Doctor’s Advice: Sports Drinks Are Not Best Hydration Alternative

Sports Drinks Are Not The Best Hydration Option

Amid the growing popularity of sports drink today, doctors still consider them not the best hydration option especially for young athletes.

Doctors from Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center asserted that many young athletes are not aware of the downsides of drinking sports drinks.

For one, sports drinks come with extra sugar and salt. For those trying to shed some weight through exercise, sports drinks are not the best option.

Aside from that, there are other misconceptions about the use of sports drinks. Young athletes who are exposed to recreational activities should not be drinking them when the sport requires less intensity and time.

Dr. Matthew Silvis, director of primary care sports medicine at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, explains, “Sports drinks can replenish some of what you lost during exercise, but you really need to be exercising for more than 45 minutes to an hour before you would consider that.”

boy drinking a sports drink.
A boy drinking a sports drink.

Other Downsides

Doctors also said sports drinks are not a good option especially considering the rise of childhood obesity in the United States.

Young people who drink sports drinks with or without physical activity are at risk of gaining weight and tooth decay from added sugar.

Dr. Katie Gloyer from Penn State Medical Group in State College said, “Kids and adolescents really should not be using these drinks.”

Most sports drinks also contain caffeine, which is not good for young athletes. They are also dangerous because some energy drinks contain several servings of harmful products in one container and easily exceed the amount of caffeine and other stimulants that are considered safe.

Water is The Best Hydration Option

In addition, sports drinks are not a good alternative for quenching thirst especially after moderate exercise. That is because some of the ingredients, like caffeine, can elevate blood pressure and cause cardiac problems such as palpitations and arrhythmias.

The doctor’s best advise? Water still reigns king especially if the goal of exercise is weight loss.

Silvis said the focus really should be on water and making sure kids are properly hydrated during exercise.

Silvis suggested, “If they are playing 30- or 45-minute halves, they should have a water break and maybe add fresh orange slices or a granola bar to add a bit of sugar and/or protein at an appropriate level.”

Mina Fabulous
Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn't preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.