The Truth About Sports Drinks After Exercise

Sports drinks can be useful, but make sure you know what you're drinking!

Many fitness experts seem to be torn about the efficacy of sports drinks after exercise. Some say they’re too full of sugar to do any good while others claim they’re a good way to replace bodily fluids you lose while working out. The truth is that sports drink usage varies for everyone. Some might benefit from sports drinks after exercise while others might not notice any difference between sports drinks and water.

Experts recommend drinking up to three cups of water for every pound of weight you lost while working out. If you exercise for long periods of time, a sports drink is permissible in order to replace electrolytes and give you more energy. Sports drinks are a good source of carbohydrate calories, but they also contain a great deal of sugar, which is a drawback for many.

Is It Really a Sports Drink?

Sports drinks began as colored, flavored beverages used mostly by athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Their great taste and seemingly beneficial health qualities caught on with the general public and now sports drinks are often just a substitute for soda pop during a meal or midday snack rather than a workout accessory.

There are now  also hundreds of “energy” drinks on the market, many of which parade as sports drinks but actually contain more sugar and caffeine than is necessary for anyone trying to lose weight through a workout.

Are Sports Drinks Better than Water?

You don’t need a sports drink to regain energy after a workout. Some experts say that other sources, like energy bars, contain just as many carbohydrates as sports drinks and can replace what your body lost without including sugar and caffeine at the same time. Be sure to read the ingredient label however, as many energy bars also contain many grams of sugar. If you choose this option, you can drink plain water to hydrate.

How Sports Drinks Can Be More Beneficial Than Water

Many individuals can’t stand drinking large quantities of plain water, and as a result, they don’t drink all that they need or they skip out on hydration altogether. If you opt for an energy or sports drink, you’re more likely to drink higher quantities of liquid and thus receive better hydration than if you were to go without completely.

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