Updated: May 16
Sports and energy drinks are becoming popular. It is quite easy to chance upon a sports or energy drink advertisement as you surf through the internet or tv channels. Many times, during healthy lifestyle presentations, I have been asked by clients if it is ok to drink these. I hope this article will give you some useful insights.
Sports Drinks These are flavoured drinks that contain carbohydrates (sugars) and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. They may also contain added vitamins. Sports drinks should not contain energy enhancement ingredients such as caffeine. During exercise people, sweat and electrolytes are depleted and need to be replaced. Sports drinks are designed to replace the fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat and to rapidly deliver both carbohydrates and fluid to the body and to minimize dehydration.
Energy Drinks These most often containing caffeine. They are intended for use by people with high energy requirements such as people in active sports. They often contain high amounts of caffeine and may contain other metabolic enchasing ingredients not suitable or children and expectant mothers. WHO recommends that pregnant women with high daily caffeine intake (more than 300 mg per day), lower their daily caffeine intake during pregnancy to reduce the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight neonates. Health Canada recommends the maximum daily caffeine intake for children under 12 should not exceed 2.5 mg/kg of body weight.
Based on average body weights of children, this means a maximum of: • 45 mg for children aged four to six, about one 355ml can of cola • 62.5 mg for children aged seven to nine, about one and a half 355ml cans of cola • 85 mg for children aged 10 to 12, nearly two 355ml cans of cola. • Teens should follow the precautionary recommendations of 2.5 mg/kg body weight. • Older and heavier adolescents may be able to consume up to the adult limit: 400 mg/day, not more than two cups of coffee a day.
Research done on sports drinks is typical of adults. Even though they may be marketed as safe to maximize athletic performance it may give very little benefits in children and may be totally unnecessary or the average child engaged in routine or daily play-based physical activity. Sports drinks may contribute to the overall hydration in active sports. For the average child, water should be the first choice for hydration before, during and after routine physical activity. Due to the carbohydrate contents of sports drinks, which is mostly simple sugars, they can contribute to the overall energy intake and if taken in excess can contribute to obesity in children and young athletes as well as increase the risk of dental caries. Your weight loss plan could be sabotaged by the unintended extra calories consumed from these drinks. Energy drinks should not be used as a fluid replacement. This is because of its high caffeine contents and can mask the signs of dehydration. Energy drinks are not soft drinks and are not safe for children and expectant mothers, and parents should desist from giving children energy drinks.
In general, adequate carbohydrates to support routine physical activity in children can be obtained by following Health Eating Well Diet Plan. Children and adolescents should be encouraged to drink a lot of water during a routine exercise. You could meet your hydrations needs by drinking a lot of water and natural fruit juices. It is recommended that we consume at least 6-8 glasses of water in a day. Try to take some water before, during and after exercise to maintain adequate hydration.