Hydration: Water vs. Sports Drinks- Which is Best?
Sports drinks are becoming more popular among athletes and the general public for hydration after exercising. They have a great taste and seem to hydrate quickly, but you may not realize all the harmful effects they can have on your body.
Sports drinks like Gatorade contain high levels of carbohydrates, sodium, and other electrolytes that are essential to replenish yourself after working out. However, these drinks are not appropriate for people who participate in light to moderate exercise. When you consume too much of these products, harmful effects can occur such as high blood pressure, upset stomach and possibly kidney stones. Not to mention some sports drinks usually contain harmful colorings, acid, and preservatives. They also can make you even more thirsty because of the added sodium, leading to overhydration.
When choosing something to replenish your thirst, I always suggest water! Water is the ultimate natural beverage and it will quench your thirst and make you feel hydrated for a long time. If you like to engage in any form of exercise I suggest adding fruit to your water to get extra electrolytes and nutrients. It also tastes great!
Types of fruit to add to water: Strawberries, lemons, oranges, limes, grapes, blueberries, and raspberries.
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Coso, J. D., Estevez, E., Baquero, R., & Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2008). Anaerobic performance when rehydrating with water or commercially available sports drinks prolonged exercise in the heat. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism, 33(2), 290-298.