3 reasons sports drinks are a bad idea

Sports drinks have become the new water when it comes to exercise.

But are they the best thing for you?

Sure they aid in replenishing electrolytes and hydration, but there are adverse effects if you’re drinking them for the wrong reason.

Athletes who participate in long, high-intensity workouts, especially in hot conditions, are the perfect candidates for these sports drinks.

Not so much for people who are taking a walk in the park or a trip to the grocery store.

 

Sugar

Even though the sugar in sports drinks is less than it is in soda, it still contributes to weight gain and tooth decay.

The current amount of sugar in modern-day sports drinks practically exceeds the recommended daily limit.

Women should consume up to 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons), while men should have up to 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).

Some sugar is certainly OK, depending on the duration and intensity of a workout.

Athletes who do longer and higher intensity workouts can tolerate the excess sugars in their diets.

An exercise longer than 60 minutes or activity in the extreme heat warrants a sports drink to supplement lost fluids.

 

Sodium 

Too much sodium can be detrimental to one’s health in the long run.

Over time, too much sodium can result in high blood pressure plus increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Immediate impacts of excessive sodium intake leads to dehydration.

By consuming sports drinks, your sodium level increases and can dehydrate you even more.

Severe dehydration is very dangerous, and in extreme cases, can even be deadly.

College of Charleston athletic trainer Armer Alcorn believes sports drinks serve an intended purpose of replenishing fluids, such as electrolytes, lost through exercise “if, and only if, those bodily fluids are lost.”

“Research has shown it takes vigorous exercise to lose the fluids, primarily through sweating,” says Alcorn, the graduate assistant athletic trainer at the College of Charleston. “Otherwise sports drinks are high in sugars and sodium, which are detrimental when consumed in unnecessarily high amounts.”

 

Calories

Sports drinks are packed with unnecessary calories that can hinder any attempts at weight loss.

Plenty of other drink alternatives provide the hydration athletes need post workout.

Milk, water and coconut water all have noticeable benefits, while not significantly impacting your caloric intake.

Frequent and vigorous exercise can rapidly burn calories, which are important to replenish.

Some athletes prefer to restore calories through drinks rather than food, so they opt for the sports drinks.

by Franny Schulte

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