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Pediatricians Warn Against Energy And Sports Drinks For Kids
While sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are marketed to student athletes for their replenishing nutrients, in this interview a sports medicine doctor warns against over consumption of the sugary drinks.


Do Now

Do you think sports replenishing drinks are beneficial for teen athletes, or should they just stick to drinking water? #DoNowHydrate

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Introduction

LeBron James drinking a cup of Gatorade on the sideline might persuade many people that sports drinks must be beneficial. As a result of marketing, sports drinks are consumed by people of all ages and have been popularized in modern society, allowing for the formation of many different sports drink corporations. With billions of bottles sold per year, sports drinks are a seven billion-dollar industry that is constantly growing and with the increase in sports drink production, they are now sometimes even cheaper than water. Companies, such as Gatorade and Powerade, claim that their products optimize athletic performance, but can these claims be affirmed by science?

When people exercise, their bodies lose water, salts, and other essential electrolytes through sweat. Their body utilizes electrolytes to sweat, increase water retention, regulate bodily fluids, control the pH balance of tissue, and facilitate muscle contractions. Many people drink sports drinks because companies advertise that sports drinks are better for hydration than water, since they are packed with these essential salts and electrolytes. Most sports drinks also contain high levels of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and BVO (brominated vegetable oil), which are considered highly controversial ingredients among nutritionists.

The Debate

Sports drinks contain many electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium and sodium.  Athletes tend to consume these drinks before, during, and after exertion, to replenish supplements that are vital to keeping their body functional and healthy.  As stated by Gatorade,Gatorade … hydrates better than water, which is why it’s trusted by some of the world’s best athletes.”  It is suggested that an individual consumes at least 100 calories before exercise to keep muscles hydrated and keep blood sugar at a typical level.  Some may argue that they are filled with unnecessary amounts of sugar and caffeine,  but the nutrients listed above are needed to restock the body’s vitamins after a vigorous work out.  Although it is not the healthiest drink out there, for youth it is a very satisfying beverage, while containing less sugar than sodas and other sugary drinks.

However, Gatorade and other energy drinks have faced criticism, particularly concerning potential diseases linked to the drinks and the excessive intake of sugars and carbohydrates. While sports drinks typically consist of electrolytes and citric acid amongst other ingredients, glucose-fructose syrup, or sugar, is often added for enhanced flavor. According to Deborah Cohen, author of The Truth About Sports Drinks, these added sugars could lead to insomnia, diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. When people drink sports drinks without exercising, sports drinks are equally as detrimental to their health as soda, since high amounts of  sugar and carbohydrates are converted into fat. Although Gatorade and other sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates – crucial ingredients for exercise not found in water – a healthy, balanced diet provides these nutrients.

What do you think about these sports beverages? Do you think they are beneficial for teen athletes, or should they just stick to drinking water? 


More Resources

VIDEO: Are sports drinks bad for you? (Harvard Health Publications)

ARTICLE: Gatorade Shakes Up the Sport Drink by Going Organic (The New York Times)

FACT SHEET: Sports Drinks Fact Sheet (Sports Dietitians Australia)


KQED Education partners with phenomenal organizations to bring you the Science Do Now activities. This post was written by the following youth from the California Academy of Sciences’ TechTeens program:

Alexander B., Arianna W.,  Cole P., Alexander Y., Jasjeet J., Jo T., Maia A., Mathew L., Michelle C., and June H.

The TechTeens are youth leaders who use digital media to develop and communicate science stories for the public.

  • Richa Desai

    #CSPBISV
    Biometric technology has become more prevalent nowadays. Biometrics utilizes body parts that show little to no change over time (i.e. fingerprint scans or retinal scans). Biometric information is stored as data, like passwords, but instead an encrypted image (fingerprint) or sound (voice) acts as a password. Biometric security is noted as an almost fail-safe method due to its uniqueness. Finding someone with the exact same retina as you is about 1 in 10^78. Biometric security is also popular due to its convenience and efficiency. But there is a widespread debate over biometric technology. This is because our bodies are always seen by the public; once someone has your fingerprint they can use it forever since your fingerprint will never change. In my opinion biometric security should be used. On one condition, that it is used alongside a password. Because if one person gets your fingerprint once you touch anything they can access anything. Or if they record your voice and manipulate it to fit the password. Either way, biometric security has its risk which is why passwords should also be used to stay on the safer side. What’s the harm in typing up a few numbers if it prevents someone from getting into your bank account.

