It turns out drinks that are marketed to athletes could actually be doing more harm than good.
It’s becoming more common for kids and teens to bring a sports drink to practice instead of a water bottle. But some doctors say, it’s just as bad as drinking pop. And they’re often more harmful than helpful for young athletes.
They’re bright, fruity and thirst quenching. But sports drinks aren’t usually necessary for amateur athletes.
Your body only needs that boost after well over an hour of vigorous exercise.
Jodi Robinson, registered dietician: “You’re losing so much water, so much carbohydrate and so much electrolytes, particularly sodium — having one of these sports beverages can help replace that so you can perform longer and better.”
Sports drinks are often gulped down at high school competitions, when water would be a better choice.
Jodi Robinson: A lot of people have this perception that they’re so much healthier for us, especially if we’re active and we’re athletes. So people tend to over-consume them. So no matter what your sweetened beverage is, you want to reduce them.”
Some sports drinks contain more sugar than candy — and if you make them a habit, they can do a number on your teeth.
Dr. Avin Gupta, pediatric dentist: “I kind of tell parents to think of it as a liquid version of a chocolate bar.”
The sweet liquid gets between your teeth, creating pockets of acid. that’s what causes cavities.
Dr. Avin Gupta: “If teeth are being weakened already, by the acid caused by the sugar in these sports drinks, you’re starting off with a weakened tooth that you’re going to need your entire lifetime.”
While they’re useful for high performance athletes and victory celebrations, you’re generally better off sticking with good old H2O. And that message is catching on with kids.
“I don’t usually drink sport drinks. I think there’s a lot of sugar in them.”
“They’re really bad for your teeth so I’m not supposed to drink those.”
You can get low sugar sports drinks that still offer electrolytes, so that’s an alternative. Many doctors are also recommending chocolate milk after an intense workout. It offers protein, carbohydrates, water and gives you a sugar kick to boost your energy.