Studies have shown that these “thirst quenchers” are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day. But are they good for your child’s body or teeth? And are they truly necessary for sports performance? Here are a few facts:
Sports drinks contain more sugar than you may realize.
After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Some sports drinks contain as much as 19 grams of added sugar which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow.
The high acidity of sports drinks can damage tooth enamel.
Sports drinks often have high acidity. This acid interferes with the mouth’s ability to regulate a healthy pH and can lead to the wearing away of enamel. While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.
Sports drinks are full of salt.
Some sports drinks contain up to 200 milligrams of sodium per serving. Keep in mind that a “serving” is usually 8 ounces, which means that a large bottle of the leading sports drink can have more sodium than a bag of potato chips. While you are sweating and may need to replace salt that is lost, it is rare that kids are involved in that kind of activity.
Sports drinks can be high in calories.
Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens and aside from their intended purpose, these beverages aren’t always consumed in conjunction with sports. Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink.
Sports drinks are best suited for intense physical activity.
If your child is participating in an intense game with constant movement and an elevated heart rate, a small serving of sports drinks may come in handy from time to time. But most youth sports don’t involve that level of activity. Fluoridated water is almost always a better choice.
Sweetened drinks that are high in sugar and calories, create a perfect storm that puts you at risk for cavities and other unhealthy consequences like weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that drinking water can actually help you lose weight.
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