  • Ellen L

    Biometrics is the present and future of privacy. The use of something on your body, that you always carry around and cannot lose, to protect your private information is amazing, and has revolutionized technology greatly. This is a very innovative approach to passwords. However, the amount of information within these scans that people risk being stolen and taken advantage of might be too great, especially for some of the things that we may put this password on (social media accounts, store websites, etc.) Also, for the possibility of a hacker somehow stealing this information, there would be no way to change it, making privacy harder to obtain. A way to prevent this is to have a double-layer of passwords- the biometric side, and a simple, old-fashioned word/number/pattern password, one that can be changed. #CSPBISV

  • Shreya Kn.

    Biometrics is definitely at the forefront of the technological revolution. The benefits are easy to see: passwords just aren’t as user friendly (having to remember numerous passwords, manually typing them in each time). The ease of fingerprint access to mobile devices is definitely attractive. However, the exchange for the convenience that biometrics offers is a loss of privacy. The risks run especially high when you consider the amount of damage that could come out of this information being misused. But biometrics have a lot of potential, and these concerns can easily be addressed in the future, especially considering the rate at which our technology is advancing today. Additionally, we can add multiple security layers to make it harder for hackers to access important private information.
    #CSPBISV

  • Anagha

    Biometrics is definitely the future, and it will drastically improve privacy. It will allow us to avoid easily hackable passwords, and use unique traits, such as fingerprints and voices, to access accounts. In addition to more privacy, it would also decrease the amount of time we have to stand in lines at banks and stores. Passwords may be difficult to remember, so biometrics is an obvious answer to this problem. Although there is a risk of this information being misused, the benefits outweigh the consequences, and biometrics will definitely improve our lives. The fact that biometrics is so personal and so unique means that the layers of security that it creates leads to a smaller chance of getting hacked.
    #CSPBISV

    • Diana Avila

      That’s very true! It makes paying and logging in much more easier, and passwords? By far the worst to try to memorize! I also agree that they are unique and have a smaller chance of hacking/fraud. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Eesha Singh

    Biometrics is worth the security risk because though your information may be leaked, your accounts are basically unhackable. This also is very convenient as you don’t need to memorize passwords or codes to your accounts. Also, it is very rare to have a similar pupil or fingerprint, so your account is secure. A counterargument to this would be that companies can obtain your personal information which can be misused, but the security provided by this technology is very advanced.

  • Diana Avila

    I believe that biometrics have been a good and efficient way to modern technology, although i’m not really sure if it would be convenient if we ever got to paying with our ear lobes. Biometrics have made it easier and faster to go in, pay, and much more! As the New York times article mentioned that theres a very fine line between your finger scan and another I wouldn’t say it’s that much of a threat. For people that don’t use this kind of technology yet (like me) due to maybe other people using it might lead us to do it as well, making this a growing tactic. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Rigoberto Lomas-Velazco

    I am a big proponent for people living their lives in whatever way makes them happy. So if someone prefers to drink Gatorade rather than water to quench their thirst, then let them do it. Regardless of their exercise routines. If the person wants to have an unhealthy lifestyle then it’s up to them. As long as the individual is well informed then all power to them. I don’t live as active a lifestyle as when I was in high school, so I have taken sugary drinks out of my diet. I do occasionally have a Gatorade or a soda, but it’s very rare when I do.

    • Lauryn L.

      I agree that people should live their lives how they want to however, I don’t think that sugary sports drinks should be utilized for people to just ‘drink.’ I do think that parents and adults need to monitor not only their childrens intake of these drinks but there own as well.

  • Lauryn L.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of sports drinks just because I don’t enjoy the taste. However, I feel that some kids do take advantage of what sports drinks do for you and the taste ‘enjoyment.’ For example, my sister just used to drink it for the hell of it and she used to get really bad headaches. I feel if you use it after a sports game that those additional electrolytes in the drink may be beneficial but theres also a reason our body needs water and not necessarily a sports drink.

