Sports Drinks Receive Distorted Perception

Man drinking sports drink

Many individuals believe sports drinks are healthier than fruit drinks and sodas, and this mindset is reflected in active people, both children and adults.

Researchers explain sugar-sweetened soft drinks have been receiving negative press from other sugar-sweetened drinks, particularly sports drinks. Related to nutritional benefit, however, there is not much difference between the two.

In a study of more than 15,000 students in 8th and 11th grade attending Texas middle and high schools, the results were shocking.

About 22% of boys and 17% of girls were considered obese, and nearly 80% explained they consumed at least one sugar-sweetened beverage the day before. Also, nearly 30% of students explained they consume at least three sugar-sweetened beverages every single day.

The study examined exercise and eating habits of these students and found teens who drank more of these beverages also practiced unhealthy eating habits. They also were less active.

However, teens who drank sports drinks exclusively were more likely to exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Water or Sports Drinks?

While soda does in fact contain less sugar than sports drinks, the difference is really insignificant.

In some cases, beverages accounted for upwards of 20% of overall calories per day for some students.

Water is just as good if not better for overall hydration, and contains 0 calories.

Severe dehydration requires electrolyte and sugar replenishment found in sports drinks. For most, water is more than enough hydration.