Monday, August 20, 2012

When to Choose Sports Drinks over Water

Loyola dietitian weighs in on hydration options

MAYWOOD, Ill. – With all the different sports drinks on the market, it can be hard to decide whether to reach for a sports drink or water to quench your thirst. In most cases, water will meet your hydration needs, according to Brooke Schantz, a Loyola University Health System registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics.

“Sports drinks shouldn’t take the place of regular water intake,” Schantz said. “Yes, they 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."

Schantz said there are certain cases when sports drinks are beneficial. Carbohydrates, our main energy source, can be found in sports drinks. Those who exercise for one 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 of carbohydrates to help meet those needs.

“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.

The following tips will help to alleviate confusion about what to drink and when to drink it.

When to choose water:

  • While sitting on the couch
  • During a 3-mile run or bike ride
  • While sitting at your desk studying or working

When to choose a sports drink:

  • While participating in a sporting event or endurance race that lasts longer than one hour
  • While exercising in extreme environments, such as in severe heat or humidity, the cold or at a high altitude
  • If you are an athlete who has missed or not consumed a high quality, preworkout meal to sustain your physical activity
  • If you are a wrestler or if you participate in another sport where you limit your energy intake prior to a weigh-in

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.