August 9, 2010
Do You Really Need a Sports Drink?
You're headed to the gym or for a bike ride after work. Should you sip a sports drink before, guzzle it afterward or stick with water?
These drinks — Accelerade, Gatorade, Gatorade G, PowerAde, Pure Sport and more — provide water for hydration, energy in the form of carbohydrates and electrolytes that help the body retain fluids. Their ingredients are calibrated to meet the needs of athletes.
Sports drinks are mostly water, important for any active individual, whether a competitive athlete or fitness hobbyist. But a person's need for the added ingredients in the drinks (typically sodium, potassium and sugar, and, in so-called recovery drinks, protein) varies depending on how hot it is outside and how long and how intense a workout is.
Sports drinks typically provide about 15 to 18 grams of sugar in every 8-ounce serving. But for the average workout, people who are eating three square meals a day don't need the extra calories those carbs provide.
Sports drinks are for an hour to an hour-and-a-half or more of hard exercise, like a 100-mile bike ride or a 10-mile run.
The electrolytes sodium and potassium help keep a body hydrated, but most people don't become depleted in either mineral during a moderate workout. Sodium is already abundant in the American diet, and potassium is plentiful in lots of fruits and vegetables.
Posted by Lisa at August 9, 2010 3:46 PM
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