SUNDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- In most cases, water is a better choice than a sports drink when you're thirsty, an expert says.
"Sports drinks shouldn't take the place of regular water intake," Brooke Schantz, a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics at Loyola University Health System in Illinois, said in a university news release.
"Yes, [sports drinks] will help hydrate you, but the average healthy child, adolescent and adult doesn't need the extra carbohydrates and calories that come with consuming these sugary beverages," she explained.
Because they contain carbohydrates, sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade or Cytomax can be beneficial during long workouts. People who exercise for one hour or more should consume between 30 grams and 60 grams of carbohydrates -- the body's main energy source -- to help maintain blood sugar levels. Most sports drinks contain 4 percent to 8 percent of carbohydrates.
"Consuming these beverages during exercise that lasts more than one hour can aid in hydration and help provide needed energy to hard-working muscles," Schantz said.
She offered the following advice to clear up confusion about what to drink and when to drink it.
The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition offers fast facts about sports nutrition.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, August 2012
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