You’ve just finished a set of tennis, 45-minute spin class, or a jog around the block. Your son or daughter just finished a soccer game. Do you grab a brightly-colored sports drink to refuel and restore your electrolytes?
Sports drinks may not only be a waste of your hard-earned dollars but may also be harmful to your dental and general health.
Drinks promoted to restore electrolytes lost from sweat are a mix of carbohydrates (usually sugar) and minerals like potassium and sodium. The pH levels or high acid makeup of sports drinks contributes to the erosion of dental enamel,especially when acid from sports drinks combines with the acid byproduct of bacteria breaking down sugar from the drinks. Damage can occur after just five consecutive days. About 50% of teens drink sports drinks daily.
Sports drinks also contribute about 100 extra calories or the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar, putting a dent in the calories burned in your workout.
Unless you are a professional endurance athlete, most medical professionals and sports nutritionists recommend water to hydrate after an exercise session. If you do feel the need to refuel after a workout, try natural alternatives like a banana or coconut water, both excellent sources of potassium.