Sports drinks were first introduced in the 1960s. They are designed to rehydrate the
body and provide energy for athletes practising endurance sports.
What's in a bottle of sports drink?
Sports drinks consist of:
- carbohydrates in the form of sugars, which provide energy;
- water and mineral salts, including sodium, which replace the liquids and electrolytes lost through perspiration and help with rehydration;
- artificial flavouring and colouring, which make the product look and taste good.
When are sports drinks necessary?
In most cases, the liquids and mineral salts lost during sports activities can be replaced simply by drinking water.
Sports drinks can help deal with dehydration if you practise:
- high-intensity sports, such as running and other endurance sports, or sports activities that last for more than 60 minutes (not counting warm-up and cool-down);
- sports played in a very hot or humid environment;
- sports such as hockey and football that require players to wear protective equipment.
Otherwise, sports drinks are not recommended, particularly if you have a sedentary lifestyle or take part in medium intensity sports.
Sports drinks are not calorie-free. A 710 ml bottle contains approximately 200 calories or, the equivalent of four chocolate-chip cookies. Unless you expend more than 200 calories during your workout, the excess calories stored as fat can lead to weight gain.
The high sugar and citric acid content in sports drinks can lead to dental cavities. Sports drinks can be just as bad for our teeth as sweetened soft drinks.