August 09, 2017

Do You Really Need to Drink a Sports Drink?

Experts explain when H2O is sufficient and when we need something more.

If you've ever run a race, competed in a triathlon, or even just attended a kids' soccer game, you've seen athletes swigging bottles of neon-colored sports drinks. Grocery stores are glutted with products that come in a rainbow of flavors, from Mountain Berry Blast to Glacier Freeze, all claiming to be scientifically formulated to replace lost electrolytes and improve your performance before, during, and after exercise. But how much do you really need them during exercise?

While some studies support the idea that athletes should drink carb-heavy drinks, this idea isn't supported across the board. So we spoke with exercise scientists and medical professionals to find out if sports drinks ever really make sense (and if so, when)—or if they're nothing more than glorified sugar bombs.

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