Sports Drinks: Rechargers or Energy Drainers?
The idea of sports drinks came around in 1965 when researchers developed a formulated drink specifically for the University of Florida Gators Football team. This drink was designed to meet the needs of athletes in a high energy and high intensity work environment through an easy hydration method.
Marketers try to advertise sports drinks as an energy booster, most often with an athlete endorsing the product. However, these advertisements fail to mention that sports drinks were created to help athletes replenish nutrients lost while performing intense physical activity for a long period of time. Unless you are training for several hours a day to your full output, these sugary drinks are just as unhealthy as a soft drink. These drinks were not designed for the average person to maintain a healthy body. They were designed for professional athletes that perform extremely high intensity workouts.
Sugar and Carbohydrates
Sports drinks are chock full of sugar and carbohydrates. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a daily reference value has not been established for the sugar content in sports drinks. It simply goes toward the drink’s total carbohydrate count. While carbohydrates and sugar can help replenish lost electrolytes and the drink can help restore body fluids lost during a game, a sports drink is simply not made for the average human body.
The drink is meant for sports players who lose body fluids and electrolytes faster than the body can restore them. The drinks were designed to meet the needs of a sports team to help prime their bodies before intense physical activity, recharge the body during exercise, and recover during rest periods. Consuming the same amount of sports drinks that professional athletes do will contribute to a variety of health issues to a moderate exerciser as well as render an average workout pointless. If you are burning fewer calories than you are taking in, these drinks will contribute to obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Take a look at the nutrition label on the back of the bottle. The calories listed on it have a purpose. They are meant to be used during high intensity exercise, and any unused calories will be stored as fat. If you are on a low calorie diet – its best to save those calories for food that will actually fill you up and provide your body with the right nutrients it needs to function at its full capacity.
The carbohydrates found in the sugars of sports drinks can provide your body maintain electrolyte balance and provide you with more energy if your workout lasts more than 60 minutes. If it is less than an hour, it is best to rehydrate with filtered water. Hydrate before, during, and after your workout to ensure that you are allowing your body to replenish the amount of fluid lost during the course of the exercise.
Many people choose energy drinks over filtered water as a hydration choice simply because the taste of water is too plain. To combat this issue, your favorite fruit can be added to the water for flavor. Infusions such as lemon, grapefruit, lime, mint, cucumbers, and rosemary are all great detoxifiers. During a workout, our bodies constantly release toxins. Many sports drinks contain toxins that our kidneys have to work hard to process. Why put toxins in to the body as it is working hard to release them?
Tap water can also contain toxins such as chlorine, chloramines, lead, pesticides, herbicides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), synthetic organic compounds (SOCs), and mercury as well as many other unregulated chemicals that we inadvertently expose our immune system to through simple everyday tasks such as bathing or drinking a cup of tap water. It is just as important to filter your water as it is to cut out energy drinks on an average day or during an average workout.
Aquasana offers a variety of filtration options such as the AQ4100 Shower Filter and AQ5300 Undercounter Drinking Water System. These systems use carbon and KDF (copper and zinc) media to filter out the toxins and chemicals that leech into your body and make your workout harder than it should be.
Do your body a favor and hydrate the healthy way.
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