What are sports drinks and energy drinks?
The terms “sports drinks” and “energy drinks” are often used interchangeably to indicate all drinks that provide essential vitamins and minerals. They can include sports beverages, vitamin waters, electrolyte drinks, and highly caffeinated drinks. Each energy drink has additional ingredients that boost your energy, enhance nutrition, allow your body to absorb water and minerals, or enhance athletic performance.
However, all sports drinks and energy drinks are different — while some of them provide electrolyte supplements, most of them are highly caffeinated. As such, you should only consume electrolyte drinks with low caffeine, sugars, and artificial flavors. That means you must learn to distinguish between the different types of energy drinks and find the right electrolyte supplement to restore your electrolyte balance.
In this article, we provide a detailed overview of the different types of sports drinks and energy drinks.
What are the types of energy drinks?
Sports drinks and beverages, such as Gatorade, are meant for individuals engaging in vigorous physical activities lasting longer than an hour. They restore the individual’s electrolyte levels and provide a boost of energy due to their caffeinated contents, making them useful during long-distance running, biking, and other endurance activities. They’re also used by individuals engaged in high-intensity sports, such as soccer and hockey.
Sports drinks usually contain high volumes of carbohydrates, which provides an instant energy boost when your body’s energy reserves are running low. Sports drinks also restore essential electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium — these electrolytes are usually lost due to sweat. However, sports drinks don’t have the optimal proportion of electrolytes, and they carry a disproportionately high volume of sugars and artificial flavors to make them attractive.
As such, sports drinks may be okay for occasional use, but they’re not suitable for long-term use, nor do they function as suitable electrolyte supplements.
Energy drinks are fairly popular amongst teenagers in middle and high schools. While some energy drinks are labels as unhealthy for children, others are marketed for children as young’s four years of age. Energy drinks promise a boost in energy and athletic performance. However, energy drinks provide that “energy boost” by packing high volumes of sugar and caffeine. In some cases, energy drinks can also pack as much caffeine as 3 cups of strong coffee.
Excessive use of energy drinks can make children gain extra weight and develop attention problems. Furthermore, excessive caffeine can also cause headaches, frequent urination, trouble sleeping, upset stomachs, and other problems. Some energy drinks also contain guarana, taurine, and other ingredients that haven’t been deemed safe for children. As such, energy drinks should not be used as electrolyte supplements. In fact, most people should ideally avoid energy drinks completely.
Vitamin waters are fitness drinks available in numerous attractive flavors. They contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, making them moderately suitable as electrolyte supplements. However, vitamin waters also often contain sugars, artificial flavors, caffeine, and other unsuitable ingredients. Parents often provide vitamin waters as a quick means to restore their children’s energy and vitamin levels.
However, it’s far preferable to meet their vitamin needs via healthy snacks and foods. Furthermore, some vitamin waters contain ingredients, such as St. John’s wort, the effects of which are yet unknown. As such, if you want to restore your children’s vitamin and mineral levels, you should focus exclusively on electrolyte drinks.
Electrolyte drinks, also known as electrolyte supplements, are powdered solutions or drinks designed primarily to restore electrolyte levels. Electrolytes are essential minerals in the body that conduct essential processes in the body, such as hydration, muscle contraction, and pH level regulation. As such, it’s essential to maintain your body’s optimal electrolyte levels. However, vigorous physical activities, such as traveling, hiking, running, etc., can lead to the loss of electrolytes in the form of sweat, urine, etc.
This can eventually lead to dehydration — consuming water isn’t enough to restore your body’s water levels because electrolytes make your body absorb water. As such, you must consume electrolyte drinks to restore your electrolyte levels and function appropriately. However, you should avoid electrolyte drinks with high volumes of artificial sweeteners, flavors, etc. The electrolyte supplement’s only aim should be restoring your electrolyte levels.
You should also avoid sports drinks marketing themselves as electrolyte supplements — read the label to ensure your electrolyte drink is authentic.
What is the fastest way to hydrate your body effectively?
The fastest way to hydrate your body effectively is to drink electrolyte powders or electrolyte supplements. If you drink water while suffering from dehydration, you’re more likely to sweat, vomit, or urinate it back out. That’s because your body can’t absorb moisture without optimal electrolyte balance. When you drink electrolyte water, your body’s increased electrolyte reserves help conduct water through the cells to restore optimal water levels.
Can we drink ORS for daily purposes?
ORS, short for Oral Rehydration Solution, is a WHO-recommended formula to overcome dehydration. ORS solutions contain sodium chloride, trisodium citrate dihydrate, potassium chloride, and glucose. They’re dissolved in clean water to restore the body’s essential electrolyte levels. However, ORS isn’t meant for daily use — it should only be used to treat dehydration.
What is the best electrolyte supplement for hydration?
RecoverORS is one of the best electrolyte supplements for daily hydration use. It aids in your dehydration treatment by restoring your body’s essential electrolyte levels. One packet of RecoverORS contains the following ingredients — Dextrose, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, and Ascorbic Acid. It contains less than 1% sweeteners and only 9.5 calories per serving. As such, it’s ideal for athletes, frequent travelers, etc. You can drink up to eight servings of RecoverORS per day, though you should also consult your physician.
You can get your RecoverORS electrolyte supplement on Amazon.