Sports Drinks: Are They Good for You?

sports drinks - are they good for you? Center for Family Medicine

Due to the millions of dollars spent on advertising each year, the general population often has the misconception that sport drinks are healthy. Because of this, many people think that sports drinks are a healthy alternative and are needed to help re-hydrate and re-energize. What people are often not aware of is that sports drinks are often not needed and, in general, not good for you.

The selling point of sports drinks is that they contain sodium and potassium, which are vital for our cells and their everyday functions. The truth is, if you are a generally healthy person, it is very difficult to use up your bodies storage of sodium and potassium. Hydration with water and eating a balanced diet is often enough to replace your electrolytes levels and keep them from being depleted. Unless you are an extreme athlete, think marathon runner or iron-man triathlete, and training for multiple hours each day you more than likely do not need a sports drink for hydration or electrolyte replacement.

In general, sports drinks add unnecessary calories to your diet and are packed with high levels of sugar, often times as much as a can of soda. They also offer no substantial evidence that they are more superior than water. Multiple studies have shown that sports drinks are not necessarily better for you when it comes to hydration. If you want to stay hydrated in the heat and during exercise it is hard to beat good old-fashioned water. If you feel like you do need some electrolyte replacement, coconut water is a low-carb, sugar-free alternative that also boasts other several health benefits.