Are Sports Drinks the Best Option?

Have you ever reached for the colorful sports drink while sweating after an activity?  I know I have done that several times.  It’s easy, colorful, tasty, and it is the best thing for your tired body…right? What is even easier is to give into your kids when they want a sports drink after finishing a sports activity.  Have you ever thought about if this is the best nutritional thing to do or if it’s just great advertising that gets you to drink these?

We’ve all seen the great sports drink ads that show the big tough athlete drinking (and sometimes even sweating) colorful liquids.  These colorful, great tasting and easily accessible liquids are in all grocery and convenience stores. There has been lots of talk about if they are really beneficial for you or not. So I decided to do some of my own research.

I recently stumbled onto an article from (which is an excellent resource for parents with youth athletes) that talked about sports drinks and if they are necessary. They reviewed an article by Nancy Clark, a certified specialist in Sports Dietetics.  After reading it I really questioned drinking sports drinks.  They suggest that eating a banana or yogurt with a glass of water before a game gets you the right nutrition and is a lot friendlier on your wallet.

The body needs hydration after strenuous exercising in order to replenish what is lost in sweating.  If you have a slight increase in sodium that will help you with fluid retention, or in other words help keep the water in your system.  However, most foods that we digest on a regular basis will provide us with the needed sodium intake.

Sports drinks are actually low in sodium and often high in sugars. They are more expensive than even bottled water and add unneeded sugar to your diet.  I’m not an expert by any means but I think I will stick with the much better option of water.  If your kids need the taste factor add a splash of lemon juice or lemonade mix to their second glass to encourage the intake. Other options could include making your own versions of sports drinks, I have copied a link that I found helpful for that method.

Bottom line—keep yourself hydrated and eat balanced meals!  That is the best advise for any age of athletes!

Have a Great Day!


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