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Sports Drinks Not the Best Option

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The runner is racing toward the finish line and sweat is running down sunkissed skin. The crowd cheers as the race is completed in record time. A sports drink is immediately placed in the runner’s hand and is gulped down, producing a smile and invigorated eyes. This scene may be a typical sports drink commercial, but do sports drinks really create the same results as the ones depicted in these advertisements? Popular beverages such as Powerade and Gatorade claim to refresh and reenergize in their advertisements and bottle labels, but their claims may be a myth. Their abundance in sugar and calories is not a healthy energy boost for athletes, and is even worse for those who do not exercise on a daily basis. Many people already know about this and believe that sports drinks are just sugar, which is partially true. However, the sports drinks myth goes much deeper and is a lot more complex.

The main ingredients within sports drinks are electrolytes, sugar, and water. According to Chemical and Engineering News, the most common electrolyte used is sodium. Intense exercise causes sweat and, consequently, the body loses sodium, these electrolytes replenish the body’s sodium levels. Too much sodium ruins the taste of the sports drink, but too little does not complete the job of maintaining healthy sodium levels. Because of this, manufacturers often input, at most, 20 mM of sodium, which is not enough to make up for the average amount of sweat lost.

On top of sodium, figuring out the proper amount of sugar is not easy. If the concentration of sugar is too high, the body will have a hard time transferring the fluid’s sugar from the stomach to the bloodstream. On the other hand, a small amount of sugar results in insufficient energy and a distasteful drink because of the unbalanced levels of sugar and sodium. Most manufacturers go for the former and add an unproportionally large amount of sugar.

“I don’t really recommend drinking [sports drinks] because they’re super sugary and not really good for you,” CHS sophomore and member of the Frosh girls’ basketball team Kailee Landis said. “If you’re a non-athlete, then you probably shouldn’t [drink sports drinks] because you’re not exercising a lot and you won’t be burning off all those calories.”

Instead of typical sports drinks which contain tremendous and unproportional concentrations of sugar and sodium within their water levels, other alternatives can be utilized to experience an energized exercising session. There are healthy options that are available for anyone to choose from and can work more efficiently than sports drinks

“Water keeps you hydrated,” CHS freshman and member of the Frosh softball team Brianna Romero said. “It does give you energy and if you want some flavor in it you can add lemon or fruits.”

Sports drinks are very commonly pictured together with forms of exercise, but are often not the most beneficial companion. The main goal sports drinks manufacturers set is to create a delicious and sweet tasting beverage, despite how they are often advertised to be consumed for exercise. For a great workout, keep those sports drinks in the fridge and grab a nice, cool bottle of water instead.

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The student news site of Claremont High School
Sports Drinks Not the Best Option