Recommended Calorie Intake Of Added Sugar For 5 Year Old Sports Drinks Vs Water – The Ugly Truth

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Sports Drinks Vs Water – The Ugly Truth

Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade…

In the 21st century – energy drink ads are everywhere. You can no longer turn on the TV or open a magazine without seeing an ad for these glorified potions. These drinks seem to be taking over the fitness world and you only have to go down to your local gym to see how popular they are.

So what exactly are these so-called “sports drinks” and what do they claim?

A sports drink is a drink designed to increase energy levels, replace electrolytes and maintain hydration. So let’s see how they claim to do it:

Increase your energy levels

Sports drinks are full of sugar – a 500ml bottle of Lucozade energy contains 21 teaspoons of sugar! To put this into perspective, a can of Coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. When these sports drinks are consumed, our body converts all the sugar into glucose, which is released into our bloodstream. This glucose gives our body energy – giving us that “alert” feeling.

The problem is that glucose is a very short-lived energy source and has harmful effects on the body. When we drink sports drinks, our body has to produce large amounts of insulin to help our cells absorb the glucose from our bloodstream. Any excess glucose is then converted into fat in our liver and stored in our cells. Insulin also inhibits the breakdown of fat in our body. Both of these factors promote fat storage and are counterproductive when you consider the reason people go to the gym!

The counter argument is that sports drinks will give you the energy you need to perform an intense workout – providing benefits that far outweigh the negative effects of a sports drink. I say it’s a terrible argument, and here’s why.

The average person who visits the gym performs moderate-intensity exercise for approximately 30 minutes. Let’s imagine that their exercise of choice is running – in which case they’ll burn around 250-400 calories per session. Now let’s imagine they consume a 500ml bottle of Lucozade Sport which contains 140 calories. That’s about half of the total calories they burn by being in the gym just from consuming an energy drink. So for every 10 minutes of running he only burns 5 minutes of calories…

What’s even worse is the sugar in a sports drink – which is bad for two reasons.

1. As explained earlier – consuming sugar causes a spike in insulin levels, which promotes the accumulation of fat in our body.

2. When glucose is readily available in our bloodstream, our cells will use it as a primary source of energy. As a result, the energy we need to exercise will come from the glucose in our blood. If we didn’t drink a sports drink, our cells wouldn’t have access to this glucose – meaning they would have to get energy from breaking down our fat.

As you can see – sports drinks are a counterproductive method for someone who wants to lose weight. However, proponents of sports drinks will still claim that they give you the energy you need to perform. However, this is again a flawed argument.

The average gym goer has access to more than enough energy to complete 30 minutes of exercise. They will likely have glucose in their bloodstream that day from their meal, and if they run out of glucose, they may break down fat stores to fuel their bodies. The only time sports drinks are beneficial is for ultra-endurance athletes – those who exercise intensely for hours on end. But still, there are far better sources of energy – what’s wrong with a good old banana? Not only is it much better for your body than sports drinks, but it breaks down much more slowly, so it provides sustained energy over a long period of time – as opposed to the short spike that comes from glucose. In short – sports drinks are just as bad for us as sweets and there are much better ways to give our bodies the energy they need to exercise.

Exchange of electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals found in the blood and cells that help regulate body fluids. The most famous of them are sodium and chloride.

During exercise – the body’s electrolyte balance can begin to shift – and as the body loses electrolytes through sweat, the imbalance can result in symptoms such as muscle cramps, fatigue and nausea. Sports drinks take advantage of this by promising that they can replace electrolytes in our bodies and prevent these symptoms. While there may be some truth to that – it’s irrelevant to the average gym goer. Our bodies lose electrolytes relatively slowly, so unless you exercise for more than an hour, your body will be able to address its electrolyte imbalance without the need for sports drinks.

Hydration

The final promise of “sports drinks” is to keep you hydrated. Staying hydrated is an important part of any workout because the body loses water much faster than it loses electrolytes. Lack of water can lead to dehydration, which results in fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness and poor concentration.

However – do you want to know the best way to keep your body hydrated? WATER

There is absolutely no better way to hydrate your body than to drink water – and lots of it. What’s more, it’s free, contains no calories and has a number of benefits for your body.

Another problem with sports drinks is that they encourage you to drink before you feel thirsty. The reason, they say, is that once you feel thirsty – it’s too late – and dehydration has already set in. This is absolute nonsense and there is simply no scientific research to support this claim. Our bodies are extremely complex machines that have evolved over thousands of years. Since water is the most important element for our survival, I’m sure our bodies have evolved the ability to warn us when we need to drink (before we get dehydrated). And how does he do it? That’s called being thirsty!

The fact is, we don’t need to drink water until we feel thirsty, because that’s our body’s way of telling us that we need to drink. The danger of drinking before feeling thirsty is that it can lead to overhydration – which is very dangerous. It is very rare for people to die from dehydration, but it is very common for people to die from overhydration.

So there you have it..

Sports drinks are completely unnecessary for the average gym goer:

– They contain a huge amount of sugar.

– They are rich in calories

– They promote the accumulation of fat in your body.

– They are a short-term source of energy.

– They are useless in terms of electrolyte replacement unless you exercise for more than 1 hour

– They are an expensive form of hydration – water is free and more effective.

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