Save sports drinks for sports or exercise

Aug. 28, 2012 at 6:45 PM

CHICAGO, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Sports drinks shouldn't take the place of regular water intake unless a person is playing sports or exercising, a U.S. registered dietitian says.

Brooke Schantz, a Loyola University Health System registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics, said sports drinks will help hydrate you, but the average healthy child, adolescent and adult doesn't need the extra carbohydrates and calories in the sugary beverages.

Carbohydrates are in sports drinks and those who exercise for 1 hour or longer should consume between 30-60 grams of carbohydrates to help maintain blood-sugar levels. Most sports drinks contain about 4-8 percent carbohydrates to help meet those needs.

"Consuming these beverages during exercise that lasts more than 1 hour can aid in hydration and help provide needed energy to hard-working muscles," Schantz said in a statement.

Schantz advised to choose plain water:

-- While sitting on the couch

-- During a 3-mile run or bike ride.

-- While sitting at a desk studying or working.

Choose a sports drink:

-- While participating in a sporting event or endurance race that lasts longer than 1 hour.

-- While exercising in extreme environments, such as in severe heat or humidity, the cold or at high altitude.

-- If you are an athlete who has missed or not consumed a high quality, preworkout meal to sustain your physical activity.

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