Should You Drink Sports Drinks Instead of Water?

(Last Updated On: April 1, 2021)

Have you ever watched sports? You must have seen most of the athletes sipping on bright colored beverages before, during, and after a competition. Such sports drinks are a huge part of athletics and even big businesses around the world.

Also Read: 12 Simple Ways to Drink More Water

Water Vs. Sports Drinks

The majority of our body weight is made up of water. It is important for your body’s proper function. Additionally, by losing water through urine, sweat, and feces, your body would be continuously losing water from the skin and the air you are exhaling.

To replace these losses and promote good health and exercise, it is necessary to drink fluids regularly all around the day. Even though the needs would vary, the recommended daily fluid intake would be around 91 ounces for adult women and 125 ounces for adult men.

The Main Ingredients in Sports Drinks

Water is the major ingredient present in a sports drink. However, they would also other substances, and these include carbs and electrolytes. These are supposed to improve performances. Even the carbs present in these drinks would often be sugar like sucrose, glucose, and fructose. But they would be found in other forms.

Most of the sports drinks would be having six to eight percentage of carbohydrates. Here a 6% of solution would be having 14 grams of carbs per eight fluid ounces. Some sports drinks have low or zero-carb to appeal to the people who want water and electrolytes without any extra calories.

Sports Drinks Can Benefit Athletes

As we know, the main component of sports drinks is water, electrolytes, and carbs. Here each is important for various aspects of exercise performance. Electrolytes and water are lost in the sweat, and it is important to replace them. That would be most common during the long-duration exercise.

Well, your body would be storing carbs in your muscles and livers. These are called glycogen. That is often used as the fuel for exercising. Here consuming carbs just before or during exercise would easily slow down how quickly the body is running out of carbohydrate stores.

Most of the sports drinks are created for providing the three major ingredients that are the major goal for improving performance and recovery. Various studies often show the effects of sports drinks on exercise performance, and these researches are conducted on athletes.

● Short Duration Exercise

Well, it is not clear if sports drinks are beneficial for short-duration exercises. A research work showed that a study was conducted on the nine studies of intense cycling or running that lasted for around 30-60 minutes.

Now six of the studies clearly showed that sports drinks deeply benefitted exercise performances. But all the participants were trained athletes who could perform intense exercises. Even a study conducted on the trained cyclist found that the sports drink helped improve performance to around two percent during the one hour of intense cycling compared to the placebo.

● Team Sports And Intermittent Exercise

The usage of sports drinks is very common among team sports like basketball, soccer, and football. Such sports contain various intermittent activities that are alternate between intense exercises and rest.

● Prolonged Continuous Exercise

Now unlike intermittent exercise, an endless amount of exercise is done without any rest period. Many studies have examined the effects of carbohydrate beverages like sports drinks when continuous exercises are done with no resting periods.

Various studies have examined the effects of carbohydrate beverages like sports drinks during continuous exercise that would last for one to four hours or even longer, like cycling and running.

● How Many Carbs?

Generally, the number of carbs would be beneficial for increasing as and when the exercise increases. Various research shows that a small number of carbs would improve exercise performance for events that last around 30-36 minutes.
They Are Unnecessary For Most People

Many factors have to be considered whenever you are thinking about which sorts would benefit you.

● Type And Intensity Of Exercise

Here first, you have to consider the exercise habits and even your training’s duration and intensity. Of course, sports drinks would be beneficial for athletes that are engaging in intense or long training sessions, and they would not be great for most gym-goers.

● They Would Affect Weight Loss

Now there would be people that are trying to maintain or losing weight. Another major factor is taking into account the energy balance or the balance among the number of calories that you consume and burn.

If you want to lose weight, you would have to burn more calories in a day than what you consume. If sports drinks are not required for any exercise you are doing, then consuming them would provide you with the unnecessary calories that can hinder your weight loss goals.

Many Different Beverages Can Help You Be Hydrated

Here the major marketing of the sports drink is focused on their ability to keep you hydrated. It can do that by replacing water and electrolytes lost by sweating.

Also Read: 7 Benefits of Cucumber Water: Stay Hydrated and Healthy

● Staying Hydrated

Now how much you are sweating would be based on various factors. These would include how long and intensity you will exercise, the training level, and the environment. The sweating rate among humans would range from 10 fluid ounces per hour to around 81 fluid ounces per hour.

● Other Options To Stay Hydrated

A study was done to compare around 13 various beverages. These included even the sports drink and water. As per the research, the researchers provided 33 fluid ounces of each of the drinks and even collected the urine.

They found that orange juice and milk provided the oral rehydration solution and the highest amount of hydration.

● Enjoying Your Drink

Another major factor you would have to think about is the enjoyment of certain beverages could affect how much you drink. Considerable research shows that the flavor of sports drink would lead athletes to drink more than what they have been consuming water alone. As a result, drinks would be tasting better and be beneficial for increasing the fluid consumption right at the risk of dehydration.


Sports drink quite famous among athletes and even recreational exercisers. But it is often debated that they are way better compared to plain water. The major component of the sports drink would be carbs, water, and electrolytes. Even research supports their benefits among athletes and those who are doing long and intense exercises.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *