Sports and energy drinks over the years have become well-known for their sugary flavors and sweeteners that have made them two of the most consumed beverages in the world among athletes and bodybuilders. These beverages come in all different kinds of flavors and concentrations, with added in supplements that are reported to help boost performance. Looking at these two types of drinks side by side, it is clear that energy drinks like Bang and Monster aren’t as healthy for you as sports drinks like Gatorade.
To know why an energy drink is more harmful to your health, it is important to understand the differences between energy drinks and sports drinks. First, look at what ingredients they contain, and which drink best suits you and your training style. Most importantly read the entire label or article. But even before that, let’s look at energy drinks in a finer light.
An energy drink is a soft drink that contains sugar and caffeine, usually the two main ingredients, which when consumed, boosts your energy levels for extended periods of time. These drinks have recently gained popularity because of the accessibility to consume them quickly during a workout, in addition to showing increase in the range of performance. But don’t forget, there are some negative sides to these popular beverages. Here are some reasons why energy drinks are bad for your health:
Energy Drinks Contains Added Sugar
Energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar that exceed the recommended daily sugar intake.
The average energy drink contains between 27 and 31 grams of sugar, per eight ounces, which is over half the recommended daily intake. The recommendation for sugar is no more than 25 grams of sugar (six teaspoons) per day for women and 36 grams of sugar (nine teaspoons) daily for men.
Consuming energy drinks with high amounts of sugar may have adverse health effects, including contributing to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Obesity increases the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It also increases blood pressure and inflammation, contributing to heart disease and stroke. Many energy drinks also contain a lot of artificial sweeteners that may cause weight gain.
Energy Drinks Can Cause Harm to Your Heart.
The amount of caffeine may vary depending on the energy drink you consume, but it will always be higher than what you would get from a cup of sports drink. Most energy drinks contain a high amount of caffeine, between 70 and 240mg per serving, while a cup of coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine.
Caffeine can cause a rapid and erratic heartbeat, high blood pressure and anxiety when consumed excessively or regularly. It can also lead to insomnia, irritability and restlessness.
In fact, a 2014 review found that five patients reported heavy energy drink consumption out of 11 patients with severe heart problems, including cardiac arrest.
The side effects of energy drinks are not limited to those listed above. Some people experience nausea, headache, palpitations (rapid heartbeat), dizziness, and heart arrhythmias. Some examples of energy drinks are:
- Red Bull
- Red Bull
- Eastroc super drink
How Do Energy Drinks Differ From Sports Drinks?
The main difference between these two types of beverages is in their ingredients. A sports drink contains electrolytes, carbohydrates and other nutrients that can hydrate, help replenish the body’s electrolytes, and boost energy levels during exercise.
On the other hand, energy drinks contain caffeine and a lot of sugar, which increase alertness and temporarily boost energy levels but do not provide any nutritional value whatsoever, which may leave you exhausted after a workout. Because of high stimulant ingredients such as caffeine, herbs like guarana, ginseng and sugar, energy drinks may cause you more harm than gain, hence not helpful.
However, some energy drinks like Bang and Monster have been improved. They contain vitamins, proteins, and even minerals like sodium and magnesium, making them healthier for you.
The table below illustrates the difference between bang monster, an energy drink and Gatorade Thirst Quencher, a soft drink’s nutritional value.
|Bang Monster Ingredients
|Bang Monster Nutritional value per 16 fluid ounces (fl. oz)
|Gatorade Powerade Ingredients
|Gatorade Thirst Quencher Nutritional value per 20 fluid ounces(590ml)
|50 kcal (210 kJ)
|Super Creatine (Creatyl-L-Leucine)
A sports drink is a beverage that contains electrolytes, carbohydrates and water. It hydrates the body after an intense workout and replenishes carbohydrates and the electrolytes lost during exercise. They can also reduce muscle cramps and soreness after strenuous exercise and give you that extra energy you need to push past the finish line and boost endurance.
This drink is formulated with the right mix of ingredients that help your body rehydrate and absorb the nutrients it needs faster than ordinary water. For instance, sports drinks have 50 calories per bottle/per serving, compared to water which has zero calories.
Hydration is essential to your body, especially when working out as a bodybuilder. It helps with cardiovascular function, regulates body temperature, and improves your performance. Hydration also ensures the proper functioning of your muscles. To optimize your hydration as an athlete or a bodybuilder, ensure:
- You drink 16-20ounces of sports drink four hours before working out. This is to ensure you are adequately hydrated.
- Drink sports drinks according to your thirst sensation during the exercise, but do not drink more than 800ml per hour, which may increase the risk of developing dilutional hyponatremia
- Drink 16-24 ounces of fluids for every pound of body weight you lose after exercise.
Electrolytes in Sports Drinks
When you work out, you lose electrolytes through sweat which you need to replenish by taking a fluid (sports drink) that contains the same electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body with an electric charge, including potassium and magnesium.
