Choosing the Right Sports Drink


Drinks for sports used to be simple: You had the option of drinking plain water or flavored water, both of which could keep you hydrated but provided little else. “Sports drinks” are now available that are designed to aid runners before, during, and after a run. Drinks claim to make you more alert or even serve as a meal substitute, and at least one product claims to make you stronger while you sleep.

When the labels say things like “sport,” “energy,” “carbohydrate,” and “isotonic,” it’s easy to get lost in the details of what’s available. As a result, a guide to the sports drink market, including when and what to drink, is provided here.

Because the terminology and its meaning are inconsistent, avoid making too many assumptions about the label. We’ll forego protein drinks for the time being, but today’s sports drink serves two purposes: to replace fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat and replenish the body’s carbohydrate reserves. The effectiveness of a beverage in each task is influenced by the amount of carbohydrates it contains. This information can be found on the label of drinks that have already been mixed, but you should also remember it when you make your own.

The body’s ability to absorb the fluid and use it to replace sweat loss will be slowed if the beverage contains more than 10% carbohydrates. Choose a drink that is hypotonic, or more diluted than your body fluids, if rehydration is your top priority. Orange squash and diluted fruit juices are two examples. This beverage will be absorbed by your body more quickly than regular water. The same amount of particles are in isotonic drinks as in your body. Well-known brands can be absorbed just as quickly as water and offer additional fuel. The term “hypertonic” refers to drinks that are more concentrated than body fluids and will slow down the rate at which fluid is absorbed. Many flavored drinks and plain fruit juices are examples of hypertonic drinks.

Test of hydration: Examine the color of your urine when you awake to determine whether you are dehydrated. If you have enough water, it should be a pale yellowish straw color. If the color is darker, you should drink more. Because taking a vitamin supplement may cause your urine to turn a different color, this test should not be performed right after. Despite the fact that different people have different ideas about how much water you should drink every day, the Food Standards Agency recommends drinking six to eight 25oml (Sf1 oz) glasses of water every day.

The ideal beverage for a run lasting less than 30 minutes: water or nothing at all, with a steady flow for up to an hour: water o A one-hour run with a lot of effort: drinks that are hypotonic or isotonic for sports o An intense run that lasts more than an hour: Sports drinks that are hypotonic or isotonic Protein drinks Protein drinks are used as a recovery drink because they have a lot of carbohydrates and protein in them. Protein drinks will be available to you if you shop at health food stores or sports stores for a sufficient amount of time. Most recreational runners will find that their usual diet has enough protein to avoid these drinks.

Gels, which are more like a concentrated shot of carbohydrates than a drink, have recently gained favor in the sports nutrition market. They can be used as a drink supplement and a convenient and portable way to eat while on the go during long endurance runs and aid races; Instead of worrying about a particular carbohydrate drink, many people actually drink water and gels.

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