Rethink Your Drink

There are so many options for staying hydrated during your workout. While some beverages boast added electrolytes and vitamins, they also may be a source of added sugar. Check out this brief guide to help you decide the best drinks for your lifestyle!

Reading the Label
Reading the label on sports drinks is essential for choosing the best beverage options. Make sure to look at the serving size as this can be misleading. Take a look at the Brand A bottle, which is 28 ounces, but the nutrition label reads for 8 ounces. This means that the values on the nutrition label are more than three times the amount shown. The Brand B and Brand C bottles show the nutrition for the whole bottle, however, would these really be the healthiest beverage choices? Brand B has 34 grams of sugar, and Brand C has 26 grams of sugar. This is above the AHA guidelines of 37.5 grams of sugar per day for men and 25 grams of sugar per day for women–all in one drink!

Brand A Brand B Brand C

 

When to Drink
As for the higher sugar beverages that are designed for sports performance, these may be beneficial for drinking before exercise. Our body burns carbohydrates during physical activity, and carbs are the body’s preferred source of energy. They also contain electrolytes which are beneficial for staying hydrated.

Healthy Suggestions
G2 is the low sugar option for Gatorade. Try this out to get the electrolytes that Gatorade provides without all of the sugar! Watering down beverages could be another great option for reducing your sugar consumption from these drinks. Buying the powdered form of your favorite sports drink allows you to control how much sugar you consume. Lastly, try to focus on drinking appropriate serving sizes.

Careful About Caffeine
Caffeine is known for its diuretic effect, which some people think may affect hydration. There is no evidence to suggest that moderate caffeine intake (300 mg or about 12 oz coffee) will jeopardize nutrition. However, genetics may play a role in your sensitivity to caffeine. Try to notice how you react to caffeine. Does your sleep improve when you drink less coffee? How does your pre-workout beverage impact your performance? Be mindful about your caffeine consumption to decide what works best for you! Curious about how much caffeine is in your drink? Check out this reference.

References:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-sugar-per-day
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278591906000718?via%3Dihub
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3368971/
https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-of-concern/caffeine-chart

Written by Margaret Peterson and Diana Ricketts