Does your sweaty session require a sports drink?

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Sports drink companies would have you think you need one of their products as soon as you decide to hit the streets for a 20 minute power walk, but truth be told all but the few athletes at elite level actually require any of this sugary water. Sports drinks are intended to improve athletic performance during prolonged bouts of physical exertion. They do this by replacing the fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat, and carbohydrates burned for energy  These re-hydration drinks often contain electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, potassium, and/or calcium, and a source of readily digestible carbohydrate, usually sugar, to replenish energy stores.

Advertising can make consuming these drinks seem 'sexy' and like a 'must have' so that we can feel and perform like our sporting heroes.

Besides consisting of mostly empty calories, excessive drinking of sports drinks has three huge downsides.

One. At approximately 220 cals per bottle unless you're Richie McCawe himself you're likely to be taking on too many calories during your workout, which can  slow or halt altogether the results you're trying to achieve.

Two. All of these calories are sugar. Approximately 14 teaspoons worth per bottle. Enough said.

And three. Your dentist will hate you (or love taking your money), and assuming you're older than 12 and don't get free dentistry anymore this should be of top priority. Keep the cavities at bay by sticking to water.

So what to do?

Drink water. Plain and simple. For most exercise, of average duration, for most people, water is sufficient, especially if we follow our exercise with a nutritious post workout real food meal. We can get our replacement carbohydrate and minerals from this.

If you don't like water, get to like it. Get creative. Add slices of cucumber, strawberries, mint leaves, ice.... whatever you need to do to get to like it.