Picking A Healthy Sports Drink For Better Hydration

Updated on September 1, 2020

When our body notices it has a low glucose supply, it sends a lot of signs from the brain to all parts of the body almost immediately. When hypoglycemia occurs, causing headaches, lethargy, dizziness, shakiness/trembling, or in most cases hunger, we can easily remedy them, as most symptoms get in the way of our ADL (Activities of Daily Living). 

In the case of dehydration, it might not be as straightforward as thirst. Best Health Magazine explains in their blog other symptoms precede thirst to warn us that dehydration is about to happen in our body. These symptoms may be cracked lips, poor skin turgor, muscle cramping, and loss of concentration most of the day. 

Water Vs. Sports Drink

For people with normal activities that don’t require them to lose a lot of sweat, water seems to be enough. But just because you’re not sweating doesn’t mean you aren’t losing some percent of the H2O inside you. 

According to a study, we lose about 3 liters of water daily just from normal bodily functions like urinating, sweating, and even breathing! If we lose that much just from doing normal stuff, what about athletes? That’s why if you noticed, on top of water, they also take in sports drinks to keep up their intake with their output.

When to Consume Sports Drinks

So, when does exactly your body prefer sports drinks? 

When you have strenuous activities and you expect to sweat a lot, consider getting a sports drink along with your water. They have added ingredients and minerals that’ll make sure your body keeps the optimal body water level at average. If you’re planning to run a marathon, a sports drink during and after will give you an extra boost in stamina. It also has potassium, a key ingredient that prevents your muscles from cramping during these events.

As for H2O, it is desirable during a short, non-intensive workout. If not, just as often as you can, especially when you end up thirsty. Though do not overdo it. There is such a thing as water intoxication that happens when you consume too much water for your body to metabolize.

What’s Inside These Colorful Drinks?

The main ingredient is, of course, H2O. But manufacturers also add electrolytes that help regulate your fluids and keep your muscles moving, as well as protein and sugar.

Some have sugar and protein, though sports drinks that exclude them are almost always preferred. Sugar becomes somewhat of a bad apple in most sports drinks due to most of them adding processed sugars instead of fructose or other healthier choices. Some electrolyte sports drink infused with fructose from fruit juices and coconut water, twice the amount of electrolytes that you need. Unlike simple sugars and empty calories, fructose is sweeter and healthier.

Sodium is a cation residing in fluids outside of cells. There is a saying that goes: Where sodium goes, water follows. Thus, this electrolyte is important in keeping all those fluids in your cells to not dehydrate them, while the kidney processes extra sodium and excretes them through the urine. This is also in charge of many nerve and muscle functions.

Potassium is another important mineral found in these drinks. This site: https://chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Essential_Nutrients_for_Endurance_Athletes.shtml has a deep discussion about electrolytes, and mainly how indispensable potassium is. 

This cation is in charge of muscle contractions and heart function (the electrical system of the heart) and is ironically the electrolyte least to be consumed. But fret not, as potassium is both accessible and cheap, found mostly in bananas and potatoes (Bake, do not peel, as the skin gives extra potassium.)

Live with H2O And Run with Sports Drinks

In conclusion, water still hasn’t lost its place in being life-giving and essential to the human body. It still is the best selection whenever you’re thirsty, no carbonated liquid, sports drink, or fruit juice can quench that. It is still the most accessible and practical choice.

But sports drinks took its niche in people’s lives, especially athletes that require extra, and what water normally can’t offer. Just be sure, if you are going to have one, to choose a healthy choice, one that isn’t packed with flavoring, artificial coloring, and processed sugar.

+ posts

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.