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Healthy Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are fast gaining popularity the world over as they help to boost the endurance level of a person. What exactly are sports drinks? Sports drinks are beverages that are made so as to help athletes rehydrate when their fluids are depleted, after either a competition or training. While exercising, especially with weights, an individual’s muscle tissue sustains a certain amount of damage and these drinks provide nutrients that aid the healing process. Keep in mind that these sports drinks are not a substitute for healthy meals but are meant to complement a diet.
Proteins and carbohydrates should be included in a post workout meal. The carbohydrates which are found in sports drinks result in an insulin spike which increases the uptake of amino acids by the muscles. It is important to understand the different types of sports drinks before you decide on a specific one.

There are three different kinds of sports drinks. These sports drinks all contain various levels of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and fluids. They can be divided into:-
  • Isotonic sports drinks: These types of sports drinks contain both fluids and electrolytes and about 6 to 8 % carbohydrate. They contain similar concentrations of sugar and salt as found in the human body.
  • Hypotonic sports drinks: These sports drinks contain electrolytes, fluids and a low level of carbohydrates. These contain a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
  • Hypertonic sports drinks: These sports drinks contain a very high level of carbohydrates. They contain a higher level of sugar and salt concentration than the human body.
So which drinks can be termed as the best sports drinks then? Keep the following sports drinks comparison in mind. Isotonic sports drinks are the preferred choice for most athletes. This is because they quickly replace the fluids lost by sweating and give the individual a boost of carbohydrates as well. Hypertonic sports drinks are generally used to supplement daily carbohydrate intake after exercises. These drinks can also be had during an exercise routine to cope with energy demands. Hypotonic sports drinks are more suitable for athletes who need fluids replaced without the boost of carbohydrates. Before you choose a sports drink for yourself, consider several factors such as the type of sport you are engaged in, its duration, and intensity, your nutritional status, and so on.

The topic of the benefits of a sports drink vs. water is extremely common. Water does not contain any electrolytes or carbohydrates. Many people feel that sports drinks are better especially for prolonged exercise due to the carbohydrate content in them. However, there are also some fitness experts who suggest fruit juice and other natural rejuvenating drinks as these do not contain added chemical flavors and preservatives.
Submitted on January 16, 2014