Even if you never buy them, it’s hard to avoid sports drinks. Sports beverages are a billion dollar industry, and countless numbers of people rely on them to rehydrate during workouts. Despite their popularity, sports drinks might do more harm than good.
Sports Drink Benefits
Sports drinks love to trumpet their electrolyte content. For those who aren’t dieticians, electrolytes are group of salts and minerals found in a number of foods. Once in the body, these substances have the ability to conduct electrical impulses. Two examples of electrolytes are potassium and magnesium.
During exercise, our levels of electrolytes decline notably, leaving the body more susceptible to injury. Chugging a potassium-filled drink during a workout can offset this nutrient loss. For all of its qualities, water cannot make this same claim. A more alluring benefit of sports drinks is their taste. These products are sold in a variety of flavors, ranging from lemon-lime to strawberry. Water, in contrast, just tastes like… well, water.
The Strings Attached
Unfortunately, all that flavor comes at a price, thanks to the prevalence of sugar in these products. In fact, sugar can account for up to 9 percent of a sports drink’s contents. Sugar is a carbohydrate, meaning that consuming it in large quantities can easily add pounds to your waistline.
Furthermore, sugary sports drinks can also do a number on your smile. Research published in The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice found that sports drinks might even out do sodas when it comes to major tooth decay. The reason for this dental damage was not just attributed to these drinks’ sugar, but also their artificial flavoring and colors.
Ultimately, it’s probably best to save sports drinks for extensive, physically taxing workouts. For all other situations, water is the healthier choice.