Trying to Stay Hydrated? The Truth About Sports Drinks VS. Water

With Chris Gabriel, OCS, CSCS

Whether you’re on run, by the pool or hanging at a tailgate, the heat and sun take a toll. Staying hydrated is key – but how?

There are a plethora of options and advertising pushing us towards sports and energy drinks but are they really a smart choice for our bodies? Here’s the truth:


READ THE LABEL – REALLY

Sports drinks promise high-performance, an energy kick and fast hydration and recovery but take the time to read the label and you’ll find they offer quite a few other things. These drinks are often packed with sugars, stimulants and artificial flavors and colors.


BUT WHAT ABOUT SUGAR-FREE?

Sure many sports drinks brands offer a sugar-free or low-calorie option but they achieve this through artificial sweeteners.

While they may be touted as a healthier alternative, these additives are best avoided.


CAN I STILL HAVE MY MORNING COFFEE?

The caffeine found in coffee and many energy drinks actually causes our bodies to lose water content. If you’re sweating because you’re working out or hanging outside excessive caffeine can dehydrate you.

Signs of dehydration include thirst but also a dry, sticky mouth, dizziness, headaches and cramps.


SO WHAT SHOULD I BE DRINKING?

Water. Drink water.

Hydration is also about what you eat so fruits and veggies work to keep you hydrated, as well.

Need a little boost? Put aside the intense sugar and additives of sports drinks and try black coffee or green tea.


WHAT'S NEXT

- Author Chris Gabriel is a physical therapist at the OrthoCarolina Sports Training Center. Learn more about classes and training opportunities.

- Now that you're ready to be hydrated, check out one of our many outdoor adventure guides and get outside!

Comments

July 24, 2019

Even for those of us who have a hard time drinking "plain water", this is important and a powerful reminder to make an EXTRA EFFORT to drink good ol' water instead of spending money on Energy Drinks. Note to self: Drink that water! Add a little lemon, lime or cucumber if you need taste, but DRNK THAT H20! Thank you for your post!
- Susan O'Bryant

July 24, 2019

Thank you!
- Cindy Bishop

July 17, 2019

This is great info to share with youngsters and teens. I love to be out doors and water is the only drink that satisfies. Thank you for this timely reminder.
- Linda Huff

July 17, 2019

Good shared info, particularly for the Clemmons FD Firefighters, the G2 will now be replaced today with good bottled water , thanks for the info.
- Jerry A. Brooks, Chief of Department

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