Written by Paul L.
On Sept 29, 2010
Are your kids active or participating in an organized sport? Do you happen to have a 24-pack sports drink sitting in your pantry? If you answered yes then you may have been duped. A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that teens often perceive sports drinks as part of a healthy lifestyle despite the high sugar content of the beverage.
Dr. Ranjit and colleagues at the University of Texas School of Public Health asked 15,000 teenagers about their eating and exercise habits and their beverage consumption. Of the teenagers surveyed, 22% of the boys and 17% of the girls were obese. One-in-four (28%) teenager reported consuming three or more sugar-sweetened beverages (that included sports and fruit-flavoured drinks) on a daily basis.
Teens that chose sports drink over soda were more likely to be active and participating in organized sports, drank more milk, ate more fruits and vegetables and had healthier diets than soda drinkers. The teens perceived sports drinks as a healthy rehydrating beverage for their active lifestyles.
However, Dr. Ranjit indicated that although sports drinks contain less sugar than sodas, it is still a significant amount in a daily diet. “Water is just as good for hydration in most cases,” says Dr. Ranjit. “Only people who are severely dehydrated due to diarrhea or some other reason really need this level of electrolyte replenishment,” she says.
Researchers credit the marketing success of advertised sugar-sweetened beverages that add little or no nutritional value to the consumer. Despite this, the industry is directing efforts to reducing the sugar content and adding more functional and nutritional value to food and beverages. For example, Gatorade’s new line of G Series Pro sports drinks contains carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
I guess the take-home message from this study is that water is often sufficient for the casual athlete and teenagers. Paying attention to the sugar content of beverages is a good way to stay health-conscious.