you’ll get a lot of calories for a little benefit.
- Pick a sports drink that tastes good to you!
If you are trying to keep your hydration levels up, good ‘ole water is the best option!
Drink to your vitality!