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Athletes and Hydration: Sports Drinks vs. Water

Beverage manufacturers spend countless dollars marketing sports drinks as healthy ways to hydrate during strenuous physical activity. Unfortunately, this aggressive advertising has caused many people to over-consume these sugary drinks. If you’re wondering whether sports drinks really give you an advantage over water, consider the following:

What Are They?

Invented in 1965, sports drinks are marketed both to athletes and everyday consumers as hydration solutions that supposedly enhance performance. Although they come in a variety of forms, most contain similar ingredients, including electrolytes such as chloride, potassium, and sodium, along with a substantial amount of sugar to quickly restore energy. While these ingredients can offer positive benefits to athletes, they can also have negative effects on consumers who consume sports drinks recreationally.

Who Needs Sports Drinks?

According to health experts, sports drinks aren’t really necessary for people unless they’re participating in intense or prolonged exercise. Generally, if your workout lasts less than an hour, water should be enough to hydrate your body. On the other hand, because athletes lose a significant amount of sodium through sweat, they can benefit from the electrolytes found in sports drinks, since these essential substances work to move fluid to the right places within the body.

Who Doesn’t Need Sports Drinks?

For average, everyday people, sports drinks make little sense. Besides being expensive, they can actually cause problems for people who are exercising to lose weight. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average sports drink contains five teaspoons of sugar per every 120 ounces. Because sugar contains numerous calories, it promotes weight gain. At the same time, since it’s rapidly digested, sugar can also cause insulin spikes, which can trigger the body to create and retain fat.

woman holding water bottle & infusion water bottle

Making a Smart Choice

Because intense, competitive sports take a toll on the body, they can leave athletes depleted. In these cases, sports drinks can improve performance by restoring lost calories and electrolytes. On the other hand, most of us can easily get the hydration we need using a simple drinking water filter, which provides clean, fresh-tasting water without the added sugar and calories. Go ahead and drop expensive sports drinks and buy some Pelican Sports bottles today.

Pelican Combo System Salt-Free Water Softener Whole-House Water Filter