Are Sport Drinks Really Good For You?

In part 2 of our feature of nutritionist Kenlyn Young, the topic of healthy sports drinks is brought into the discussion. Is just water sufficient for an athlete? What about sports drinks? Below, our featured blogger answers some of your most pressing questions about sports drinks.

“Staying hydrated is a critical component of exercise. Drinking 2-3 glasses of water several hours before exercise is a must. And of course, during as well. Thinking of grabbing a sports drink? Think again. For most people participating in a sporting activity, drinking water is absolutely adequate. Sports drinks do provide sodium, the electrolye that is lost during exercise, however along with the sodium comes sugar, artificial colors, and brominated vegetable oil, a known harmful product. Most individuals have more than enough sodium in their diets to compensate for exercise. However, if one feels the need to replenish electrolytes after exercise a much better choice than a sports drink is V-8, chocolate milk, or 100% fruit juice. Fruit juice contains more carbohydrate, potassium, and nutrients than a sports drink.”

-Kenlyn Young

Snack on this: A nutritionist’s perspective

As a practicing dietician in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Kenlyn Young has a lot of advice for athletes who depend on good nutritional practices for optimal performance. Snacking is an integral part of an athlete’s diet, if done right. Here is some advice from Young for best snacking habits for an athlete.
“The goal of eating pre-exercise is to ensure the body has adequate energy for best performance and also to ensure that blood sugar levels don’t fall causing weakness, dizziness, or fatigue. Carbohydrates are the body’s main fuel source and provide quick energy for our muscles. Great snacks to serve this purpose include 100% fruit juice, a piece of fruit (best choices bananas, fresh pineapple or dried apricots), pretzels, popcorn, or a granola bar. Avoid snacks high in processed sugar, fat, and protein for your pre-exercise snack. The no-no snacks include chips, cookies, donuts, etc.
After exercise, it is important to replenish and repair our muscles. The best snack for post-exercise contains both a carbohydrate and a protein. Great choices include cheese and crackers, apple with peanut butter, yogurt with granola, carrots with hummus, almonds and raisins, even chocolate milk.”
-Kenlyn Young