Water outperforms sports drinks for young athletes

April 14, 2017

(HealthDay)—Water is a better bet than sports drinks for young athletes, sports medicine specialists say.

Most youngsters don't exert themselves at an intensity or duration that requires the extra sugar and salt contained in sports drinks, said Dr. Matthew Silvis. He is director of primary care sports medicine at Penn State Health Medical Center.

"Sports drinks can replenish some of what you lost during exercise, but you really need to be exercising for more than 45 minutes to an hour before you would consider that," Silvis said.

"Many of our kids are not doing enough to warrant it," he added in a university news release.

Also, giving children with extra sugar puts them at risk for weight gain and tooth decay, Silvis and his colleagues noted.

Dr. Katie Gloyer is a primary care sports medicine physician at Penn State Medical Group, in State College. She agreed that "kids and adolescents really should not be using these drinks. Water is the best method of hydration."

Energy drinks that contain caffeine or other stimulants are also ill-advised for children, the physicians said. These beverages can boost blood pressure, cause heart palpitations and , headaches and upset stomach.

Some kids may also feel jittery or nervous after downing an energy drink, the experts added.

Coaches and parents should provide water to make sure children are properly hydrated during exercise, the doctors said.

"If they are playing 30- or 45-minute halves, they should have a break, and maybe add fresh orange slices or a granola bar to add a bit of sugar and/or protein at an appropriate level," Silvis said.

After exercise, whole or low-fat chocolate milk works just as well—if not better—than recovery drinks. "Chocolate milk has the perfect combination of fat, proteins and carbohydrates that you want to get back into your system," Silvis added.

Explore further: Eliminate sweetened drinks, cut kids' sugar intake

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on sports and energy drinks.

Related Stories

Energy and sports drinks not for kids: study

May 31, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- In a recent study published in Pediatrics, Dr. Holly Benjamin from the American Academy of Pediatrics, urged parents and pediatricians to keep sports drinks and energy drinks away from children and adolescents. ...

Children consuming sports drinks unnecessarily

June 27, 2016

A high proportion of 12- to 14-year olds are regularly consuming sports drinks socially, increasing their risk of obesity and tooth erosion, concludes a Cardiff University School of Dentistry survey.

When to choose sports drinks over water

August 21, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- With all the different sports drinks on the market, it can be hard to decide whether to reach for a sports drink or water to quench your thirst. In most cases, water will meet your hydration needs, according ...

Kids' sugary drink habits start early

January 26, 2017

(HealthDay)—Despite health messages to limit sodas and other sugary beverages, most American children drink them often, new government statistics show.

Recommended for you

'Diet' products can make you fat, study shows

April 25, 2017

High-fat foods are often the primary target when fighting obesity, but sugar-laden "diet" foods could be contributing to unwanted weight gain as well, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.