Sports Drinks: Healthy or Unhealthy?

sports drinks on table

At Office H2O, we get asked time and time again whether or not sports drinks are healthy or unhealthy. Everyone from pro athletes to soccer moms looking for the best way to keep their kids hydrated ask whether or not sports drinks are a viable replacement for water when looking to stay hydrated. Should you be guzzling sports drinks rather than water and are they good for you?

Today, Office H2O will be answering whether or not sports drinks are healthy or unhealthy, when is it appropriate to go with a sports or electrolyte drink, and when it’s best to go with water. After reading this article, we feel that you will have enough information to make the best possible choice for yourself.

When Should You Drink Sports Drinks?

Sports drinks and electrolyte drinks often seem like the best way to quench your thirst when exercising or performing physical activity but, according to experts, there’s a limited group of people that should be consuming them. The expert recommendation in terms of who should be drinking sports drinks is that adults and children should only have them during extended periods of heavy exercise that lasts longer than an hour. According to Andrew Nish, MD of UnityPoint Health, “Water, water, and water should be the beverage of choice for hydration before, during, and after physical activity or exercise routines lasting less than one hour.”

According to Dr. Nish, it is highly recommended to drink 16 ounces of water, not a sports drink, two hours before intense exercise. After a prolonged period of intense exercise, rehydration should mainly be done with water, especially if the athlete in question has been consuming a sports drink during the actual event. That being said, 8 to 16 ounces of a sports drink would not be unreasonable after an intense workout.

Why Sports Drinks Can Be Unhealthy for You

It is important that we discuss the ways that sports drinks can actually be unhealthy for you, making water the primary choice. Put simply, the ways that sports drinks can be unhealthy can be observed simply by thinking about their origin.

Sports drinks, such as the popular Gatorade brand, were specifically designed for athletes performing vigorous physical activity. These drinks, therefore, were never intended to be consumed by the general public. Unfortunately, they have been marketed to the masses as a great alternative to water in terms of staying hydrated. In reality, most people consuming sports drinks will not become a better athlete overnight. Rather, they’re likely to just gain more weight.

Put simply, sports drinks, electrolyte drinks, and any sugary drinks should not be consumed as meals or snacks and certainly shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement for water. Oftentimes, these types of drinks only lead to excessive calorie intake and actually increase the risk of obesity in both adults and children. Additionally, consuming too many sugary drinks, such as sport drinks, can lead to tooth enamel erosion. These are health risks that aren’t posed by water – the best choice for hydration.

How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?

In saying that water is the best choice in terms of daily hydration and exercise lasting under an hour, you may be wondering how much water you should be drinking on a daily basis. Put simply, the average person should be drinking between 8 and 12 ounces of water every hour, especially during the heat of the summer. If you find yourself working in the heat of the day on a daily basis, you will need even more water to stay hydrated – likely somewhere between 12 and 16 ounces a couple of hours before beginning work.

As always, Office H2O is a believer that a great way to measure whether or not you are staying hydrated with the proper amount of water is by looking at the color of your urine. Light yellow urine, for example, is indicative of proper hydration while dark, more concentrated urine is indicative that you are not properly hydrated. Further, if you become thirsty, it’s a good sign that you have waited too long to hydrate with water. Other signs of dehydration include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Dry mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Extreme thirst
  • Low energy

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is likely that you aren’t properly hydrated and should follow the above recommendations to boost your water intake.

Boost Hydration with Office H2O!

Now that you know the ways in which sports drinks can be unhealthy, it’s time to boost your hydration with Office H2O!  If you’re looking for a way to stay hydrated consistently, Office H2O is proud to offer bottleless water systems that make it easy for everyone to stay hydrated. Whether you’re looking for a way to make access to water convenient in your home or office, our bottleless water systems get the job done! Stay hydrated each and every day by picking out a system for you and your family.

There are so many reasons to love our bottleless water systems, including the fact that our devices come equipped with the latest water purification technology, employing a 9-stage filtration process to ensure your water is safe to drink. Further, when you purchase a bottleless water system for your home or office, you’ll be joining us in creating a healthier planet, one drop at a time. Browse our selection today and find the perfect system for you, kiss sports drinks goodbye, and start getting hydrated!

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