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A 27-year-old member asked:

Are sports drinks better than water for kids who have been exercising?

4 doctor answers13 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Rodbell
Pediatrics 18 years experience
Usually Not: If you sweat for less than 2 hours, water is usually best. After 2 solid hours, it's advisable to replenish electrolytes. However, the typical sports drink contains far too little sodium and far too much sugar. To make an effective rehydration solution, for every 2 cups of sports drink add 2 cups water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Or, start from scratch. Recipe: http://rehydrate.Org/solutions/homemade.Htm.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
Not at all: The council on nutrition of the aap has reviewed sports and energy drinks and found them of little or no use for children & adolescents (2010-2011). The fact that they are highly advertised should give all a reason for concern.They offer little more than a cola, and their sugar content is high enough to give problems with excessive weight gain over time.
Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 27 years experience
Usually Not: Sports drinks are often full of sugar and salt that is unnecessary for most kids. If, however, the exercise requires a lot of endurance (long distance running, a three hour soccer practice on a 90 degree day etc.), then they can be helpful, in limited amounts. Some kids like to drink sports drinks when they're thirsty and inactive. This is a bad idea; way too much salt, way to many calories.
Dr. Francine Yep
Family Medicine 31 years experience
NO!!!: Agree with my colleagues: you need to sweat for 2 hours or more for sports drinks to be worth it. Lots of sugar: 12 ounces of gatorade can have up to 5 teaspoons of sugar. Also, gatorade/sports drinks can be bad for your teeth. One study showed that gatorade chewed through protective tooth enamel more than coca cola. Yikes!

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Last updated Dec 26, 2018

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