What's in Your Sports Drink?

What is actually in your Sports Drink?Gatorade vs CokeFall Sports seasons are starting up all over the United States. It’s not uncommon to see coolers of Gatorade and other various sports drinks. Most athletes drink these liquids without any thought about whether or not it is helping to hydrate them or perform better. Most athletes don’t even consider what is actually in their sports drink. Gatorade claims it will keep you hydrated while providing electrolytes to keep athletes performing better. But what is actually in a bottle of Gatorade or other sports drinks? Do these drinks actually do anything to hydrate or help you perform better?When looking at the label on a Gatorade bottle, there are actually very few ingredients that make it up. There is sodium and potassium (electrolytes), carbohydrates (sugar), and then they also list sugar. In a nutshell, Gatorade is basically salt water, flavored and colored with artificial ingredients, and sweetened with sugar for taste. When compared to a can of soda, there actually isn’t much difference between a bottle of Gatorade and that soda. In fact, a lot of sugary drinks that are considered to be bad for you have almost the same composition.Here is a breakdown of some popular drinks:

Drink Potassium Sodium Sugar
Gatorade (bottle) 65 mg 250 mg 35 g
Soda (Mt. Dew Can)   65 mg 46 g
Monster   360 mg 50 g
Red Bull   200 mg 27 g
Vitamin Water     32.5 g
Powerade 87.5 mg 375 mg 52.5 g

 The first question people generally ask when they see this chart, is why so much sodium? Sodium and potassium are two main electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes make it possible for electric current to be conducted so that your brain and nervous system are able to communicate with the rest of the body. We lose electrolytes when we sweat, so we need to replenish them. Sodium also has the secondary effect of making you very thirsty. You are essentially drinking salt water. To make the salt water taste better, companies add TONS of sugar. So why is this a problem for athletes and overall health?Sugar is known to give you energy followed by a “crash." Though temporary energy is good, the crash can reduce the athlete’s performance in the long run. Sugar is also the main culprit in the obesity epidemic in the United States. On average Americans consume 76.7 grams of sugar a day. The equivalent of 19 teaspoons. Sugar is also shown to have devastating effects on your overall health.When choosing a drink for hydration and performance, still one of the best options out there is water. It’s not only inexpensive, but it will hydrate you and provide the necessary electrolytes. There will also be no “crash” and the athlete won’t suffer in performance. You also won’t be feeding your athlete tons of sugar, which in the long run will improve overall health. If a quick energy boost is needed, Optimal Chiropractic carries products that are all natural to give the athlete the energy they need without the unhealthy by-products in other products. For more information contact Optimal Chiropractic today!