Step Away From the Sports Drinks!!
Here’s a newsflash for you: sports drinks are basically nothing more than sugar water, similar to soda in the amounts of added sugars they contain. They are also not really necessary or even appropriate for the average exerciser. But why then did you see all those New York City marathoners guzzling it along the route a few weeks back, and why do football teams always seem to have it on hand. Aren’t all those beneficial electrolytes supposed to help stop you from becoming dehydrated?
The simple answer to this question is that most people are simply NOT training like endurance or professional athletes and will do fine just using plain water for hydration. If you are training strenuously (a leisurely stroll doesn’t qualify here!) for more than an hour, and sweating like crazy, a sports drink may help you restore your glycogen levels(what you body uses for fuel) so that you can continue going and replenish some of your electrolyte stores. However, if you are working out to lose weight, burning 300 calories in an hour, and then pouring 120 calories of sugar into your body right after that, you are undermining a lot of the hard work you just put in.
Sports drinks are among the many “health halo” products that people consume without paying attention to what’s really in it. Protein bars can also fall into this category. Have you ever read the label on some of those bars? There may be 400 calories, more than 50 grams of sugar (1 ½ cans of soda worth of sugar) and tons of unpronounceable chemical additives in a bar like that, but people feel OK about snacking on them because they are “supposed” to be healthy. You’d be better off eating a Snickers Bar!
I will say it again, READ LABELS! If something tastes like a candy bar or soda, and has a comparable amount of sugar in it, treat it as such. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that because something is marketed as a healthy lifestyle option that it must be.
Are there any “health halo” products you have been confused by? Tell me about in the comment section below!