Since the creation of Gatorade in 1987 sports drinks have become a staple of American athletics. Every major sports league, including the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL and NASCAR, are sponsored by and use of Gatorade Thirst Quencher. All Sport and Powerade, two other smaller market sports drinks, have limited sponsorships of smaller sports leagues including the NCAA. The question is, how effective is Gatorade and other sports drinks in doing what it they're advertised to do? One has to wonder if the wide use of Gatorade is merely due to billions of dollars of advertising pumped in by the company or if it actually does quench "that deep down body thirst." The majority of the internet research to determine the how and if these sports drinks work will center on Gatorade because it is the only sports drink with significant information on the world wide web. It shouldn't be too much of problem comparing sports drinks due to the fact that most of the sports drinks have rather similar ingredients.
The major reason anyone drinks fluid before, during and after physical activity is to replace the water that is lost through sweat. If the water isn't replaced dehydration will occur and performance will be hampered. The purpose of Gatorade and other sports drinks is to help rehydrate your body quickly and help improve performance and productivity. This is accomplished through a well balanced mix of water, sugar (carbohydrates) and salts (electrolytes), the major ingredients in most sports drinks. These ingredients, combined with a variety of fruit flavors, create pleasant tasting drinks that according to the companies are suppose to help your athletic performance. Three major problems we face every day from physical exertion is the loss of water and electrolytes, elevation of body temperature and depletion or energy reserves. If the sports drinks work as advertised they should be able to help us avoid those three problems. Gatorade: How it Works
According to the official Gatorade web site there are four main ways in which Gatorade helps improve athletic performance and keeps our bodies functioning normally even under conditions of extreme physical exertion. First of all several of it ingredients stimulate rapid fluid absorption. Secondly it assures rapid rehydration which allows us to maintain physiological function and prevents dehydration. Third, the carbohydrates in Gatorade provide energy to working muscles. Finally it encourages you to drink more fluid. All the assertions made by Gatorade make sense but the question still remains about the overall effectiveness of Gatorade and other sports drinks. We will now take a closer look at the four major ways Gatorade is suppose to work and how it is suppose to help our athletic performance.
Rapid Fluid Absorption.
Rapid fluid absorption is important during strenuous athletic activity in order to avoid dehydration. According to Gatorade, research has shown that the 6% carbohydrate level and presence of salt found in their beverage is optimal for rapid fluid absorption. They also claim that as the carbohydrate level gets higher than 7% absorption is slowed and therefore fruit juices and some sports drinks aren't recommended during exercise.
Assures Rapid Rehydration.
In this case consuming a "properly formulated carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage" such as Gatorade results in rapid rehydration. This rapid rehydration occurs for several reasons. First of all, according to Gatorade, the sodium in their drink helps maintain body fluids unlike other fluids such as water and caffinated beverages that can promote water loss through increased urination. As they state ,"research has shown that rehydration following exercise is more complete with Gatorade than with beverages such as water or diet cola." Secondly, as we will discuss later, the sodium found in Gatorade as well as the taste of the beverage supposedly encourages continued consumption of liquids. Provides Carbohydrate...
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