Sports drinks have been around for quite a while. Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water are some big names, but are these drinks good for us or just a bunch of sugar-loaded water?
Well the short answer is that sport drinks are good if you are working out for 60 or more minutes, or exercising very intensely for a shorter amount of time.
Water has no sodium and also helps fluid get around the body to the right places. Frequently sipping small amounts may help you avoid cramping. Also, chugging the drink will actually cause you to lose fluid as it will send a signal to your brain causing you to urinate. Staying away from caffeine is also important as it might cause you to crash.
Now, when you’re looking for a good sports drink you want a drink that has 13-19 grams of carbohydrates per 8 oz. serving, and 80-110 mg. of sodium per serving.
Gatorade is the most solid choice in my opinion, based on its 110 mg. of sodium and 14 grams of carbohydrates.
Although sports drinks can be beneficial, they can also be harmful. I see plenty of people picking up a Gatorade or Powerade and drinking the whole bottle. One 32 ounce Gatorade has 56 grams of sugar per bottle, which is just about the same as a soda.
Sports drinks are good if you are working out intensely, but if you’re just walking around campus, it is not worth picking one up. If you are a person who is sugar conscious but wants a break from water once in a while, try coconut water. This is a drink that I’ve mentioned before and will probably mention again.
Coconut water has as much as five times the amount of potassium then in Gatorade or Powerade. Potassium will help in fighting off muscle cramps while working out. While coconut water has less sugar per bottle than the average sports drink, it doesn’t have the same amount of sodium, which is what retains fluid.
In the end, your choice of drink all comes down to your individual needs. If you work out at an intense level, a sports drink like Gatorade or Powerade would be a good choice in moderation. For those who work out at a moderate level, try coconut water. For those who haven’t tried it before, I suggest getting a flavored one.