Electrolytes (mainly sodium, potassium, and calcium) are minerals essential for cell energy and function, thereby giving the body energy to perform physical activities. They produce electric charges (yes, you read that right) that help regulate the body’s PH balance and general processes in the body. Hence, electrolyte imbalance results to a number of complications.
That’s why many people, athletes especially, drink lots of electrolyte replacement drinks. There is one problem, however; many electrolyte drinks are high in sugar.
High Blood Sugar = Weight Gain
Athletes can down two or three bottles of electrolyte drinks. If that brand of drink has lots of sugar, they’ll be consuming more calories than required. Weight gain is also possible if they are not doing enough physical activity to burn off the excess calories. E-Lyte Sport agrees, adding that drinking sugary drinks with the intention of replenishing electrolytes is like giving yourself a glucose IV.
According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition, the ideal sports drink contains 6%-8% carbohydrates per 90-240ml. Avoid brands with higher concentrations. The calories may be convertible to fuel, but your body will still need electrolytes to function.
Excess Sugar = Kidney Stress
Excessive sugar consumption increases the risk of diabetes – everyone knows this. But did you know that it can also lead to kidney disease? According to a research in Osaka University, people drinking two cans of soda a day can lead to protein in the urine. Researchers attributed the results to the high quantities of sugar in soda. Protein in the urine is a red flag: it signals probability of kidney failure if not immediately reversed.
Eroded Enamel = Week Teeth
Other than sugar, even sweetened sports drinks usually have citric acid. Drinking them often may result in enamel erosion and cavity formation, which can eventually weaken the teeth. A study found that sports drink brands with high acidity dissolved more tooth enamel than soda.
Sugary sports drinks are more trouble than they’re worth. Always check the label to protect your teeth and your limit your sugar intake.