Whatever happened to drinking good old water during sports activities? Advertisements from our favorite, health-promoting companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi (wink, wink) have convinced us that our kids will keel over from loss of vital electrolytes unless they consume bottle after bottle of Gatorade or Powerade. They promise these drinks will improve their performance levels ten fold. We see top athletes on commercials actually sweating these drinks out of their pores as they rise to yet another high level of accomplishment. Seriously ridiculous! There is NOTHING in these drinks that will make you a better athlete or make you outperform your competitors. In fact, they give your competitor an edge over you! After consuming them your blood sugar spikes and then plummets quickly causing sluggishness and decreased energy output.
When these drinks first emerged on the market they were loaded with sugar. When we became concerned about all the sugar and the extra calories we were giving our children, companies came up with the low calorie or calorie free versions using sucralose (Splenda- see our previous post on this scary substance) and other artificial sweeteners. When we realized the drinks were also full of dangerous carcinogenic dyes (also linked to ADHD), they answered with clear products like Propel and Vitamin Water, once again trying to convince us we are helping our kids to be healthier and reach their athletic potential. I’ve got to hand it to their marketing firms- Genious! They have a high percentage of the population completely fooled.
You do not need to worry about replacing electrolytes unless you are exercising vigorously for 5-6 hours straight, as in marathon running. If that is the case, there are two simple solutions. First, you can add a small amount of natural, unprocessed sea salt to your water. This provides 84 different minerals and trace minerals to rebalance your electrolytes. Another option is pure coconut water, but pay attention to the ingredient list with this beverage. We are seeing many companies adding sweeteners to make their product appealing to people who are used to the sugar laden sport drinks.
Schools across the country are swapping out soda machines for sports drink and vitamin water vending machines, thinking they are giving students a healthier option. What they are really doing is switching one sugary, or artificially sweetened, drink for another. To replace the profit they might lose from their huge vending machine income, high powered companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are lobbying hard to make sports drinks the new “healthy” option to their sodas. Kids should not be drinking either one…EVER. We currently have a childhood obesity epidemic that is continuing to grow. Getting kids off these toxic, empty-calorie, chemical & dye laden products would go a long way toward improving that problem, as well as their overall health.
Transitioning off these drinks and can be a challenge with kids. We have several recommendations. Squeeze lemons, limes, oranges or other fruits into water to give them a little flavor. If they need an energy drink we recommend using a good Greens or Reds powder that can be easily mixed into a water bottle. You can usually find them at health food stores or we have them on our website. www.parkerhealthsolutions.com/results.asp?pgid=1&spg=25