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Sports Drinks...Marketing Ploy or Helpful for Exercisers?

By February 28, 2008 - 1:59pm
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What do you think about sports drinks? There are more brands out there, targeting (or focusing on) women. Some have lots of sodium, calories and sugar. Others are low-calorie, and all claim to provide electrolytes lost after exercise.

How many of us low-to-moderate exercisers need our electrolytes replenished? Are sports drinks a marketing ploy for us to pay lots of money for something we don't need, or are they really beneficial in helping us drink more fluids after exercising?

What do you think?

Add a Comment5 Comments

I don't know how you'd juice without a juicer, lol! I always add an apple to make the carrot juice taste good. Juicing allows the nutrients to be absorbed more quickly by your system than eating the raw produce. But, personally, I think it's a whole lot easier to grab a V8, and that's much healthier than a soda, any day. :)

Benefits of juicing: http://macrobiotics.co.uk/juicing.htm

March 3, 2008 - 8:43pm

Okay, so this is really off topic, but I gotta ask... how do you make carrot apple juice without a juicer, and make it taste good, too?! :-)

Well, to bring this back ON topic... what are the benefits and disadvantages of drinking fruit and/or veggie juices? I tend to stay away from them, because of the saying, "don't drink your calories". And, I thought you didn't get much benefit of the nutrients (especially fiber).. so should we just eat the apple and carrot, or is there a benefit in drinking juice? OR...is juice just compared to being better than a soda?

thanks for the info, in advance!

March 1, 2008 - 2:41pm

Ever since Gatorade was introduced to the masses, people seem to think it has to be downed with even the slightest amount of activity. Not!

Electrolytes are best in times of illness, to replace certain minerals like sodium, potassium and magnesium, etc. But, I don't know many runners who would down Pedialyte! Instead, we'll reach for more palatable Accelerade or Powerade, or something similar. Accelerade is the only sports drink, at the time of this writing, that also contains protein.

There are sports drinks, like Propel, that are probably okay for average/moderate activity. One does lose salt during workouts, and you still need hydration. Sports drinks are better for hydration during and after, even before, rigorous workouts, as water alone cannot provide enough of the nutrients or minerals lost, or needed, for energy and recovery.

Crazy people like me, who are almost continually in training, require refueling and recovery sports drinks. Yes, there is a difference! But, we need the high carb content to help replace glycogen stores used by our muscles in vigorous workouts.

A really good discussion of hydration and sports drinks can be found in "Performance Nutrition for Runners," by Matt Fitzgerald http://www.rodalestore.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10002&storeId=10051&productId=43339&langId=-1

Otherwise, most people probably would not get much benefit from daily intake of sports drinks. Vitamin-enriched drinks, maybe. Personally, I think most people would gain bigger benefits from making their own carrot apple juice.

February 29, 2008 - 6:06pm

I think they are mainly marketing ploys but like the above poster said, sports drinks are actually good for you when you are sick as they replace the electrolytes that we lose from our systems when we are unwell.

But in general, I think of them in the same way as the new vitamin waters. If you are eating well and staying hydrated, there should be no need for all these sports drinks that are often high in calories. A balanced diet with good protein, fiber and plenty of fruit and veg should cut out any need for all these expensive drinks.

February 29, 2008 - 2:17pm

Not sure if someone like myself (a moderate exerciser) really needs a sports or a recovery drink following a work out but it's probably beneficial to someone who works out rigorously. So on a day-to-day basis, probably not.

On the flip side, I did have an emergency room doctor recommend a sports drink when I had a pretty nasty stomach flu. He told me our bodies can't digest food because we don't have enough electrolytes in our system.

His suggestion was to start with a capful of a sports drink and double the 'dosage' every 15 minutes. After a few hours, I felt much better and didn't have to stay parked in the ER hooked up to an IV.

February 28, 2008 - 2:43pm
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