Hydration Basics: Sports Energy Drinks

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Hydration Basics

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Sports drinks are meant to replenish fluids and nutrients lost during exercise.  Their combination of fluids, carbohydrates, sodium and potassium makes them an ideal activity drink. The are great for people working out for more than an hour, or for less than an hour but very intensely. You can sip on the during your workout. Or you can indulge after your workout.

If your exercise level meets these levels, hydration basics say indulge yourself wisely with a sports drink. However, sports drinks may not be the best choice for low-intensity or short-duration workouts.  For a brisk 20 minute walk or other short or low intensity activity, water is the best choice. Hydration basics 101!

Sports Drinks Content

Sports drinks can contain a few ingredients that aren’t necessary for a low-intensity workout. Hydration basics lend the following advice.

Sugar: Sugar is a key ingredient in most sports drinks. It’s an ideal way to get carbohydrates to working muscles. But if you’re trying to lose weight, an extra two to five teaspoons of sugar may not be a smart choice. We are talking about an 8-ounce serving. Most bottles are now double that size, so double the sugar.

Sodium. While helpful for higher levels of activity, most of us don’t need an extra dose of sodium. You want to keep your eye on sodium content. Another hydration basics 101 practice.

A recent polling of sports enthusiasts rates the following among the best sports drink choices nutritionally:

  1. G2 Low Calorie Electrolyte Beverage Mix, FRUIT PUNCH Flavor
  2. G Gatorade Series 02 Perform Thirst Quencher Orange
  3. Gatorade riptide rush powder drink>
  4. Gatorade Sports Drink, Cool Blue

Energizing Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are popular among athletes because of their energy boost of caffeine. Science supports that caffeine may enhance athletic performance. However, with claims of providing the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee, drinks like Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar are popular as an every day drink. Often you’re getting a lot of sodium and sugar along with your caffeine jolt.

These aren’t drinks recommended for consumption on a regular basis, but if you feel like an occasional boost, there’s no harm in indulging. Environmental Nutrition rates the following among the best energy drink choices nutritionally:

  • 5-Hour Energy Decaf – only 4 calories!
  • 5-Hour Energy Drink Original
  • Amp Energy Boost Original
  • Red Bull Energy Drink, Sugar free

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing