The 411 on Sports Drinks


credit: JeffBedford

Water or a sports drink.

Which should you grab on your way to your workout?

Which best helps an athlete recover from strenuous physical activity?

We tend to think that water offers the most benefits but it is actually sodium that helps an athlete recover. After doing an extensive study on sports- type drinks, we found that people should only drink them when doing strenuous activities. When a person who is only doing moderate activities consumes sports drinks, they take in a high level of sodium that is not beneficial to their health.

A sports drink is typically made up of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates. However, a drink that is made up of carbohydrates and protein is even better and offers better recovery. In general, avoid drinks that include caffeine, as these are detrimental to your health.

Here are the suggested ratios for a sports drink to ensure your greatest recovery. In most cases people do better with electrolyte tablets or powders versus pre-mixed sugary drinks. We offer an excellent brand at our office.

  • Optimal Sodium: 110 – 220 mg per 8 fl. oz.
  • Optimum concentration of carbohydrate in a sports drink is 6-8%
  • 6 – 8 grams per 100 ml
  • 14.2 – 18.9 grams per 8 oz.
  • 21.3 – 28.4 grams per 12 oz.


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