Sports Nutrition: Facts on Sports Drinks

If you’re like many Americans, you probably enjoy a cold drink at some point during the summer. It’s a great way to cool down on a hot day and can be a refreshing alternative to water or soda. If you’re watching your sugar intake, though, you may want to think twice before downing one of these sugary sports drinks. They can actually have a negative impact on your waistline and make it harder to lose weight. That’s because they are loaded with sugar. In this article, we’ll discuss why you should or should not be drinking sports drinks, and which ones are the best for you.

What is a sports drink?

If you’ve ever gone running, hiking, or engaged in any other kind of physical activity that’s likely made you sweat, you’ve probably noticed that athletes often mix water with something to make it taste better. This “something” is a sports drink.

A sports drink is simply water mixed with a flavoured “oil” or “liquid”. Typically, the liquid is some sort of sugar or salt, which creates a balance of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals). These drinks are very popular in the summer when people are active and sweating profusely because they can be used either as an appetite suppressant or a source of quick energy.

The best sports drinks for weight loss

Now that you know what sports drinks are and how they’re used, let’s take a look at which ones are the best for your health. We’ll look at various factors, like the ingredients, how many calories are in each, and how much sugar is in them.

Sugar-Free Gatorade

One of the most popular sugar-free sports drinks, Gatorade provides a balance of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and water to its drinkers. It is marketed as a drink for athletes, but it’s also suitable for people who are active and suffer from electrolyte deficiencies.

Gatorade has very few calories (25 per cup) and is sweetened with fructose, a natural sugar found in fresh fruit. Because it doesn’t contain sugar, Gatorade doesn’t trigger the insulin spike that is associated with weight gain and obesity. Therefore, it’s a great beverage to use during your weight loss journey.

Salty Luz

If you’re looking for a salty sports drink, Luz is made with potassium, magnesium, and other minerals, plus it provides a balance of sodium and other minerals necessary for hydration.

Like Gatorade, Luz is marketed as a sports drink for athletes, but it’s also suitable for people who are active and suffer from electrolyte deficiencies. Like Gatorade, Luz doesn’t have sugar, so it won’t spike your insulin levels and cause weight gain.

The best sports drinks for performance

If you’re taking part in intense physical activity, you will benefit from consuming a sports drink that provides energy and nutrients. These drinks will help you to perform at your best and help you to recover from strenuous activity faster.


A good all-around sports drink, Powerade is sugar-free and provides a good balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes. It works great for active people of all ages, including kids.

Like Gatorade, Powerade is marketed as a sports drink for athletes, but it’s also suitable for people who are active and suffer from electrolyte deficiencies. Like Gatorade, Powerade doesn’t have sugar, so it won’t spike your insulin levels and cause weight gain.

The best sports drinks for weight maintenance

If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll want to stick to a sports drink that has low caloric and sugar content. For this reason, you should consider purchasing one of these brands:

Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water with Electrolytes

Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water with Electrolytes is made from pure water sourced from two springs in northern Michigan — and that’s it! Since it contains no artificial ingredients or added sugars, it’s a smart choice if you’re trying to maintain your weight. It also has electrolytes that help restore balance after a long run or workout at the gym. Ice Mountain even has a new line of flavoured waters with zero calories and zero sugar!

QT Vitaminwater Zero Revive Orange Mandarin

Another way you can replenish lost nutrients without adding extra calories to your diet is by drinking QT Vitaminwater Zero Revive Orange Mandarin. This flavoured water contains vitamins B5, B6 and B12, as well as potassium and magnesium


Rio is made from coconut water rather than regular water. It contains higher levels of magnesium and potassium than other sports drinks — 320 mg and 1,700 mg per serving, respectively — along with some calcium, phosphorous, and other minerals.

The best sports drinks for heat training

If you’re training for a race or competition that takes place during hot weather, it’s essential that you rehydrate properly. This is because most sports drinks are loaded with sugar, which can make you retain water. To prevent this, you should drink a sports drink that has a low sugar content and provides plenty of electrolytes.

The best sports drinks for active people


The electrolyte drink that started it all. It’s a great way to up your salt intake, which is important for post-workout recovery. It’s also good at keeping you hydrated, so it’s great for long workouts. The sugar content is a little high and it’s not organic, so if those are things you’re looking for, Gatorade probably isn’t the best choice. But if you just want something that will help your muscles recover quickly, then give this one a try.

Vitamin Water

This one isn’t marketed as a sports drink, but it has great nutrients (vitamins) and electrolytes that will keep you hydrated during workouts. It also has less sugar than most sports drinks and comes in fun flavours like Dragonfruit and Lemonade. If you’re looking for something with less sugar and more vitamins, this is the best choice for you!

Drinks to avoid

In general, the more processed a drink is, the worse it is for you. That’s because processing tends to strip nutrients and add sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

Soft drinks should be an occasional treat only; in addition to being high in sugar, they have been linked to higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Flavoured waters may sound like a healthy alternative, but they’re usually packed with sugar too. Many fruit juices are also high in sugar.

Energy drinks are another no-no. They often contain a lot of caffeine and sugar, which can send your blood sugar levels soaring or leave you feeling jittery and anxious.

Sports drinks can be useful for athletes but are unnecessary for most people. They’re high in added sugars and can damage teeth if consumed regularly.”

Bottom line

Drinking water is always the best option for staying hydrated, but if you’re looking for alternatives to water to rehydrate with during your workout or when it’s hot outside, consider drinking one of these popular sports drinks.

They provide a good source of energy, electrolytes, and vitamins, and they don’t contain sugar. You can also drink them throughout the year, not just during the summer.

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