Q: I work out on a regular basis and I’m getting used to drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade and similar vitamin waters during and after workouts, and lately even when I don’t work out. What do you think about these kinds of drinks ? — Delphine
A: Hi Delphine,
Good for you that you exercise regularly — it is so important for weight maintenance and overall health. To answer your question, I am not a fan of sports drinks on a daily basis and even after regular 60 minute workouts.
Most sports drinks, like Gatorade, contain a lot of sugar and few nutrients. While one serving may not seem like too many calories, generally around 50 calories per 8 ounces, a whole 32 ounce bottle contains 200 calories and over 50 grams of sugar — more than double the amount of sugar the American Heart Association recommends per day. Considering that one of the first three ingredients of drinks like Gatorade is high fructose corn syrup, which is a form of sugar, it is clear that the sugar is not coming from a natural source.
Unless you are running a marathon or doing an ironman (or woman!), the electrolytes lost during your regular exercise breaks can easily be replenished through eating a healthy snack when you are finished at the gym and maintaining a healthy diet overall.
Likewise, you don’t need vitamin waters that are filled with calories and sugar when plain tap or bottled water is a calorie- and sugar-free drink that will quench your thirst. I always advocate for food first in order to get the nutrients you need for the day, and drinking your vitamins is not necessary if you have a well-balanced diet. If plain water isn’t cutting it for you, add a slice of lemon, lime, orange, or cucumber to add some flavor without the calories and sugar.
Do you have nutrition questions? Don’t be shy! Send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org!