Sports drinks help you “go the distance”, according to the marketing. And by drinking them, you’ll be able to push your body that little bit further. Well, unless you are an elite athlete, like Dan Carter, we at Turner Lim Orthodontists do NOT recommend them.
What sports drinks do
During vigorous exercise, if you lose more fluid than your body can replace through sweating, you can become dehydrated. Dehydration will affect your performance because your blood comprises mainly water. This causes your blood volume to decrease and means your heart must work harder to circulate blood throughout your body.
So, the purpose of sports drinks it to hydrate you by replenishing your body with carbohydrates and electrolytes.
Sports drinks are supposed to hydrate you faster than water can. In reality, you’re only likely to need them if you lose more than a litre of body fluid in an hour. And here lies the problem: Everyday sportspeople, particularly children, are highly unlikely to ever lose that much body fluid during exercise. To make matters worse, many people drink sports drinks just because they like the taste — they don’t even play sport!
Read about Richie McCaw and sports drinks.
A recipe for tooth decay
By drinking sports drinks, all you are doing is bathing your teeth in a sugary, acidic solution between meals — a solution that will stay in your mouth for about three hours. This can result in nasty stains on your teeth or, in serious cases, tooth decay. Recently, we had a young patient who loved playing soccer and drinking energy drinks. Unfortunately, his love for brushing his teeth wasn’t as powerful, and they began to rot away.
Sports drinks worse than Coke
It’s common knowledge that Coca-Cola, due to its high sugar content, is bad for our teeth and plays a part society’s obesity problem. However, health professionals believe many sports drinks are worse.
Water is best
In most cases, there is nothing better than water for staying hydrated. And sports coaches now tend to recommend their athletes drink it instead of energy drinks.
Here’s a tip for staying hydrated when exercising:
- Drink about half a litre of water two hours before you begin your exercise.
- Then, about 15 minutes before you start, drink half a cup of water.
- During exercise, take a squirt of water every 15 minutes.
If you still feel that you need something more, you can get a dose of electrolytes in tablet form — without the sugar and artificial ingredients.
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