Sports Drinks vs. Water
Sports drinks have established a dominating position in the exercise world. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on media advertisements and athlete endorsements every year. The simple fact that many sports stars promote the use of rehydrating sports drinks leads the consumer to believe that such drinks must be more replenishing than just plain old water. If basketball superstars Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard “bleed Gatorade”, doesn’t that make it true? The fact is the consumption of water to hydrate the body is just as replenishing and healthier than sports drinks. Although sports drinks do offer advantages to high-performance athletes who exercise for at least 60 to 90 minutes at a time, the average person does not exercise that long, or that intensely. Water is better because it contains no harmful additives which in excessive amounts can cause health problems, and for the average person, water can replenish depleted minerals from the body lost during exercise. "Unless you are extremely active or a high-performance athlete, sports drinks can cause weight gain and electrolyte imbalance," (qtd. in Murphy 19) says Paul LeBlanc, a clinical exercise physiologist and director of cardiac rehabilitation and lifestyles at Kent General Hospital in Dover, Delaware. Most sports drinks contain about 50 to 80 calories per serving. Other than these calories and added electrolytes, these drinks have no nutritional value and therefore no advantage over water. Many sports drinks are also extremely high in citric acid, which after prolonged consumption can erode the teeth and esophagus walls. The beverage of choice for the average person exercising less then ninety minutes is water. Kathie Nelson, a registered dietitian at the Methodist Health Care System's Institute for Preventive Medicine said, “[Sports Drinks] are an appealing option, but they provide minimal benefits to the average person when compared with plain...
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