While sports drinks are hardly a new addition to the world of sports nutrition, the saturation of advertising of the most popular drinks might have you wondering which brands are the best for proper hydration during and after workouts. Hiding behind fancy logos and fashionable packaging, popular sports drinks often contain some ingredients that are best not consumed in great quantities, and it's important to consider the nutritional facts of any sports drink you choose to buy.
Packed heavily with calories and sugar, a bottle of Powerade, generally sold in 32-ounce bottles, will contain as many as 300 calories and is packed with sugar and sodium. While the sweet taste of the drink might encourage you to drink more to properly rehydrate, the calories tend to break the bank and the company goes overboard with the sugar and sodium content.
Instead of regular Powerade, consider a bottle of Powerade Zero, which is a zero calorie version of their sports drink. As with all sports drinks, beware of the sodium level present in Powerade Zero. An entire 32-ounce bottle will contain 400 mg worth of your daily allowance of sodium.
2. Glaceau Vitaminwater
With a heavy hitting group of major sports celebrities and actors endorsing this line of drinks, what most consumers fail to realize is that Glaceau is absolutely clogged with sugar. The one redeeming fact of Glaceau is that the drink has no sodium and often contains a boosted amount of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B12. If you enjoy hydrating with this drink, make sure you watch how much you consume since a full, standard-size bottle can offer around 125 to 150 calories.
With slightly fewer calories present in a 32-ounce bottle than Powerade, the long-standing leader in hydration drinks, Gatorade, will also offer you less sodium and sugar. If you decide to gulp down a standard size bottle of the drink, you might be consuming more calories than is required for simple hydration. If you're a fan of the taste of Gatorade, consider trying the company's low calorie option for hydration, its G2 line of drinks. The company has also started introducing natural drinks into its lineup, which are advertised to be free of artificial sweeteners.
While drinking a flavor-free glass of water might not sound like an appetizing endeavor after a long workout, what many exercise enthusiasts fail to realize is that very rarely will it become necessary to replace electrolytes through drinking. Even after completing such endurance sports as a marathon or a triathlon, most individuals can properly recover their body's electrolytes with food rather than drink.
By eating a healthy, balanced meal after a strenuous workout, you can work to ensure you're not consuming excess sugar through sports drinks and can instead properly hydrate with a cool glass of water.