Sugary Sports Drinks Cancel Out Exercise, Study Suggests
A British Medical Journal study out this week confirms what many exercisers already know: that guzzling sugar-laden sports drinks packs enough calories to cancel out exercise—and may not do a whole lot to boost performance anyway.
To put things into context, finishing off a 32-ounce bottle of either Powerade or Original Gatorade will set you back 200 calories and 56 g of sugar. A 160-pound person would need to jog for 20 minutes at a 5-mph pace to burn off those calories.
While some exercisers may be convinced to sip on extra calories if they believe a beverage can boost endurance, the fancy language that graces the bottle of your favorite exercise elixir may not be scientifially sound. Researchers at Oxford University examined marketing claims from more than a hundred foods, drinks, and training products touted to enhance athletic performance. They also analyzed scientific studies that were performed to evaluate these claims. The researchers found that most studies were scientifically weak, and even the handful of those that were strong proved irrelevant to the everyday exerciser as most research was done on elite athletes.
While there are lower-calorie sports drinks, like Gatorade’s G2 drink (80 calories, 20 g sugar for 32 ounces), on the market, the British researchers recommend sticking to good ol’ H2O.
To make your water less boring, try these tips:
- Make it fruity. Add antioxidant-packed berries, or try what’s on sale or in season: cherries, mango, pineapple, oranges or watermelon.
- Go herbal. Add powdered or freshly sliced ginger, bruised mint leaves, or lemongrass to amp up your H2O. Or go floral. Lavender and rose hips are loaded with vitamin C and may help ease arthritis pain.
- Eat something instead. Eat more fruits—they’re 80 to 90 percent water, packed with vitamins and minerals, and won’t weigh you down with a ton of calories. Veggies, like tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and salad greens, will also do the trick.
Related: 12 Ways to Make Water Less Boring
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