While sports drinks make sense for prolonged (greater than 1 hour) intense physical activity, they do not make sense for prolonged television watching. A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics (May 2018) shows that sports drink consumption has increased slightly among adolescents to 57.6% (up from 56% in 2010), although, what is even more concerning is that the rise is especially among teenagers watching greater than two hours of television per day. It is important to note that while the percentage who consumed sports drinks has increased, that the percentage of student who consumed sports drinks more than twice a week has decreased over the same time period.
"From a performance standpoint most teens and children participating in sports do not need a sports drink and just consuming water will keep them adequately hydrated", states sports dietitian Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD.
As far as day-to-day sports drink consumption, sports drinks can result in excess sugar intake in a hurry. One 20-ounce bottle of sports drinks has 10 teaspoons of added sugar. Encouraging mostly plain water consumption is the goal for athletes and non-athletes! Reserve sports drinks for times when it is truly needed, check out the hydration 101 handout for more guidelines and tips for athletes.
Also one of our favorite tips is to add a hint of flavor to water with fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs like: cucumber + mint, lime + lemon, strawberries + blueberries, cherry, etc.
Also for more on this topic check out the Q & A blog post, does a high school athlete need a sports drink for practice? Click here.