According to the Harvard health publication Harvard School of Medicine “Nicely timed for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) haspublished several articles revealing the “truth about sports drinks.” That truth is this: drink when you are thirsty and don’t waste your money or calories on sports drinks—choose water instead.” (http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079)
I have been preaching this for yeas a small amount of sports drinks early or several hours before a competition may be OK but let water and thirst dictate how you drink and hydrate. The body has know when and how to drink since we entered the earth. On top of that the drink of choice for thousands of years has been water. The real question is are sports drinks even safe. From that same article:
“There is no evidence that dehydration has ever killed a marathoner, Dr. Arthur Siegel, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a medical advisor to the Boston Marathon, told the BMJ. But the drumbeat that athletes must stay fully hydrated and drink before they become thirsty has spawned a new problem—overhydration. That’s what killed a healthy, 28-year-old woman during the 2002 Boston Marathon. She collapsed a few miles short of the finish line and died a day later. The cause of death was hyponatremia—too little sodium in her blood caused by drinking too much fluid before and during the marathon. According to the BMJ, 16 marathoners have died and more than 1,600 have become critically ill due to overhydration and hyponatremia.
Sports drinks don’t appear to prevent hyponatremia. A study of marathoners by Harvard-based researchers found that 13% had some degree of hyponatremia, and that it was just as likely to happen among those who guzzled sports drinks during the marathon as it was among those who stuck with water.”
So Drink water for enhanced performance and avoid the sports drinks as your main source of energy and hydration. If you need energy eat a piece of fruit and drink a glass of water to stay hydrated. This should provide all of the sugar and electrolytes you need along with fluids.
Are their exceptions sure. If you you are running the Boston or New York marathon and need both energy and fluids but the majority of you fluids should still be pure clean water augmented with sports drinks.
Paul R. Mahler DC
Mahler Family Chiropractic Center