Are Sports And Energy Drinks Good Or Bad For Athletes?
This is a common question we get asked all the time, are sports and energy drinks good or bad for athletes?
This is a loaded question and one that we will have to break down by type of drink so that we can be fair to the ones that are beneficial and tell you the ones that aren’t.
To start with we would like to say that we truly believe that you should get as many of your nutritional needs met as possible from whole foods.
So, instead of having a carb drink, have a baked yam, a bowl of oatmeal or a couple pieces of fruit.
That being said, we know everyone is busy and craves the convenience of a shake or a premade beverage that all you have to do is pop the top and drink it. We totally get that. But, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop telling you to do what’s really best for you which is to consume whole foods first and supplements second.
That being said,
Are sports and energy drinks good or bad for athletes?
Let’s break it down into the different categories and go over them one by one.
Category 1 Energy Drinks
We can say without reservation that if the ‘energy’ drink contains stimulants that it is one of the worst thinks you can put into your body as an athlete.
Newton proved in his ‘Laws Of Gravity’ works that; what goes up, must come down. This means you too!
When you stimulate yourself with herbal stimulants or caffeine you send your heart rate soaring dangerously when engaging in sport or training for sports of any physical nature and kind.
You have falsely jacked yourself up, put yourself at great risk and now you inevitably have to come down of that stuff.
This is not good for your body in any way shape or form. As a matter of fact it can be harmful both in the long and short terms.
If it doesn’t appear that the drink has any herbal stimulants of caffeine, then how is it giving you ‘energy’?
If they are herbs that assist the body in producing its own energy such as the action of Vitamin B-12 then that’s perfectly fine. But, direct stimulants should not be used to enhance athletic performance as they can potentially carry the gravest of consequences as shown in the deaths of several people who have consumed them.
Category 2 Sports Drinks That Carb You Up Or Replace Electrolytes
These can be consumed if you want, but be wary that you watch your blood sugar response to them so you don’t start setting yourself up for diabetic challenges later on.
Also, you should limit their consumption due to the fact that many have been shown to rot your teeth faster than even soda does.
Do they really help?
Well. if you’re in the middle of a game, match or meet and you’re bonking (out of energy) then use them. If you’re full of energy and raring to go then don’t.
Category 3 Meal Replacement Drinks And Bars
These should not be used to replace whole foods as they are missing out on so many of the vitamins, minerals, phyto nutrients, enzymes and other factors only found in whole foods.
That being said, they do have their place.
As an example: If you know that you just won’t eat 6 meals per day but you need to so you can diet or pack on the size, then use them.
If having 4 whole food meals per day and two high quality meal replacements gets the job done, then go for it. So long as the bulk of your calories come from whole foods.
If you’re using them because otherwise you just won’t meet your protein requirements for the day then go for it as well.
Category 4 Protein Shakes
This is the one category where you can pretty much do as much as you like.
You really want to be sure that your protein product doesn’t have artificial sweeteners or that it’s loaded with sugars or fructose as this is not a real protein powder.
Instead go for one that’s just whey protein, just brown rice protein or the like with no other added ingredients.
This is going to give you the most protein bang for your buck and you can add it to anything you want to make it taste how you like it.
Having a protein shake and a salad is perfectly acceptable. Or a shake and a baked yam, baked potato, several pieces of fruit or anything else that’s whole food. There is nothing wrong with that at all.
You just don’t want to give your body anything that pushes it around or weakens it. These things will never be good for you no matter what the TV commercial says.
We are not against supplementation at all. It’s just that we are very, very pro whole foods and you should be too if you want real long term success.