Is water better for hydration than a sports drink? Sports drinks, in the opinion of some, are the finest option for quenching your thirst before and after exercise. Others, though, will assert that the typical gym goer can survive on simply drinking water. How are you supposed to know when to choose one over the other to manage the dehydration symptoms?
There are many types of athletes, according to Erin Famulare, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers. Knowing that hydration plays a part in sports performance, some people worry about it. Others just know they need to hydrate themselves when exercising. For instance, according to Famulare, the fluid needs of a softball player in a leisure league and a marathon runner preparing for the Olympics are extremely different.
When Are Sports Drinks A Wise Decision?
Electrolytes like salt and potassium and carbohydrates like sugar are typically found in sports beverages. Additionally, each serving of these beverages could have up to 150 calories.
For athletes, replacing the fuel lost during intensive exercise through sweating and calorie burning requires a supply of carbohydrates and electrolytes. Sports drinks can offer an efficient method of replacing these depleted nutrients. During a high-level, prolonged sport, athletes may think about consuming sports drinks, especially in the heat.
Why Can Sports Beverages Be Harmful?
Due to the taste and electrolytes provided, many individuals choose sports drinks over water. While the typical sports drink only has 140 calories, 34 grams of added sugar (69% of the daily dose), and 270 milligrams of sodium (12% of the daily value), it does contain these other ingredients. Many people who exercise and want to reduce their intake of calories, sugar, and sodium may choose water over sports drinks.
What Makes Water A Good Decision?
Water is the best option for hydration because it is free, readily available, hydrating, and calorie-free. Water is also typically not used in conjunction with other resources like plastic bottles. The ordinary person probably only needs to drink water when exercising.
What Choices Are Available For Hydration?
Except for alcohol, all liquids count toward your body’s hydration. Hydration is provided by liquids such as water, juice, coffee, tea, milk, fizzy drinks, soups, and the water found in fruits and vegetables.
When choosing what to drink regularly, it’s crucial to consider what else can be in your fluid intake in addition to water. A few additional hydration options are:
- Nuun pills
Drop a tablet into 16 ounces or more of water, then wait for it to completely dissolve. The finished product contains the electrolytes and minerals that athletes need, including calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium, along with 15 calories and 1 gram of added sugar.
- A little juice
If you dislike the flavor of plain water, think about drizzling in a little 100% fruit juice for some added flavor.
- Mild sports juices
The “zero” or diet versions of sports drinks are options to consider if you’re watching your calorie and added sugar intake. Despite having no calories and no added sugar, some sports drinks nonetheless contain sodium and potassium.
- Coconut liquid
Despite having some electrolytes by nature, coconut water still includes calories. Check the labels of your beverages to make sure you aren’t consuming more calories than you desire or need.
“Everyone needs to drink enough water, says Famulare. It’s among the healthiest things you can do, says the proverb.”