Study: Sports drinks not a good alternative when trying to stay hydrated


During the summer months, young athletes and their parents need to make hydration a priority. Most parents know this and take precautions, taking Gatorade and other sports drinks to events in an effort to make sure electrolytes are replenished while exercising. At least, that's what the advertising will tell you. Dr. Vanessa Curtis and the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's hospital doesn't buy it and warns parents that the drink they might be getting, is not much better than soda.

"I think we have done a pretty good job about educating the public that soda is bad because it has a lot of sugar. I think a lot of the places where soda has come out of the diet, the sports drinks has come back in," Curtis said.

Those drinks sneaking into a children's diet however, almost worse than soda. A typical 32 ounce drink might have up to 76 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 14 to 19 teaspoons of sugar. That also equals four to six times the recommended daily amount. According to a study by the American Academy of pediatrics the consumption of those drinks has gone up dramatically. in 2010, 56 percent of high school students drank at least one sports drink a week, that number has since gone up to 57.6 percent in 2015.

"The sports drink industry has marketed you want your kids to be safe and you want your kid to perform well but in reality for the majority of youth high school sports a sports drink is not necessary," Curtis says. "For the typical practice or dance class or ball game, it's unnecessary and unfortunately harmful because it's got empty calories and it's contributing to overweight and obesity and dental erosion."

The easiest solution remains the most accessible fluid for most of us.

"Any of us should really be drinking water for hydration and milk," Curtis said." No other drinks that have calories in them for the most part."

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