Do you need a sports drink?

Author Heidi Kessler

Girl in soccer uniform, drinking water.

Despite what marketing may lead you to believe, if you are active for less than an hour and not participating in very vigorous physical activity, you really don’t need a sports drink. Sports drinks are essentially diluted sugar water plus flavoring and a pinch of salt. The sugar adds extra calories to your body and is harmful to teeth.  Even if you choose a lower calorie version, you’re taking in extra salt that most people don’t need. And providing sports drinks to children can set the expectation that every beverage should be sweet. Besides, water is FREE!

Sports drinks may be beneficial in extreme circumstances where peak performance (high intensity/high volume) is needed over an extended period of time, but considering that less than 50% of Americans achieve the recommended minimum of physical activity, the average Joe will be just fine with good ol’ H20!