These ingredients, combined with a variety of fruit flavours, create pleasant tasting drinks that, according to the companies, are suppose to help your athletic performance. Results prove that commercial sport drinks generally accomplish what they set out to do. That is, they make fluids available for the body, and increase endurance, but at the same time they can create unwanted gastroesophageal reflux. Sport drinks make fluids available to the body and are consequently very effective in preventing dehydration. One tactic sport drinks use in order to accomplish this is by adding sodium and glucose to the drink.
These ingredients stimulate fluid consumption by the body, causing the athlete to drink even more, and become rehydrated (Rehrer 45). Another way that sport drinks maintain hydration in the body is by having less than or equal to 10% Carbohydrates (CHO) and small amounts of electrolytes in the beverage. This composition makes fluids available for dilution of body fluids at similar rates, thus hydrating the body (Davis 1056). Rapid fluid absorption is important during strenuous athletic activity in order to avoid dehydration.
A CHO level of approximately 6% and the presence of salt are important in order to achieve optimal fluid absorption (Davis 1057). Also, it should be noted that Sodium in the sport drinks helps to maintain body fluids, unlike other beverages such as water that can promote fluid loss through urination. As well, sport drinks have the ability to provide a subject with an increased amount of endurance for their exercise. One reason why sport drinks have this capability is due to the carbohydrates found in the beverages.
These carbohydrates exist as either of two sugars, sucrose and glucose-fructose, which provide the energy for the body that makes sport drinks better to use during exercise than water (Tsintzas 155). Carbohydrate consumption allows athletes to work harder for longer periods of time and to feel better while doing the exercises. A recent study determined that runners who had only water to drink lost speed during the race compared to those who had sport drinks. Also, performance time was faster in runners who consumed the sport drinks as opposed to water. It was only during the final 17.
2 kilometres of the race that the performance times began to differ and the runners who drank the sport drinks ran faster (Tsintzas 156). Furthermore, the exercise intensity was higher towards the end of the race from those runners who had the sport drinks. As with most performance enhancing implements, sport drinks have potential drawbacks. A negative side effect of consuming sport drinks during exercise is the tendency for an athlete to experience gastroesophegeal reflux. Although the use of sport drinks did not have any adverse effects on the gastric emptying process, it stimulated gastroesophegeal reflux.
Studies revealed that the reflux lasted for a longer period of time during exercise than at rest. More importantly, the reflux lasted longer with a sport drink than with water, largely due to the carbohydrates in the sport drinks (Peters 68). Consuming a sport drink (CHO beverage) combined with physical exercise is responsible for increasing the frequency of gastroesophegeal reflux. In summary, research has confirmed, for the most part, that the claims made by sport drink companies concerning the effectiveness of their drinks are true. That is, they increase endurance and prevent dehydration by providing the body with fluids.
The sport drink companies have put a lot of money into advertising a product that works as advertised. It should be eminent that sport drinks are obviously not essential every time a person works out. However, research has proved that for endurance events and athletic competition sport drinks are very effective in preventing dehydration. A question that remains unanswered is whether or not it is worth paying for the sport drinks. Overall, athletic performance will not decline because a person does not use sport drinks, but in the quest for improving athletic performance, sport drinks are an excellent place to start.