Water VS. Sports Drinks

While watching any sporting event you’ve probably noticed the athletes sipping on brightly colored liquid that’s not water. In today’s blog we wanted to take a deep dive in the age-old question (well not really that old) of water vs. sports drinks. Which do you need? Can you get by on just water? Are sports drinks good for you? Do they even help? Let’s take a look.

As most of you know, water makes up the majority of your body and is critical to proper body function.

Did you know you loose water through urine, sweat, feces, your skin and through the air you exhale? That’s why it’s important to stay hydrated.

Although needs can vary, the recommended daily fluid intake is 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for adult women and 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for adult men.

The Main Ingredients in Sports Drinks

Water is the main ingredient in sports drinks, but they also contain other substances, including carbs and electrolytes, which are supposed to improve performance.

The carbs in these drinks are often in the form of sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose, but they may also be found in other forms.

Typically, sports drinks are 6–8% carbohydrates. A 6% solution contains about 14 grams of carbs per 8 fluid ounces (240 ml).

However, some sports drinks are low- or zero-carb in an effort to appeal to those who want water and electrolytes without extra calories.

Electrolytes, or minerals that have an electrical charge, are essential for your body’s normal operation.

The main electrolytes found in sports drinks are sodium and potassium .

Although there are several different brands available, there is likely not a large difference in the effectiveness of the major sports drinks on the market.

While much research has been conducted on sports drinks, some people have questioned the validity of these studies.

Specifically, some have raised concerns about the relationship between the large companies that make sports drinks and the scientists performing the studies.

Are Sports Drinks Beneficial?

Research shows that consumption of sports drinks during long workouts may have some benefits. Replacing much needed electrolytes, carbs and of course water has benefits. Researchers are unclear if they are beneficial during short workouts. While there are some benefits to drinking sports drinks, research shows that those benefits could only be minute.

In a recent study done on trained cyclists, researchers found that sports drinks only had a 2% impact on their performance.  2% doesn’t seem like a lot but it could be the difference between winning and losing. Keep in mind these are the best of the best athletes that were being studied. If you’re a trained athlete who is working out for prolonged periods then sports drinks can have an impact. If you’re casual exerciser then the amount of carbs in these drinks may not be beneficial. Please do your own research and make sure you are always aware of what you are putting in your body.

If you’re still not sure, feel free to consult one of our trainers and remember, water is key. Stay hydrated!

See you at The Wave!