Everywhere you look nowadays in stores or on billboards there is a new line of sports drinks claiming to do everything from increasing your focus to replenishing your body and detoxifying your system. The ads will have you believe that these drinks are a tool for becoming the super athlete and fitness pro you always dreamed of and they also give the overall impression of being the healthy choice. But what should we believe in? Are these drinks really good for you? Is your body really craving those well-hyped nutrients and electrolytes?
Most health experts agree that sports drinks that have electrolytes and sodium are beneficial to professional athletes and marathoners. Lets face facts: Most consumers of sports drinks are just regular everyday people, and a half hour on the elliptical is not exactly at par with a marathon run.
Like soda, sports drinks can be habit forming. The sodium and glucose in many formulas can lead people to drink to excess. Not only is the sodium a factor in increased voluntary fluid intake but the flavor and sweetness have a role as well. Unfortunately, at 50 calories in an 8-ounce serving, you may be getting an energy boost, but you are also getting a serious dose of calories and sugar.
The truth is that for the everyday athlete there can be negative side effects of too much. An athlete that drinks an energy drink before a game might feel energetic for a while, but as the glucose levels rise in the body, it will lead to a sugar crash. An athlete is likely to feel lethargic, rundown, and listless within a couple of hours after consuming the energy drink because the sugar levels in the body will go from really high to really low, and this can be dangerous during sports. In addition, the sugar, sodium, and other ingredients can lead to dependency and dehydration, which is the negative intended effect of drinking sports drinks in the first place.
The bottom line is that while sports drinks can help competitive athletes, students taking gym class and casual exercisers simply do not need them. Sports drinks add extra empty calories. Water is the best re-hydration drink for most exercisers.