Here is The Reality About Children and Sports activities Drinks

Ought to youngsters drink Gatorade and different sports activities drinks? Discover out the details!

I walked out of the grocery retailer the opposite day holding one thing surprising on my shoulder: A case of brightly coloured bottles of Gatorade.

Why surprising? For years, I lobbied to interchange sports activities drinks with water on our native pee-wee soccer fields and helped different mother and father do the identical of their communities. (Get my free Sports activities Snack Handbook if you wish to assist change sports activities snack tradition in your youngster’s crew.)

As a result of pee-wee gamers trotting round a subject for half-hour don’t want Gatorade. Tennis gamers competing in a multi-hour match on a scorching day? That’s one other story.

What are sports activities drinks?

Sports activities drinks like Gatorade have been created for elite and endurance athletes, to ship a combo of fast hydration and carb and electrolyte substitute throughout train. The principle components in sports activities drinks are:

  • Water: To stop dehydration
  • Carbohydrate in some type of added sugar: To present vitality to muscle groups throughout train, hold blood sugar ranges secure, and make it style good
  • Electrolytes like sodium and potassium: To switch minerals misplaced via sweat (sodium additionally enhances the flavour)

Is Gatorade an vitality drink?

Although they’re typically confused by customers, sports activities drinks are NOT the identical as vitality drinks. Power drinks often pack caffeine and different stimulants and aren’t acceptable for youths.

Most children don’t want sports activities drinks

They could have been designed for elite athletes, however sports activities drinks present up in any respect ranges and intensities of sports activities, together with pee-wee video games. And most youngsters merely don’t want them. What they want as an alternative: Plain water.

Of their 2011 medical report about sports activities drinks and vitality drinks, the American Academy of Pediatrics says:

“Water can be usually the suitable first alternative for hydration earlier than, throughout, and after most train regimens…For most youngsters and adolescents, every day electrolyte necessities are met sufficiently by a wholesome balanced weight loss program; due to this fact, sports activities drinks supply little to no benefit over plain water.”

American Academy of Pediatrics

Electrolytes aren’t arduous to get

Electrolytes aren’t particular, proprietary components discovered solely in sports activities drinks. Sodium and potassium, which will be misplaced via sweat, are simply changed via meals for most youngsters.

Meals and snacks equivalent to a banana, half a sandwich, crackers and cheese, or yogurt and fruit can restock misplaced sodium and potassium AND present vitamins like protein.

Advertising is deceptive

Sports activities and vitality drinks are being marketed to kids and adolescents “for all kinds of inappropriate makes use of”, warns the AAP.

This advertising has misled some mother and father into believing that sports activities drinks are mandatory for any type of sporting occasion, like pee-wee soccer video games or t-ball video games that contain extra sitting and ready than operating and sweating.

I’ve additionally heard mother and father say youngsters want them in the event that they’re doing any sport in heat climate or just taking part in within the yard and sweating.

Reality is, many youngsters in sports activities aren’t exercising as intensely as mother and father might imagine they’re. Greater than half of youth sport time is spent both in sedentary or light-intensity exercise, in keeping with analysis from the College of Minnesota.

Sports activities drinks have a well being halo

In a single analysis examine from Yale College, greater than 1 / 4 of oldsters price sports activities drinks as “considerably wholesome” or “very wholesome”. There’s a perception that sports activities drinks are higher for youths than different sweetened drinks.

However a 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade nonetheless accommodates greater than 5 teaspoons of added sugar (that’s near the quantity the American Coronary heart Affiliation recommends for an entire day). Sweetened drinks like soda and sports activities drinks are the number-one supply of added sugar for youths and youths.


In different phrases:

  • Two sorts of added sugar
  • Citric acid, which may put on away tooth enamel
  • Artificial meals dye
  • Emulsifiers and stabilizers
  • Sodium and potassium that children can get by consuming meals

These are all accepted and secure components. However for most youngsters, plain water is solely the higher alternative.

Sports activities drinks will be dangerous for tooth

They is probably not fizzy, however sports activities drinks are acidic like soda. Most sports activities drinks have an acidic pH of three–4 (citric acid that’s added can erode tooth enamel). The sugars and acids in sports activities drinks additionally up the danger of cavities.

When ARE sports activities drinks useful?

I purchased that case of Gatorade as a result of my son’s crew was taking part in a multi-hour tennis match in scorching climate. Tennis is a vigorous sport, and the youngsters have been taking part in a number of matches in full solar and warmth. Offering small bottles of Gatorade as an choice made sense to me.

If youngsters are exercising or taking part in sports activities intensely for greater than 60 minutes and have to replenish shortly through the exercise, sports activities drinks will be useful. It’s a lot simpler (and gentler on the stomach) to take a couple of gulps of sports activities drink throughout a fast break between matches than to take a seat down and eat a snack.

Sports activities drinks are additionally helpful for endurance athletes like marathon runners who have to restock on the go.

However for garden-variety practices and video games, having your youngster eat a wholesome snack or meal afterwards will do the trick. Get my listing of 21 Nutritious Sports activities Snacks for Children.

Learn how to discuss to youngsters about sports activities drinks

Sure, sports activities drinks have a spot. However there are quite a lot of advertising {dollars} being spent selling a drink to individuals who don’t want it, together with youngsters and youths.

So make sure your youngsters perceive that sports activities drinks received’t magically make them quicker on the soccer subject or higher in a position to catch passes in flag soccer, no matter what they see in on-line adverts and commercials–and that until they’re taking part in sports activities for a very long time, particularly in scorching climate, plain water is ideal.

Make your individual sports activities drink for youths

Sure, you can also make your individual do-it-yourself electrolyte drink! And it has method fewer components than the store-bought stuff. Right here’s a straightforward recipe from dietitian Jill Fortress.


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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