Isotonic Sports Drinks: Pros And Cons

People who don’t completely understand what isotonic drinks are used for, have increased their consumption. In addition, not every drink or brand has the same energy charge. Their popularity represents confusion and a bad interpretation of the intended purpose for these energy drinks.
Isotonic Sports Drinks: Pros And Cons

Last update: 10 September, 2018

Isotonic sports drinks are useful to replenish the minerals and electrolytes that we lose after an intense workout. They’re specifically designed for training, sports and the fitness world. But… what exactly is behind this energy resource?

What are isotonic drinks and what’s in them?

Two sports drinks in a bench.

Isotonic drinks are meant to hydrate your body after an intensive workout. In this sense, they replenish lost body fluids and electrolytes.

To do this, isotonic drinks contain water, mineral salts and sugar, they’re usually low in sodium and can contain high amounts of potassium too. These ingredients provide your body with energy and the oxygen needed to recover from exhaustion.

The negative side to these types of drinks is precisely the large amounts of sugar that they contain; they’re processed sucrose substances (similar to the ones used in the pastries industry). People who want to have an excellent physical condition should refrain from consuming these drinks indiscriminately.

The issue with sugar in sports drinks

Sugar makes you gain weight, harms your muscle development and sports skills. If you consume sugar excessively, you can put your progress and performance at risk. So, in conclusion: the problem lies in how you consume them, and not in the drinks themselves.

Athletes should consume this type of drink moderately during, and after a workout. They’re particularly useful in the world of sports, because athletes can’t eat too much before training or competing.

The problem is that people use these products to replace sodas, juices or, even worse, water. They drink them before working out, at work, at lunch, etc. Some people even believe that a sport’s drink is healthier than regular soda, even though sports drinks contains large amounts of sugar.

Not all sports drinks are the same

Woman drinking a sports drink at the gym.

Another relevant issue with sports drinks has to do with the concentration of the ingredients. For example, if they contain too much sugar, the bowels may use up extra bodily fluids to dissolve it. This leads to severe dehydration.

And if they don’t contain enough minerals, the energizing effect may not be as efficient as it should be. In this case, we are at risk of consuming a lot of sugar that won’t accomplish its main goal.

As you can see, there’s not always a balance point and it all depends on the ingredients of each product, and our own body. This doesn’t mean that sports drinks are bad, it just means that you must find a balance and drink them moderately.

Pros: sports drinks should be a part of the athlete’s diet

A diet for each discipline and sport has something in common: they help to avoid indigestion during training. Especially in the morning, when an athlete’s breakfast may be extremely light. The burnout from training will obviously help us to use up all the energy we gained during the first hours of the day.

No athlete is able to give 100 percent of themselves on an empty stomach, or if they didn’t have enough food for breakfast. Sports drinks solve the energy issue without being a heavy or hard to digest food. They oxygenate, hydrate and replenish lost nutrients, so they’re not completely bad for us, during or after a workout.

To make it clear, a modern, healthy diet for athletes includes using these types of products. But you should drink them during and after your workout, and not as an accompaniment for dinner. They key is when you drink them! Only consume them during physical activity, or if you’re exhausted and preferably during the morning.

Remember that working out at the beginning of the day isn’t the same as exercising at night. Some people even use sports drinks to get some nutrients when they’re suffering from a digestive disease or food poisoning. A doctor should always have the final say in those cases.

To sum up, isotonic drinks are a useful resource for athletes during their training programs, but they shouldn’t be consumed excessively.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.