Types, functions and recipes of sports drinks


Sports drinks, in addition to having a pleasant taste, have gained the level of popularity they have due to their usefulness and favorable effects in high-performance activities.

What are sports drinks for?

Sports drinks are intended for rapid rehydration as well as replenishing nutrients that are lost in high-performance sports activities such as electrolytes, as well as fluids that are excreted through sweating.

Sports drinks provide:

– Water and Carbohydrates (mainly sugars).

-Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, chloride and calcium). Electrolytes are important as they help balance the amount of water in the body.

The main electrolytes found in sweat are sodium and chlorine, but there are also small amounts of potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, and zinc.

-Avoid dehydration.

Replacement of fluids, carbohydrates and electrolytes

Drinking fluids during exercise can attenuate dehydration-associated impairment of thermoregulatory and cardiovascular functions. For fluid replacement to be effective, water must be absorbed into the blood. Water consumed during physical activity can appear in the plasma within 10 to 20 minutes of drinking.

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Water absorption is maximized with around 30 g of carbohydrates. Sports drinks contain up to 3 times this amount without causing gastrointestinal symptoms or impairing rehydration.

The composition and concentration of electrolytes in a sports drink is complex, which is why there are formulas approved for use in athletes. Since several factors such as temperature, osmorality, energy density, among others, are considered.

  • Coconut water to replenish electrolytes, does it work?

Sports drinks are designed to be used in physical activities in which a high physical effort is made and with a duration of one hour or more, they are not made to be consumed during or after activities of low duration and intensity.

The ideal fluid replacement drink should be determined for each athlete. In general, a sports drink must meet the following requirements:

-Pleasant flavor to stimulate ingestion.

– Quickly leave the stomach.

-Be rapidly absorbed in the intestine.

-Ensure complete rehydration.

-Improve performance.

Types of sports drinks

There are different types of sports drinks according to their compounds, therefore, their impact and purpose, in these they stand out:

– Hypertonic:

They have a higher amount of sugars and sodium.

– Hypotonic:

They have a lower amount of sugar and sodium.

– Isotonic:

They contain a balance in sugar and sodium content.

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In turn, there may be a similarity with energy drinks due to the objective of the activities that are related to consumption, however, their purposes and composition are actually different.

Composition and solutes added to water in a rehydration drink

  • Carbohydrates: 30- 100 g/L

– Fructose: 35 g/L (maximum).

– Glucose: 55 g/L. (maximum).

– Sucrose: 100 g/L

– Maltodextrin: 100 g/L

– Sodium 450-700 mg/L.

– Optional: Potassium: 155-700 mg/L, Chlorine: 1500 mg L, Magnesium 100 mg/L, Calcium: 225 mg/L.

Maximum of 430 mOsm/kg. Hypo-osmolar or iso-osmolar beverages are preferred.

Take into account when drinking sports drinks:

It is worth mentioning that the intake of energy sports drinks in high and frequent amounts for sports purposes can be counterproductive and harmful to health, due to the elements they contain, such as caffeine and taurine.

Stay hydrated and energized!

If you perform a physical activity regularly and feel that at the end you are not with an increase in energy or, on the contrary, you are fatigued or even dizzy, you may have dehydration.

Identify a sports drink that gives you the electrolytes you need and helps you hydrate in a timely manner.

Consult with your coach, sports doctor or other sports specialist regarding the sports drink you already use or plan to consume regularly, regarding its long-term impact, as well as the frequency and portion that is right for you, in this way you will know if it is the best alternative for you.

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Hydrate with natural coconut water

The best recipe for a “natural” sports drink is coconut water. If your exercise is sporadic, light or moderate.

  • Coconut water to replenish electrolytes, does it work?
  • Coconut water has many health benefits. Due to its electrolyte content, it helps to hydrate you. It can be natural coconut water, or if it is industrialized, make sure it is made with natural coconut water.

    Sources: School of Public Health.



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