How Athletes Should Choose the best Sports Drink


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How to Pick the Right Drinks for Sports and Athletic Performance

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How Athletes Should Choose the Right Sports Drink. CARBS. Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that provides calories to sports drinks. This is because glycogen losses during long and intense SODIUM.

When an athlete sweats, sodium is the second greatest loss next to water. Just as drink blends. How Athletes Should Choose the Right Sports Drink By Joanne Kelly October 12, 2019 No Comments Regardless of your athletic discipline or performance level, chances are you’ve reached for a sports drink during a training session or competition.

Sports drinks are a very important tool in elite athletics however, the importance of water is unsurpassable. Studies have proven that in workouts under 1hr water is the ideal fluid. So while your favorite sport drink may look tasty on a warm spring afternoon, make sure you are choosing it for the right reasons, to mazimize athlete performance.

Try a sports drink with protein. This extends endurance, delays fatigue and prevents or slows muscle breakdown. Look for drinks that utilize whey protein instead of soy for improved protein efficiency. Try: Accelerade with its 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio (also available with caffeine) or PureSport Workout.

Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints. If you’re not properly hydrated, your body can’t perform at its highest level. Although sports drinks can improve the performance of athletes during several types of exercise, they are probably unnecessary for most people.

If you choose to drink these beverages, it is. So, now that you know how to choose the proper beverage, you might be wondering how much you should consume during exercise. Endurance athletes should aim to get 30-60 grams of carbohydrate for each hour of exercise.

A 24oz sports drink that is 6-8% carbohydrate supplies 42-57 grams of carbohydrate. Caffeine: Some sports drinks include caffeine to give you more energy to power through workouts. Caffeine is known to be a performance-enhancer when taken before and during exercise. Drinking water. If your activity lasts an hour or more, either fruit juice diluted with water or a sports drink will provide carbohydrates for energy plus minerals to.

It’s important to select the right sports drink for you. Beyond calories, carbohydrates and hydration, a sports drink or mix contains electrolytes. These minerals, primarily the sodium lost in sweat, are essential for athletes.

Losing too much sodium during a session can cause puffiness, gastric distress, cramps and confusion.

List of related literature:

An athlete using a sports drink should familiarize himself or herself with the contents of the beverage of his or her choice.

“Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine” by Lyle J. Micheli, M.D.
from Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine
by Lyle J. Micheli, M.D.
SAGE Publications, 2010

Athletes’ needs vary tremendously; the choice of a sport drink should be as individualized as possible, and time should be taken to determine the proper match for an athlete’s physiological needs and taste.

“NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition” by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Bill Campbell, Marie Spano
from NSCA’s Guide to Sport and Exercise Nutrition
by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Bill Campbell, Marie Spano
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2011

Young athletes should drink according to the plan shown in Table 12.1, which is based on body weight.

“Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes, 3rd Ed.” by Monique Ryan, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
from Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes, 3rd Ed.
by Monique Ryan, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN
VeloPress, 2012

Each beverage has benefits and drawbacks; therefore, athletes should determine fluid choices based on individual tolerances and preferences.

“Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition” by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
from Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition
by Heather Hedrick Fink, Lisa A. Burgoon, Alan E. Mikesky
Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006

Performance benefits from these drinks have been clearly documented, not only in endurance activities but also in burst activities as well (e.g., soccer and basketball).10,17 Sport drinks differ from one another in a number of ways besides in taste.

“Physiology of Sport and Exercise” by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
from Physiology of Sport and Exercise
by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

Athletes should therefore reserve the consumption of these drinks mainly for training sessions and competitions and not necessarily as a refreshment beverage during the day or in the hours leading up to exercise.

“Practical Applications In Sports Nutrition BOOK ALONE” by Heather Fink, Alan Mikesky, Lisa Burgoon
from Practical Applications In Sports Nutrition BOOK ALONE
by Heather Fink, Alan Mikesky, Lisa Burgoon
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2011

Athletes should start drinking before Sensing thirst and continue to drink at regular intervals.

“Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning” by Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle, National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.)
from Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning
by Thomas R. Baechle, Roger W. Earle, National Strength & Conditioning Association (U.S.)
Human Kinetics, 2008

Study 2 offers experimental evidence from 200 fans who sampled a sports drink with brand team cobranding on the label in the brand logo’s original colors or the team’s colors.

