Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade…
Advertisements for energy drinks are all over the place in 21st century. These glorified potions are everywhere. These drinks seem to be dominating the fitness industry, and all you have to do is walk down to your local gym to find out how much they are.
What are these “sports drinks” and what do they actually do?
Sports drinks are beverages that increase energy, replace electrolytes, and keep you hydrated. Let’s take a look at what they claim to do.
Increase energy levels
Sports drinks are high in sugar. A 500ml bottle Lucozade energy has 21 teaspoons sugar. This is compared to 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can of coke. Our bodies convert all sugar into glucose, which is then released into our bloodstream. This glucose gives our bodies energy, which is why we get that “alert” feeling.
The problem is that glucose is a short-lived energy source that can have adverse effects on the body. Our bodies produce large amounts insulin to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. The excess glucose then becomes fat in the liver and is deposited in our cells. Insulin is also known to inhibit the body’s ability to break down fat. These factors promote fat accumulation and are counterproductive when you consider why people go to the gym.
This argument is countered by the fact that sports drinks can provide energy to work out intensely, which has many benefits that far surpass the negative effects of the drink. This is why I think it’s a terrible argument.
A typical person who visits the gym does moderate intensity exercise for about 30 minutes. Let’s say they choose running as their exercise. In this case, they will burn between 250-400 calories. Let’s now imagine that they drink a 500ml of Lucozade Sport. It has 140 calories. This is approximately half of the calories they burn by exercising at the gym or by drinking energy drinks. They are burning only 5 calories for every 10 minutes of running.
The sugar in the sports drinks is worse.
1. Consuming sugar can cause an increase in insulin, which causes fat to accumulate.
2. Our cells will turn to glucose for energy when it is easily available in our bloodstream. The glucose in our blood will provide the energy we need to exercise. Our cells wouldn’t have the glucose they need if we don’t consume the sports drink. This means that our cells would have to use energy from fat breaking down to obtain it.
Sports drinks can be counterproductive for anyone trying to lose weight. Sports drinks supporters will argue that they give you the energy you need to exercise. This argument is flawed.
A gym visitor can get more energy than they need to exercise for 30 minutes. Their bloodstream will likely contain glucose from the meals they ate that day. If they run out, they can use their fat reserves to fuel their bodies. Sports drinks are only beneficial for endurance athletes who are doing intense exercise for long periods of time. Even then, there are better energy sources – what’s wrong a banana? This is far more beneficial than sports drinks. It is also broken down slower, so it provides long-lasting energy, as opposed to the short-term spikes that are provided by glucose. Sports drinks are as harmful as sweets and can be used to give our bodies energy for exercise.
The minerals electrolytes can be found in blood cells and blood. They regulate bodily fluids. The most popular of these are Sodium, and Chloride.
Exercise can cause electrolyte imbalances in the body. This can lead to symptoms like muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and even death. This is where sports drinks come in. They claim that they can replace electrolytes in the body and prevent symptoms. However, it may not be true for everyone. Your body loses electrolytes slowly so unless you exercise for more than an hour, it will be able address the problem without the use of sports drinks.
The last promise of “sports drinks”, is that they will keep you hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated during exercise, since the body loses more water than it does electrolytes. Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle weakness and headaches, as well as dizziness, poor concentration, and muscle weakness.
But, do you want to find out the best way for your body to stay hydrated?WATER
Drinking water is the best way to hydrate your body. It’s also free, has no calories, and offers a variety of health benefits.
Sports drinks can also make it difficult to stop drinking when you feel thirsty. According to them, this happens because once you feel thirsty, it is too late and dehydration has already started. This claim is utterly absurd and has not been supported by scientific research. Our bodies are complex, multi-million-year-old machines that have evolved over many years. Our survival depends on water, so I believe our bodies are able to tell us when to drink. How does it do this? It’s called being thirsty.
It is important to remember that we don’t need water until we feel thirsty. This is our bodies way to tell us we need to hydrate. Drinking before you feel thirsty can lead to overhydration, which can be very dangerous. People very rarely die of dehydration, but it is very common for people to die of over hydration.
There you go.
For the average gym user, sports drinks are totally unnecessary
They have a lot of sugar.
They encourage fat accumulation in your body.
They can be used as a source of short-term energy.
They can’t be used to replace electrolytes, unless you exercise for at least 1 hour.
They can be expensive, but water is more effective and free.
Learn which program introduced me to low-carbohydrate living and made me happier and healthier.