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Do athletes really need sports drinks to stay hydrated? The Water vs Sports Drink Debate

While my hubby is working on the house, he is working up a sweat and he is trying to tell me he needs to drink a sports drink to rehydrate.  I beg to differ, but this led me to further research this.  Is it better to drink water or sports drinks in this case?  While I found tons of info on if you are working out, no info about drinking it to normally hydrate. According to a the Harvard Health Publications, sports drinks, namely Gatorade, were created in the 1960’s for the Florida Gator’s football team. It started out simple and now is a billion dollar research project. These drinks were initially aimed at endurance athletes but it now is directed at anyone who seems to exercise for more than a minute. I liked the chart below to see how to figure out if you would benefit from sports drinks.

Dr. Frances Wang from Harvard Team Physician for Harvard athletics says that you should use plain water for hydration and only drink sports drinks if you are experiencing leg cramps. The biggest concern is these drinks have a lot of unwanted calories. Some drinks have as much as 150calories and 10 tsp. if sugar. In some cases the sugar amount is just as bad as a soda.  According to the Harvard publication, they actually feel that athletes should avoid sport drinks all together and the result will be leaner and faster athletes.

Since last summer , I actual have started using Hydrate, developed by Harvard Sports Medicine  Dr. Nima Alamdari. Dr. Alamdari is now the Director of Scientific Affairs at Beachbody.  If I am doing vigorus activity like Muay Thai or 2 hours workouts I will add to 32 ounces of water. I like that it  has  no artificial colors, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, or preservatives. Here is some info on why it is better than sports drinks on the market.

  • It’s the ideal ratio of carbohydrates and electrolytes that, when combined with a specific amount of water, creates the optimal osmolality for rapid fluid absorption during exercise. Osmolality refers to the ratio of solute dissolved in solution. Typical sports drinks contain too much sugar, which raises the osmolality and makes them slower and harder to digest. They can cause gastrointestinal distress, and can even be dehydrating, which is the opposite effect you want during exercise. Hydrate solution is slightly lower than the osmolality of your blood, which means your body can absorb it better, easier, and faster—for the most effective hydration possible. More fluid absorption means better blood circulation to muscles and skin, which helps boost exercise performance, improve endurance, and delay exercise-induced muscle fatigue.

So in the end, I think the hubby on the roof will do just find with tap water.  I will save the performance products for when I really am killing my workouts! My son uses it when he is playing baseball in 90 degree weather for 5 hours! . As a family we need to really cut down on the amount of sugary drinks we consume and even though we have cut out soda when you look into it you realize that you aren’t really getting a better option.  I hope this gives you some info on the water vs sports drink for staying hydrated and I hope this helps you Live your Best Life!

Paula Ward AKA TuTuFitMama

To order and find out more about above product checkout Hydrate





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