“Back to the Future: Using Marketing Basics to Provide Customer Value: Proceedings of the 2017 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference” by Nina Krey, Patricia Rossi
from Back to the Future: Using Marketing Basics to Provide Customer Value: Proceedings of the 2017 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference
by Nina Krey, Patricia Rossi
Springer International Publishing, 2017

Instead, it has been argued that athletes should simply drink according to their thirst (Noakes and Speedy, 2007c).

“Present Knowledge in Nutrition” by John W. Erdman, Jr., Ian A. MacDonald, Steven H. Zeisel
from Present Knowledge in Nutrition
by John W. Erdman, Jr., Ian A. MacDonald, Steven H. Zeisel
Wiley, 2012

It is important that athletes consult the allied health professionals with the drink they chose to consume.

“The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan” by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
from The Active Female: Health Issues Throughout the Lifespan
by Jacalyn J. RobertMcComb, Reid L. Norman, Mimi Zumwalt
Springer New York, 2014

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • I get the feeling there’s more to it than this, at least for ellete athletes. Marathoners claim it reduces cramping better than just water. But not unlike most things in the human body, it’s complicated. For most of us, probably not.

  • Everyone know that Sport Drinks for short sessions or competitions are useless. Its only after 1+ hours of strenuous exercise that it matters.

  • Freshest is bestest. Read the label before spending your hard earned $$$$..The bottling industry will stop at nothing to sell their stuff.

  • Well, I love coconuts and they seem like such a natural food source, and I live on an island! Hopefully the next vid can say that it has some nutritional value

  • Thank you! Thank you.
    I have taught Body Fluids & Renal Physiology for decades and whenever I was asked about this topic of hydration during exercise my answer has been PHYSIOLOGY.
    If your hypothalamus & your kidneys work, your body will respond appropriately and you will be all set.

  • Sports drinks contain artificial colors and often fructose and have little to no potassium. Pure coconut water is way better for restoring potassium. Also, who the hell drinks 1 or 2 QUARTS?! A pint is plenty for me.

  • Totally agree with this video. There is so much crap around sports drinks and other sports nutrition product marketing that it’s laughable. I prefer to train on water as much as possible. Saying that sports drinks have their place in endurance events for convenience more than anything else. Quick to consume and digest and can be taken on the go without slowing down. Not essential, just an easy solution compared to a lot of food options. You can swap bottles quickly or carry a hydration bladder etc.

  • I’ve been a triathlete for over 30 years. Regardless of the race distance, from Sprint to Ironman, I’ve always found that I feel better and perform better without Sports Drinks. I drink water and eat a variety of nutrition, including gels washed down with water.

  • Well my delusion is crushed. I still love coconut water tho, and will continue to drink it. Thanks for the facts tho! I still think it’s great to rehydrate and get some cahbs in ya. Peace!

  • If its man made dont eat or drink it.these tests are on processed coconut water and should be of no interest to anybody.crap report.,,,!!!!

  • Hey, so, “drink according to thirst” sounds good. But doesn’t the Daily Dozen stipulate 5 12-oz glasses of water? And there’s another video here on water consumption that essentially said, ‘the more the better”. So…. ummm… should I drink according to thirst, or strive to drink a lot?

  • This guy seems like he needs to take a nutritional class, because he knows NOTHING. Gatorade has too much sugar, so for regular folks like you doing 30 minutes to one hour workouts, all that sugar basically adds to all the work you put in. If anyone should even consider Gatorade, it is marathon runners or triathlon competitors. Even then, the sugar in those sports drinks are so high. Stay with Pedialyte.

  • Flaw in the reports! Should use real young coconut instead, not the pasteurised prepreprocessed life-less stale coconut water packaged in plastic film carton.

  • Actually you don’t even need a sports drink. Only real athletes would benefit from these types of drinks but is not really necessary to drink any sports drinks. Ordinary people DO NOT need to drink sports drinks, there is no benefit from drinking it vs drinking water to stay hydrated. Even pro athletes can make do with just water without having to worry. Water is all you really need to hydrate. Sports drinks are mostly sugar and other unnecessary shit that your body does not need.

  • I don’t understand how does coconut water have too much potassium? If 1 cup has 600mg of potassium and for an adult we are supposed to receive 4,700mg daily.

  • Please Dr. Greger! I have a burning question about a recently discovered ANIMAL BASED superfood, the human sperm. I feel so energized eating it and it would make an awful lot of sense for it to be high in nutrients.

