I was wondering if sports drinks are actually unhealthy? They seem to have lots of sugar and I’m trying to lose weight.
Much like soda, sports drinks are loaded in added sugar. As such, they are high in calories. If you’re not engaged in rigorous exercise, then they’re not the healthiest choice. Water, perhaps with a splash of lemon for flavor, makes a lot more sense – especially if you’re counting calories.
But if you are actually engaged in rigorous exercise, like a game of soccer or a class of crossfit, sports drinks could be a smart choice. The answer is two-fold.
First things first, studies have found that consuming carbohydrates (which is what these sports drinks contain) during a workout means eating fewer calories after the workout and throughout the day. According to a study by Colorado State University, people who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates during exercise consumed total fewer calories during the day compared to individuals who consumed no carbohydrates during a workout.
Second, carbohydrates are fuel for our body. And when you’re exercising, your body needs lots of fuel to power through a given workout. By consuming sports drinks or other beverages with simple carbohydrates, you may boost the intensity of your workout – and thus, burn even more calories and get a better overall workout.
Of course, you can also get those carbohydrates from other, more natural sources. Personally, I prefer eating a banana or some other high-sugar fruit. But sports drinks can certainly work!
The bottom line is that there can be a time and a place for sports drinks. And that time and place is when you’re exercising intensely… and not sitting on the couch watching Orange is the New Black.