Cris LaBossiere

Cris LaBossiere
Strength training and mountain biking. My two favorites

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sports Drinks Associated With Healthy Living, But Not Differentiated From Pop

Physically active people are more likely to consume sports drinks, and in general sports drinks are perceived as being "healthy".

In fact most sports drinks are not very nutrient dense, and aren't meant to be.  Sports drinks are meant to be used during prolonged physical activity, but I'm sure the manufacturers don't mind if you consume them casually, and not just during prolonged exercise.  It's easier to sip a sports drink from a water bottle than eat a banana while playing hockey, jogging or cycling, and the sports drinks that have around 6% carbohydrate solution have been shown to be absorbed the best (energy gets to your muscles quickly).

How do you know if the sports drink you choose has about 6% carbs?  Easy.. there will be around 6 grams of carbohydrate for every 100ml of sports drink; this information will be on the nutrition label. 

The association of health with sports drinks has lead to a concern that many will opt for a sports drink instead of a pop thinking that they're making a healthy choice.  While many sports drinks are less calorie dense than pop (but some are the same), consuming extra sugar calories unnecessarily is not a great choice.

Once physical activity is longer than 45 to 60 minutes carbohydrate replacement becomes important in order to continue performing.. otherwise you'll run out of gas.

If you're not exercising for long periods then sports drinks have no real purpose.  If you're looking for a healthy snack, you're better off with an orange, apple, banana etc (which are also far cheaper!).

There are no studies showing consuming vitamin water is superior to good nutrition, or is of any added benefit with good nutrition.  There are studies showing that vitamins are absorbed better from foods than from pills.  

It seems strange to look towards vitamin water to try and get vitamins, when eating a single carrot (super cheap) will provide far more absorbable vitamin A than vitamin water will, ditto for vitamin C from an orange. 

Use sports drinks for sports, avoid consuming extra the sugar calories when you're not active enough to require the extra calories.

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