Back to Top Skip to main content

Sports drinks: What are you really putting in your body?

Generally our bodies are comprised of approximately 60 to 70 percent water. We need water for digestion, energy and oxygen transport, and temperature regulation. Senior Airman Johanna Magner, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, drinks water on the flightline in front of a KC-135 Stratotanker. With rising temperatures during the summer months people are encouraged to drink more water to stay hydrated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell) Generally our bodies are comprised of approximately 60 to 70 percent water. We need water for digestion, energy and oxygen transport, and temperature regulation. Senior Airman Johanna Magner, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, drinks water on the flightline in front of a KC-135 Stratotanker. With rising temperatures during the summer months people are encouraged to drink more water to stay hydrated. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Summer Safety

AUGUSTA, Ga. — We’ve all seen the TV commercials portraying an athlete consuming a sports drink as a quick way to refuel after an exhausting practice. But what’s really in a sports drink? Are they just for athletes? How did they become so popular?

The sports drink industry started in 1965 when an assistant coach for the University of Florida football team took a particular interest in why the summer heat was affecting his players’ performance at practice. The football staff decided to collaborate with a team of scientists at the university to determine a solution to their problem. The results of their research indicated that the football players were not adequately replacing carbohydrates, fluids or electrolytes following exercise and thus a product named “Gatorade” was developed.

In general, sports drinks are typically a calculated blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes and water. Simplified, this translates to a water-based beverage with sugar, salt and sometimes a few extra micronutrients added in.

Generally our bodies are comprised of approximately 60 to 70 percent water. We need water for digestion, energy and oxygen transport, and temperature regulation. We lose water every day, mostly through urination and perspiration (sweat), and it’s up to us to replace it through what we eat and drink.

However, sweat is made up of more than just water alone. We also lose sodium (salt), potassium and other micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium when we sweat. These nutrients, also referred to as electrolytes, are found in many of these foods we eat and help maintain fluid balance and assist in muscle and nerve regulation. Many Americans already consume more salt than what is needed in a day, therefore, it is important to be mindful about how much of these electrolytes are we consuming versus losing during exercise. Maintaining a balance of these electrolytes and water in our blood minimizes risk for dehydration. This is why sports drinks characteristically claim they contain added electrolytes for optimal hydration.

That leaves only carbohydrates to explain. This nutrient is our body’s main source of energy and can be found in a variety of foods and beverages such as grains, fruit, milk and even some vegetables. During exercise, our body’s energy levels become depleted. These fuel levels, more specifically known as muscle glycogen stores, must be replaced by consuming carbohydrates (often found in sports drinks as sugar).

Sugar is a “simple” or “refined” form of carbohydrate that provides easily available energy for our muscles but lacks any extra nutritional value. For this reason, it is important to remember that we can maximize our nutrition when refueling after exercise with whole and minimally processed meals or snacks such as a piece of fruit paired with a glass of milk.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.


You also may be interested in...

The Defense Health Agency participates in AUSA 2019 annual meeting

Article
10/18/2019
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, DHA Director, discusses upcoming Military Health System changes designed to improve the readiness of combat forces during a seminar held at the Association of the United States Army 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C.  Lt. Gen. Place explained how DHA is standardizing systems to improve healthcare across the enterprise.  (DHA Photo by Hannah Wagner)

Focus on quality care, innovation at home and on the battlefield

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health

The Head, Hand, and Heart of Women’s Health

Article
10/4/2019
Maintaining peak health is critical for all military personnel. This month, we focus on women whose health concerns and symptoms may be different from those in men. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Roger Jackson)

Health is universal for military personnel and civilians, but some health concerns affect women differently. Here are a few examples.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Women's Health

Women's Health Month: Take ownership of health, wellness issues

Article
10/1/2019
Navy Cmdr. Francesca Cimino, M.D. (standing) confers with a colleague in the Family Medicine department at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. (Courtesy photo)

Regular cancer screenings are vital, but there's much more to longevity

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Women's Health

Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Video
9/30/2019
Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Measles can be life-threatening, especially for children and among people who have a compromised immune system.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Video
9/23/2019
Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Hand washing alone will not prevent the spread of measles. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Video
9/17/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine components have been rigorously tested for safety. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Video
9/12/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Vaccines that prevent measles do not cause autism. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella | Autism Care Demonstration

Prevent to Protect: Analia

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Analia

Cancer left 5-year-old Analia Pages unable to get vaccinated. Her father, Master Sgt. Edward Pages, has to take extra steps to protect her from diseases she’s susceptible to.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Rosarios

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Rosarios

10-year-old Tatiana Rosario has a weakened immune system as a result of her cancer treatment. Growing up, she and her family made sacrifices to keep her safe from disease.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Immunization Awareness

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Immunization Awareness

Getting vaccinated not only protects yourself and your family from deadly diseases, but it also saves the lives to those who don’t have the immune system to fend for themselves. The Military Health System shares the stories of families with children who are at risk when others aren’t immunized.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Barbara and Floriann

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Barbara and Floriann

Barbara’s son Floriann grew up with an immune dysregulation. A Uniformed Services University pathology professor, she’s experienced first hand the importance of vaccines.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

DHA IPM 19-006: 2019–2020 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (o), implementing instructions, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the seasonal influenza vaccination program. • This DHA-IPM cancels and reissues DHA-IPM 18-005. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately and will expire 12 months from the date of issue.

Water and sports drinks, what to drink, how much and when

Article
8/21/2019
Staff Sgt. Shaun Martin, a combat medic assigned to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital's LaPointe Army Medical Home on Fort Campbell, drinks from a 16-ounce bottle of water to maintain his hydration for optimal performance. On average, the Army recommends men should consume about 100 ounces of fluid (3 liters) each day, and women should aim for about 70 ounces (2 liters) for baseline hydration. In hot and humid environments and during physical activity, more is needed to maintain hydration — about one ounce per pound of body weight. To reach your goal, drink regularly and frequently, even if you are not thirsty to avoid dehydration. Water is usually the best choice over coffee, soda, energy drinks and alcohol because those beverages can pull water from the body and promote dehydration. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)

Performance suffers from even small amounts of dehydration

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health

Five tips for back-to-school vaccinations

Article
8/19/2019
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ayla Soltren, a 5th Battalion Army Reserve Career Division counselor, collects school supplies with her daughter, Lana, at a Back to School Info Fair hosted by the 6th Force Support Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 3, 2019. Another tradition of the season is making sure vaccinations are up to date to keep students healthy and protected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan C. Grossklag)

Keeping children up-to-date on vaccinations protects them from vaccine-preventable infections that can be spread throughout schools and day care centers.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health

For healthy older adults, new shingles vaccine is worth the wait

Article
8/16/2019
A pharmacist prepares a dose of the shingles vaccine to be administered at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital's Town Center Pharmacy, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (U.S. Army photo by Maria Yager)

Availability has improved across the MHS, experts say

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 7

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.