Sports drinks have become very popular in the United States and many people assume that they are the best drink during a workout. In reality, sports drinks are only best for endurance athletes working out longer than one hour or during a competition.
Sports drinks replace electrolytes to ensure that endurance athletes are properly rehydrated. They also contain 6-8% carbohydrate to supply the athlete with energy. The carbohydrates are what give the drink calories which are beneficial for an athlete but counteractive for someone exercising to lose or maintain weight.
If it is the taste of sports drinks that you crave, try a zero calorie water substitute. These drinks come in many flavors and usually have added vitamins.
Ultimately, water is the best beverage choice when exercising. Water is one of the most essential nutrients our bodies need and even just slight dehydration can negatively impact performance. An easy way to monitor hydration is by urine color, which should be pale yellow in color.
For more information, see Be wary of energy drinks on the MissouriFamilies website.
Contributors: Jenna Silverthorne, Dietetic Intern, KU Med; Denise Schmitz, M.A., R.D., Nutrition & Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org, 816-482-5854