Electrolytes maintain osmotic pressure and help to regulate fluid balance. They are also essential for your body’s normal function and the proper functioning of your nerves, muscles and digestive system.
For instance, potassium is necessary for muscle contraction, heart rhythm and nerve conduction. It also helps to control blood pressure, regulates the pH level in the blood, and helps rid the body of waste products.
Sodium is necessary for maintaining fluid balance because it helps maintain the electrical potential difference across cell membranes, while magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions; it is also required for energy production within cells and keeps the muscles strong.
Potassium, Magnesium and Sodium are the main electrolytes added to sports drinks. However, the amounts added vary depending on the brand and the manufacturer.
Mostly, Sports Drinks have 110 to 500 mg of sodium per serving and 45 to 370 mg of potassium per serving, while just a few offer the added benefit of magnesium.
What Are the Best Sports Drinks for Your Health?
There are many sports drinks on the market today, which can vary significantly in terms of taste and texture. Sports drinks come in three primary forms: hypotonic, isotonic, and hypertonic. They include:
1. Gatorade Zero Thirst Quencher
As the original sports drink, Gatorade has been around since 1960, when Philip Morris created it to hydrate athletes during long-distance running events like marathons and triathlons.
Today it’s still one of the most popular sports drinks on the market due to its unique taste and high-quality ingredients.
Although it’s the original one, it contains artificial food dyes, making it unsuitable for someone who wants to stick to a clean lifestyle.
If you’re looking for a sports drink to help you reach your goals, look no further than DayLyte. This product contains concentrated electrolytes and no artificial flavors or preservatives. It also has zero calories, zero sugar, and zero carbs and is 50% sodium, making it suitable for anyone who is sodium sensitive.
DayLyte can be used by both men and women as long as they do not have any health issues related to electrolytes. This product is also gluten-free and non-GMO vegan. All these make it suitable even for ketogenic diet people.
Cytomax has the best combination of minerals and electrolytes to help you maintain your energy levels during exercise. It has 22grams of carbohydrates from multiple sources, which utilizes the body’s ability to transport and deliver energy through unique pathways. In addition to sodium and potassium, it provides 14 mg of magnesium, which is necessary for energy metabolism. It’s sweetened with stevia.
It is an excellent elite product for boosting endurance in elite athletes on a long-distance run or training for an event, cycling and triathletes.
It’s a blend of carbs and proteins of a 4:1 ratio that helps you replenish your energy, boost muscle and keep your muscles hydrated after a rigorous workout. It contains dairy in whey protein form. Avoid it if you have dairy allergies.
It increases rehydration by 15%, reduces muscle damage by 83%, and increases endurance by 295%.
5. Gatorade Zero Thirst Quencher
It was introduced into the market in 2018. It contains low calories and low sugar compared to traditional sports drinks. It has the same amount of electrolytes as Gatorade Thirst Quencher and offers the same health benefits. The difference is that it has low to no sugar and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
6. Nuun Performance
The Nuun Performance sports drink helps prevent dehydration by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes while also helping to replace additional fluids lost through sweat.
It contains a blend of 380 mg of sodium, 210 mg of potassium and 20 mg of magnesium electrolytes. It is available in powder form, making it easy for you to pack and allowing you to mix according to your desired hydration needs.
7. Muscle Milk
Muscle milk is from milk, an excellent source of protein, and contains 5 grams per serving, making it a great choice for hydration and those looking to boost their growth. It also has high potassium of 1000g per serving.
The type of muscle milk will depend on the product. It can be milk protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein concentrate, or sodium caseinate.
Comparison Table for the top 7 Sports Drinks
The table below shows the comparison among different sports drinks.
|Gatorade Fierce Thirst Quencher1
|Gatorade Zero Thirst Quencher
Natural Sports Drinks
Apart from the sports drinks mentioned above, you can also use natural sports drinks in your workout. They include
- Coconut water
- Vegetable and fruit juice
- Plain water
- Black coffee,
- Green tea
Disadvantages of Drinking Too Many Sports Drinks
Although sports drinks help you stay hydrated, replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates, and give you that extra energy you need to exercise, it also has cons if you drink too many. Consuming too many sports drinks can lead to several health problems, including:
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
Sports drinks are meant for athletes and bodybuilders training hard or needing to keep their bodies hydrated during intense workouts or games.
It’s crucial to keep hydrated before and after strenuous exercise. While water is always the best choice, a sports drink could also help maintain electrolyte levels in your system by using ingredients like sodium and potassium. However, both options are high in calories, so stay within your daily caloric budget when selecting the best option.
It is clear that energy drinks have advantages and disadvantages, but if you prefer them, keep them to one or two servings a day and don’t overdo them to stay healthy.