The results of a Harvard study that appeared in Mondays Pediatric Journal finds that while teens are drinking less sugary soft drinks they are drinking more sports drinks. Sports drinks often have the same amount of sugar as sodas plus contain electrolytes, flavorings,and carbohydrates. They are designed to replenish athletes after intense work outs. They are not meant for the average athlete, water works best, in these situations.
While the choice of soda has declined, the number of students who drank sports drinks daily rose from 56% in 2010 to 57% by 2015.
Sports drinks are good for their intended purpose, but students who drink them while watching sports are consuming empty calories. The danger of obesity is just as real when drinking sports drinks as when drinking sodas. Sports drinks are designed to replenish the athlete that has worked out for an hour or longer and has been sweating. Sport drinks contain electrolytes which are necessary for normal function of body cell like muscles, especially the heart. Athletes lose electrolytes when they sweat. They contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate. When used correctly sports drinks can be beneficial for serious athletes, but dangerous for teens that drink them casually.
The American Beverage Association claims that the new study does not prove that sports drinks alone are causing weight gain in teens. The number of teens who pick sports drinks as their go to beverage increases drastically in teens who watch two or more hours of television a day. The study also noted that sports drinks are more popular with males, blacks, and Hispanics. Groups that are more influenced by sports stars.
Many teens have their own money and can buy their own beverages. While the decline in soda consumption is viewed as positive replacing it with sports drinks that contain the same amount of sugar plus other ingredients is not.