  • Okay if the next episode doesn’t take into account loosing electrolytes or even mentioning cramping that takes place during intense exercise(CrossFit, gymnastics, marathon running, exc.) then I’ll still believe coconut water would be better for you. Also coconut water has sugars (not as much as sports drinks) which is needed especially when your glycogen stores are running low

  • Do you have a video on Energy drinks? If no please do! I would like to know what they do to the body and this is one of the only sources i trust.

  • Thanks for putting this in the daylight………..haven been using this [ORS] just a few months after the first publication… took many more years for ORS to be recognized in the develops countries

  • I’m totally shocked by this! For years I thought it was one way. I love this video was created and with credible sources nonetheless!


  • Thank you, this topic is just what I needed! I hope you can expand upon ways to fix electrolytes depletion/imbalance during long distance running (20k, marathon).

  • I don’t drink coconut water (too expensive!) but if I was, it would not be for better hydration or performance, it would be for better *recovery*: what about cramps for ex., and “next day” heavy legs/sore muscles?

  • This is worst nutritionfacts video I have seen, and erodes my confidence in Dr Greger.

    1. thirst is dysregulated by stress. that’s why most westerners do not drink the recommended volume of fluid daily. anyone involved in fun runs, charity rides, etc knows first aiders are overwhelmed with people who cramp and have not kept themselves hydrated adequately. The ambiguity in the first question is that regular hydration becomes essential beyond the level of thirst for events longer than 1-1.5hours. Pro cyclists have to be trained to take more water than thirst would stimulate them to.
    Take home message: The thirst mechanism, like most other physiological systems, is subject to dysregulation, and therefore not generally reliable in a stressed population.

    2. electrolyte intake is totally dependent on electrolyte losses. Using the word ‘generally’ is BAD science, and BAD questionnaire design. Essentially all people need electrolyte replacement for sport lasting longer than 90 minutes in temperate climes, and 45mins in hot tropical climes.

    3. and 4. dehydration and electrolyte loss are very much co-factors in exercise related muscle cramping. the others are inadequate training of key muscle groups and inadequate energy intake. Other common factors not addressed in the literature are nerve root irritation in the spine that increases tone and predisposition of innervated muscles to cramping (especially lower limb musculature), and poorly vascularized old fibrotic scars in muscles that act as seed regions for cramps due to metabolic disturbances.

    It’s easy to confound the facts when neophytes with no significant work experience in the field, skim over them.

  • I can’t stand the taste of coconut water for some reason. I like the taste of coconut cream & the oil for cooking & baking. Unfortunately I have always used it sparingly because I never read that it was a truly healthy alternative.

  • So should my daily intake of water be controlled just by my thirst? I never get thirsty! Or was this only while exercising? Also why did u rant about the electrolytes in the first place if they aren’t a big of a deal? To maybe undermine Gatorade and state that sugar and salt do the same trick? I have heard electrolytes help with hangover too. Too many questions Dr. G..

  • I live in Taiwan, where I lose lots of water due to dehydration…I can buy coconut water straight from a coconut lady who chops off the top in front of me and pours out the fresh juice…since drinking it on a regular basis dehydration and subsequently headaches have decreased…I have also recently started eating a plant based diet so this could also have had some effect

    Were these particular studies carried on fresh coconut water or the processed ones? Could be a factor!

  • The MDR for potassium is so high and coconut water is a good source of potassium. I can appreciate not drinking too much, but it is low sugar, and high potassium seems like it can be valuable to drink for nutrients and a glucose boost. I would not expect it to be better than water or worse. I did not expect the potassium to be a problem. How much coconut water would you have to drink to be in the danger zone? Should there not be some kind of warning on the bottles? I don’t drink a lot of coconut water, but I do drink it fairly regularly. How much is too much?

  • Lol the whole point of sports drinks is to be used as an excuse for high performance to cover up the fact that they’ve been doping……..but no matter how good your pharmaceuticals are you still need carbs ������

  • did you know only 20 percent of medical research is available to the public? the corps that fund these studies classify it and throw it away if it disrupts their buisnesses ect. so, even with research its really hard to come to a conclusion with many things.

  • I run ultramarathons and you do need electrolyte replacements, I have tried all of the other crap, and even tried just eating sodium-rich foods which wasn’t enough. Just started using Pedialyte and noticed a HUGE difference. No gas from the sugary drinks AND no swelling of my hands, which ALWAYS happens during these events, especially in the heat and humidity. I would use it for any distance above a marathon.

  • The time trials in the study are far too short to provide meaningful data. Show me a 9,700 second trial, and then let’s talk about which is better.