Understanding the Sports Drink Anatomy

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If there’s one thing athletes and bodybuilders cannot leave their homes without – it’s a sports drink. It’s already part of your daily routine, right? It’s what fuels you to a heavy workout at the gym.

However, sports drinks have also gained negative views. Some say they’re bad for oral health, or cause blood sugar spikes, and other reasons that make people stop drinking them.

Let’s look at the sports drink anatomy discussed by sports dietitian Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN on My Fitness Pal:

The Anatomy of a Sports Drink

As you chug down your favorite sports drink after a long workout to rehydrate, have you ever wondered what exactly is in that bottle? To understand the effects of a sports drink on your body, take a look at the main components and what each one does to help your performance. Read more…

Not bad, but the article has mentioned a few ingredients that are actually bad for the health. Dr. Soram Khalsa breaks down these harmful ingredients:

Do Sports Drinks Really Work … and Are They Healthy?

We won’t mention any names, but one of the country’s leading sports drinks claims its “unique blend of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates has been shown time and again to be an optimal hydrator, keeping athletes at the top of their game.”

Among its benefits, the sports drink’s web site says, are a special blend of sodium, potassium and chloride that replenishes minerals lost through sweat, along with electrolytes to help regulate a number of body functions.

But a closer inspection of the sports drink label reveals ingredients that are arguably not healthy at all. Among them high-fructose corn syrup, listed as the #2 ingredient after water, sucrose syrup (a sugar solution) and yellow 5, an artificial food coloring. Read more…

That is why it’s very important to read food labels. Even the “sugar-free” or “natural” labels may contain harmful additives that wreak havoc on your health. If you still want to continue your sports drink consumption, I suggest you choose your brand very carefully.

Aside from a sports drink, you can also try other drinks, chemistry expert Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. gives you the pros and cons of your options for a pre workout drink:

Effectiveness of Sports Drinks

What drink is best for getting and staying hydrated during exercise? Should you choose water? Are sports drinks best? What about juice or carbonated soft drinks? Coffee or tea? Beer? Read more…

Now that we have broken down the sports drink anatomy, you might have noticed that the three articles I’ve mentioned suggests one thing – drink MORE water. Drink lots, even.

The bottom line is,  water is the best and the most natural way to hydrate yourself, and it doesn’t have any harmful side effects.

True, sports drinks are good for a strenuous workout at the gym, but it may cause more harm than good in the long run. If you really want to sip on something with flavor, you can drink your favorite sports drink, but you have to drink more water to help your body flush out the toxins.

Alternatively, you can add flavor to your water by mixing it with lemon and cucumber. These also hydrate and detoxify your body. Whatever sports drink you choose, just make sure you maintain a healthy, balanced diet!

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