Sports drinks are popular among athletes — especially teen athletes. Professional athletes, (Michael Jordan being one of the most famous) market them as vital fuel for optimal performance. Do they work? Yes, if you are working out hard though.
featured in the European Journal of Applied Physiology explored whether taking a carbohydrate and electrolyte drink before and during physical activity improved performance and endurance among teenagers. Researchers found that the teens who consumed the 6 percent carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage lasted 24 percent longer before they reached a point of exhaustion compared to those in the placebo group. Additionally, the teens that consumed the sports drink also ran farther.
For those engaging in prolonged exercise, replenishing fluids, sugar and electrolytes is important to sustain activity.
The study showed that while the drink did not alter sprint performance or times, it significantly increased the endurance of the teen athletes. The study was very small, and it did not seek to understand why or how these drinks improve performance. Here”s the problem
These drinks may improve endurance, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy. Anything that”s colored bright blue is highly processed, and like other sugary beverages, spike blood sugar levels. Plus, other research has proved the overconsumption of these sports drinks by teens in the absence of exercise may contribute to obesity. Plus, they are probably best limited to times when you are working out for over 30 minutes at a high intensity.
Finally, if you are active, the best thing to drink is a natural electrolyte-carbohydrate beverage, such as coconut water.
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