What makes a good sports drink?

This month, my readers have a new way to consider good choices in sports drinks. Do they need a sports drink at all? If we do need a sports drink how do we choose?

I make my decision based on how bodies use sports drinks. I hope you like this fresh perspective.

I’ll also offer my “Popular Sports Drinks Comparison” to those who sign up and follow upcoming blog posts. Click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of your screen at any time to participate.

Parents and coaches! It’s important to read to the end. Kids can be hurt by sports drinks and you’ll need all this information to make good choices for your young athletes.

When should a person grab a sports drink?
How much sweat and for how long are the key considerations. For less than an hour or exercise in hot weather, sports drinks will not increase performance unless the person sweats a lot. Water is perfect for that 5 mile run or 45 minute bike ride. Keep that water flowing! On a hot day, 24-32 oz of water per hour isn’t unreasonable. That means two ounces or so every 5-7 minutes depending on how much a person sweats. I barely kept that rate on a 13 mile bike ride last weekend while thinking I was pounding down the water!

What makes a good sports drink?
Exercising over longer periods of time, especially in hot weather, slowly depletes the mineral content in our body. A good sports drink replenishes lost sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium levels. How a specific drink does that is really important for best performance. Here are tips for selecting good sport drinks.

High amounts of mineral salts aren’t useful all at once. The key is to give the body what it needs as it’s needed.
Good drinks don’t add sugars that require digestion. No sucrose, high fructose corn syrup or complex carbs should ever be in a sports drink. This fact tosses out many of the cheap drinks. When digesting, the body moves blood away from limbs and to the stomach. A bit of sluggishness could increase the risk of injury.
Parents and coaches – lobby to get those free orange water tubs off of your team’s sidelines with it’s candy-like sugar drink mix. Youth are very sensitive to advertisement and they need advocates! I can be an advocate of good science for you to your coach.
Good drinks may not satisfy thirst. For long sweaty outings, we have to drink past the point when we feel our thirst is quenched. A little saltiness keeps us wanting more liquid.
Artificial sweeteners are not helpful. Repeated usage may disturb our ability to feel full at the right time. I’ll blog about this topic at a later time.
Caffeine should never be part of a sports drink. Caffeine dehydrates and it doesn’t provide anything the body needs to replenish.
For more on the best and worst sports drinks, I appreciate an article by Paleoedge. I am pleased that Shaklee Performance was one of the two #1 best electrolytic drinks recommended.

Now for some special offers.

If you would like technical details behind these recommendations, please contact me.

For those who would like to receive my blog as it’s published, I’ll say “Thanks!” by sending along my “Popular Sports Drinks Comparison.” Wouldn’t it be great to have different brands set up side by side? Just click the “Follow” button on the right lower corner of the screen.

This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *