Water or Sports Drinks: What is the best choice for you?
Before you flood yourself with fluid, first ask yourself “Why am I drinking?” Sounds likea silly question, but the reason that you are drinking can help you determine what is the best thing to quench your thirst with.
If you are simply thirsty, any fluid of choice can help you douse your desire for something wet. But if you are watching your waistline, I would recommend something with very low calories, with the zero-calorie choice of water being at the top of the list.
There are many flavored waters with limited calories, and studies have shown that people drink more when given a flavored beverage, which makes these beneficial for those who do not get enough fluids on a daily basis. Remember, by the time your body tells your brain that you are thirsty, you actually are already in a dehydrated state, so drink before you become thirsty.
So where do the sports drinks like Gatorade fit in? These are engineered to have the appropriate balance of carbohydrates, sodium, and potassium, which encourages fluids to be quickly absorbed while replenishing the very important electrolytes that are lost in sweat. This makes them perfect for those exercising in a hot climate or when intense training or competition requires the energy packing carbohydrates that they possess.
The sports drinks are for athletes or exercisers that are sweating, and are not the best choice if you are watching your weight. The 130 calories that you may get in a bottle will negate the calories burned in a 30-minute walk for most people. Unless you are sweating a great deal, try sticking with water.
Remember, caffeine is a diuretic and will not be the most beneficial choice for hydrating!