The Problem with Sugary Sports Drinks

Like many products marketed to people who are trying to get in shape, sports drinks seem like a good idea.

As it turns out, sports drinks may actually be contributing to the problem that sent you to the gym in the first place. From loads of sugar to potentially fatal overhydration, sports drinks aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Gatorade, Powerade and other sports drinks are designed to replace electrolytes lost through sweat while working out. When we sweat, we lose sodium, potassium and chloride, three electrolytes that are necessary for our overall health.

Some sports drinks also contain carbohydrates or caffeine for an energy boost. However, as Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health-care system in Texas, notes, sports drinks’ primary purpose is to hydrate.

“The risk of adverse effects increases if [sports drinks are] consumed when no exercise is present. If an individual is already dehydrated the sugar in a sports drink may actually increase dehydration,” states the Baylor Scott & White Health reference page on sports drinks.

They’re not health drinks

Surprisingly, consuming sports drinks is correlated with a number of unhealthy habits that contribute to obesity and conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

In a 2014 study conducted by the University of Minnesota, researchers found that adolescents who drink sports drinks are more likely to smoke, engage in sedentary activities and drink more sugary beverages than peers.

The study found that regular sports drinks consumption was linked with increased rates of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Adolescents who drank such drinks were also likely to have participated in an organized sport in the previous year.

However, subjects were also likely to play video games for longer periods of time than their peers. Boys who consumed sports drinks watched television for an additional hour per week as opposed to their counterparts.

Perhaps it goes without saying that fostering a taste for sugary drinks makes us want more of the same kind of treat. The study found that both boys and girls were more likely to consume other sugary drinks like fruit juice or soda than other adolescents.

Both genders were also more likely to have at least tried cigarettes than subjects who didn’t consume at least one sports drink per week.

As the study states, “The observed associations between consumption of sports and energy drinks and these unhealthy behaviors are troubling because they may indicate a clustering of problem behaviors among some adolescents.”

Plain water usually best

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids should never consume energy drinks, and they should avoid drinking sports drinks in most cases.

While sports drinks can be helpful to young people engaged in exercise, the AAP states that water is the far better choice.

“For most children engaging in routine physical activity, plain water is best,” said Dr. Holly J. Benjamin, MD, FAAP at the University of Chicago Department of Pediatrics. “Sports drinks contain extra calories that children don’t need, and could contribute to obesity and tooth decay.”

This data isn’t a warning reserved for children and adolescents. If we’re not active, we certainly don’t need the extra sugar, carbohydrates and calories in sports drinks.

What’s more, we put ourselves at risk of being too hydrated if we consume sports drinks when we don’t need them, which can throw our bodies out of balance. From artificial colors and flavorings that can interfere with our endocrine system to increased overeating, sports drinks present several drawbacks for people who aren’t exercising.

A natural alternative

When we feel dehydrated, we’d be better off grabbing a cool glass of filtered water or a bottle of coconut water.

In fact, natural coconut water can replace electrolytes lost during exercise in a natural and healthier way, and with a boost of even more minerals than a bottle of Gatorade. So why stock up on the sugary, almost neon-colored sports drinks when a natural choice is so much better?

5 Worst Things to Keep in Your Wallet

Every year millions of Americans see their money and personal information fall into the wrong hands, and the consequences can be devastating. To protect you and your good name, we've

Feed Your Gut Bacteria This to Support Weight Loss

Did you know that there are billions of bacteria hard at work in your digestive system? Without them, you wouldn’t be able to break down or absorb nutrients from your

This Lemon, Turmeric, Coconut Oil Tea Will Relieve Your Pain FAST

It’s a great idea to use all-natural remedies wherever possible. After all, the possible side effects of over-the-counter pain relievers can be frightening. Long-term use can even be dangerous. That’s

Save Thousands A Year By Cutting These Expensive Habits

Once a person being gets so used to engaging in expensive habits, it can be hard to stop. Even if it is pointed out to them how financially wasteful their

5 Expenses You Must Never Cut Corners On

Reducing your living expenses is generally a good thing, as it can help you live within your means and save money as well. With that said, there are certain things

New Link Discovered Between the Immune System and Brain

This incredible discovery after so many decades where the lymphatic system was already believed to have been completely mapped out is considered game-changing. Researchers are certain it will open new

What You Might Not Know About Fiber Supplements Could Hurt You

Eating a high fiber diet has many advantages, including keeping your gut healthy and happy, boosting heart health, gut health, and improving weight loss efforts. The majority of Americans fail

Which is Cheaper, Streaming or Cable TV?

There are many similarities between the streaming technology and the traditional cable TV technology that allows you to watch both live TV and on-demand, but there are also some key

Here Are The Seven Richest People in The World

What would give to add a huge number of zeros at the end of your annual income and be among the richest people in the world? While the rest of

When is the Best Time to Sell or Buy a Home?

Getting the optimal time to buy or sell a home is a profound question. It depends largely on who you are, whether you are a seller or a buyer. Traditionally,

As Monkeypox Spreads, Government Orders Shots for Just 4% of Americans — Ready in 2023

Most of us have been breathing pretty easily and without a mask after two years of panic over the coronavirus, but now there is another virus making its way to

Can Probiotics Make You Happier?

When we think about a healthy diet, we think of whole, real-food sources of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and carbs. However, one component that we may sometimes overlook is probiotics.