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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 19 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.
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Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 47 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.
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Dr. Bryan Levey
Pediatrics 28 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.
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Dr. Francine Yep
Family Medicine 32 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!
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Dec 26, 2018

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