Gatorade, Powerade, and Vitamin Water – you see these popular sports drinks almost every day at your local convenience store and through television advertisements. Nearly all sports drinks claim to be the best at rehydration and excellent at replacement of electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during workout.
Just how effective are these sports drinks, really? Are they truly beneficial to you as they claim?
Long before sports drinks were introduced, there were reports of athletes collapsing during intense sports activities due to extreme dehydration. Countless sports drinks claim to be better than water.
Whenever you are working out, you lose electrolytes and carbohydrates through sweating. Most sports drinks, just like Gatorade, contain carbohydrates and electrolytes. Carbohydrates usually come in form of sugar and electrolytes are made up of potassium and sodium. Due to the ingredients of sports drinks, it’s easy to understand why they would seemingly be beneficial to many during exercise.
However, many nutritionists have actually debunked the misconception that sports drinks are generally better than water for every person who’s been working out.
For intense workouts that would last for more than 60 minutes, drinking sports drinks could actually benefit you. Sports drinks can quickly replenish the lost bodily salts and fluids; it could prevent dehydration as well. On the other hand, if your workout isn’t really rigorous or if the physical exercise would not last for at least an hour, sports drinks may actually do more harm than good.
Sports drinks might contain a lot of sugar – which, if your body would not be able to use during your workout, would just end up as unwanted fats. Furthermore, high sugar content could be harmful to your heart. Aside from excessive sugar, there are sports drinks containing artificial flavourings to give it a more delicious twist. Some chemical additives are usually found in most sports drinks, too.
At the end of the day, water might just be the safest choice for you – all natural, no preservatives, and no artificial flavours.