Sports Drinks vs. Water
When you’re sweating for an hour at the gym, should you grab a sports drink like Gatorade, Powerade, or one of those enhanced water beverages? Can water really be enhanced? When did plain water become less than enough?
Remember that beverage called water? Your grandmother used to drink it. It’s on the shelf next to Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Powerade, Propel Fitness Water, and all those other fruit-flavored, brightly colored, cleverly named “enhanced water” beverages. Well that drink—the plain, boring one without the sugar and sodium—is the one your body really wants. Maybe not your taste buds or your eyes. But the rest of your body wants clean water.
Advertisements for enhanced water and sports beverages lead us to believe that our water is missing essential ingredients that hydrate our bodies. However, what our bodies need to be hydrated is just pure water.
Looking for a spurt of energy in your water? Sports drinks offer their greatest benefits during a workout by helping to delay muscle fatigue. The carbohydrates and electrolytes they contain are for athletes who work out for 60 minutes at a very high intensity or 90 minutes or more at moderate intensity.
The sugars in your sports drink that are used to supply you with that quick blast of umph are also supplying you with an added 100 or 200 calories a bottle. That means that for most people, who work out for 60 minutes or less at a moderate intensity, water should be your drink of choice.
Fruit, nuts, or seeds can supply those ever-mentioned electrolytes just as easily as Gatorade can. The difference is that enhanced beverages contain salt and sugar compelling our bodies to feel thirsty and to drink more. No matter how many sports drinks you down, they will never quench your thirst the way water does.
The only way to really satisfy thirst is to drink plain old water. As boring as it sounds, our bodies need it more than 16.9 oz. of Strawberry Kiwi flavored liquid calories.
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