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Hydration dilemma - Water vs Sports and Energy drinks

Remember that beverage called water? It’s on the shelf next to every sport drink on the planet, and all those other fruit-flavored, brightly colored, cleverly named “enhanced water” beverages. Well that drink—the plain, boring one without the sugar and sodium—is the one your body really wants. Maybe not your taste buds or your eyes, but the rest of your body simply wants clean water.

When did drinking water become so uncool? I remember growing up and drinking....(wait for it)....TAP WATER. That's right. Water right from the kitchen sink!

Today, this phenomenon is virtually unheard of, and instead of grabbing a glass and going to the sink, kids and adults alike head for the fridge and pull out a sugary, carb-loaded, chock-full-of-sodium, but good-tasting, drink. If we dare to drink our tap water, we have filters attached to every pipe in the house, and then store it in ginormous pitchers with integrated filtration devices, just to make sure we remove all the natural benefits. Those that snub the tap, purchase bottled water, which somehow we are convinced is better for us than what's coming from our tap and our numerous filtered devices.

However, all joking aside, sports drinks and energy drinks may have their place in life. Sort of. Let's say your child plays a little league baseball game in the sweltering heat. Figure he's out there about 90 minutes. Since we are based in Florida, sweating for hours in the heat is a pretty common occurrence, so we know first-hand how draining this can be.

That said, a sports drink or energy drink might quickly replenish those fluids lost through sweat, but drinking too many sugar-filled, carbohydrate-containing sports drinks can increase the risk for obesity and tooth decay, particularly in youngsters. According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), there is no advantage to consuming the vitamins and minerals advertised in sports drinks because they are easily obtained in a well-balanced diet.

Personally, the sports drinks are too sweet for me, I just don't like they way they taste, or how I feel after drinking them. Amped up, is the best way I can describe it. However, I am not the norm. I spend most weekends at baseball tournaments, and watch parents and siblings guzzle down unnaturally colored sports drinks, energy drinks, and even soda at an alarming rate. That quick-fix, that blast of energy and umph, also comes with an extra 100-200 unnecessary calories, caffeine, and a host of other un-pronounceable ingredients, which, affect hormones, speech rate, blood pressure and more. Plus, the salt and sugar in those drinks will prevent you from ever feeling hydrated. You'll always want more....more of that sports drink.

I've had clients tell me they don't like water. My response: add some lime and ice to it and keep trying. Our bodies are made of water, which, you need to replace when expelled. Suck it up. Literally. No other drink can do what water can for you, so integrate it daily. Ideally you should drink a gallon (64oz) of water for every 100 pounds you weigh to be properly hydrated.

Ditch the excuses and give some good old fashioned water a whirl. My money says your kids will be calmer, you'll all feel better, more energized, and your bodies will thank you for sure!


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