Are sports drinks good for you?
Speaking about sports drinks Powerade and Gatorade, it is important to mention that they are produced by Coca-Cola and Pepsi - and the content of these drinks is, in fact, similar to the composition of ordinary sweet soda. The only difference is the addition of "electrolytes" (in fact, the minimum amount of salts) and the emphasis on advertising that these products are vital for athletes.
Nutritionists regularly remind that the aforementioned sports drinks differ from ordinary cola only in taste and lack of gas in them (1) . Despite the fact that the carbohydrates contained in Powerade can be useful in training for muscle growth (for example, to close the carbohydrate window ), such “sweet waters” cannot be recommended to children or those wishing to lose weight for adults.
Powerade Composition and Calories
Powerade sports drink contains ordinary water, fast carbohydrates (dextrose and fructose), acidity regulators, salt (sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, etc.), sweeteners ( sucralose ), stabilizers, flavorings and colorings (2) . The total sugar content is about 4 g per 100 ml - or two teaspoons per glass. Calorie content - 16 kcal per 100 ml.
The key focus of advertising - the content of electrolytes in the drink - is designed exclusively for those people who are not aware that ordinary table salt contains many times more electrolytes than brightly colored sweet water. Despite the fact that the benefits of salts to replenish the mineral balance of the body are unambiguous, they can also be consumed with ordinary food.
The benefits of electrolytes for athletes
In the middle of the last century, scientists at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa suggested that drinking a drink containing fast carbohydrates and salts in the form of electrolytes could have a positive effect on the result during a marathon. Primary test results were promising. However, it is important to note that these same scientists then refuted their claim (1) .
Indeed, if an athlete does not drink enough liquid during a marathon, this can negatively affect its final results (as well as excessive use of water ) - but under the liquid, scientists tend to consider ordinary pure water, and not sugar mixtures at all. There is simply no scientific evidence on the benefits of electrolytes or sports drinks.
Do sports drinks work?
Professor Tim Noakers from Cape Town University in his scientific articles notes that studies proving the positive effects of sports drinks on training results were conducted directly by manufacturing companies (i.e., Coca-Cola Company and Pepsico), and tests were performed exclusively by professional athletes, not ordinary people at all (1) .
Even though the use of such drinks can really be useful for increasing the effectiveness of training, the body needs about an hour to fully absorb Powerade. In other words, do not assume that a sip of a sports drink will magically make you stronger - it does not contain caffeine and is not an energy drink.
Powerade - The Enemy of Weight Loss and Fat Burning
The aforementioned professor of sports medicine Tim Noakes argues that without the use of sports drinks, the duration and effectiveness of your training will most likely be higher than after a Powerade bottle containing about 25-30 grams of fast carbohydrates (1) . Not to mention that you will burn more fat.
In fact, the calories contained in such a bottle are equivalent to a thirty-minute run at an average pace - and all this time the body will not work at all in the mode of spending fat reserves and not in the mode of losing weight (2) . Among other things, the presence of glucose in the blood will practically block the fat-burning processes in the problematic fat lying on the stomach and sides .
Problems with regulatory authorities
The influential European Food Safety Authority has carefully analyzed and tested over a hundred advertising claims for Powerade and Gatorade sports drinks. As a result, it was found that only six of the pluses claimed by the advertising are true, and the benefits of these drinks are manifested exclusively in high-intensity training for more than 60 minutes.
The head of the organization, Professor Albert Flynn, noted in a statement that manufacturing companies deliberately mislead customers by selling sports drinks in ordinary supermarkets and showing football players and other professional athletes in advertisements (1) . In fact, Coca-Cola uses all the resources available to it to sell more sugar.
Opponents of sports drinks argue that a Powerade or Gatorade advertisement, which convinces consumers of the close relationship between practicing various sports and compulsory use of their products, openly deceives people by significantly exaggerating the need and benefits of buying “sports water."
Sponsorship of such sporting events as the Olympic Games and all kinds of football tournaments (for example, the UEFA Champions League), achieved through billions of dollars of advertising budgets of sugar concerns, are designed to convince consumers that the next high-calorie drink is useful and “sports”. However, this is completely wrong.
Numerous studies and influential sports doctors have long been saying that the benefits of sports drinks for sports are very doubtful. The statement that these drinks are necessary for regular jogging or for doing low-intensity sports (for example, fitness or yoga ) is nothing more than a crude advertisement.
Scientific sources :
- BBC Panorama - Powerade - Does It Work ?, source
- The composition of the drink "Powerade ION4 - Ice Storm", source
- Sports drinks: the myths busted, source
- Three Sports Drinks to Avoid, source