    • Alexandra Julia Palomino

      Completely agree, water is the best way to hydrate and If you’re working out that hard eat a nutritious meal to replenish your needs. I think even though sports drinks are advertised to athletes more people drink it as a treat or like soda. Which would only have negative effects if drank regularly. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Marissa Diaz

    I do believe teens should cut down on the use of sports drinks. Some sports drinks are very sugary which could cause an underlying problem in the dead heat of the summer when you’re running the field. Many teens see famous athletes drinking these sports drinks and think they’ve got to drink them too, often times teens a long with parents do not check the nutrition facts on these sports drinks. Some teens many even abuse these drinks not knowing the down fall that is to come.

    • Alexandra Julia Palomino

      I agree, I think kids see athletes drinking Gatorade and think i’ll drink some too it’ll help me with the sports I play. In reality professional athletes are on really strict diets and mostly consume water. There are a lot of negative underlying affects like you said here’s an article I found that lists a few. http://heritageihc.com/blog/sports-drinks/ #MyCMSTArgs

  • Madyson Emory

    If kids want to drink some Gatorade before a game, or just as something around the house, I have no problem with it. I have a problem with the fact that some kids/athletes may drink it on a constant basis; never taking in something like water, or what-have-you. I drink Gatorade myself, but it’s never the only thing I drink. Energy drinks are good for, well… giving you energy, but it’s only for a brief amount of time and their are some negative side-effects to it as well. Really, it all depends on the person.

    • Robert Duron

      I agree moderation is key. A gatorade every know and then will not hurt you, but excessively drinking them will definitely have some affect. Younger kids especially shouldn’t be drinking them daily I think but that is up to the parents. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Freddy Ortiz

    The issue is not sports drinks, but the individual’s consumption of the beverage. Gatorade and other sport drinks are made to be consumed after a heavy workout, such as sports. These drinks cause no harm to ones body unless the consumer doesn’t fallow these guidelines. If a person drinks sport beverages without physical activity, in high quantities, they will harm themselves — overloading on nutrients and electrolytes. By all means teens shouldn’t stop taking sports drinks, they’re good for them after a workout — restoring what was lost. The issue is teens consuming too much of one thing when they don’t need it.

    • hayleyhibbens

      I completely agree with your first statement. There’s nothing wrong with having a Gatorade every once in a while! It’s all about moderation.

  • hayleyhibbens

    I have nothing against sports drinks. I don’t choose to drink them, partially because the taste does nothing for me and because it’s cheaper to just have a glass of water. I’m sure that there’s nothing wrong with drinking a gatorade every once in a while, it only becomes an issue when you abuse it. Any substance can be harmful if you consume too much of it. It’s all about moderation. If you’re someone who enjoys drinking sports drinks regularly, I’m sure that’s fine, just make sure you’re always getting your daily intake of water! #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Ben LI

    I think kids should slow down and drink less sports drink because it is full of sugar. There are benefits like electrolyte it will recover to your body. Otherwise water is the best way to go water is the best drink there is. You could drink it one or twice a month otherwise it is not very beneficial for any athlete.

    • danielle j

      I completely agree! The sugar makes them need more water anyways.

    • Robert Duron

      I agree with you that they are full of sugar and not that beneficial for athletes realistically, however i think once or twice a month is a little out there. Almost everything has sugar in it, from fruit juices too soda, and you can’t just drink water only. I don’t think a gatorade here and there is bad for you, only when consumed excessively is when issues will arise. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • bgirl272

      I agree that water is more important and the sugar content of these drinks is actually very bad for the kids.
      water is so important to our bodies, an drinking drinks like sports drinks ect is basically just giving us a good taste because they rest of the content other than the water portion is not needed. Also electrolytes can be found in many other natural substances if that is what they are seeking.

  • Robert Duron

    I do not think they are beneficial for kids, but it would still be difficult to get them to stop drinking them. They taste good, are adversitied effectively, and are relatively cheap. Ultimatley, it falls in the parents hands, they are the ones more than likely buying these drinks for their kids. Like anything, moderation is key, too much will hurt you, but if you have a gatorade here and there instead of water, I do not believe these health issues discussed will be a problem for you. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • danielle j

    As an ex athlete I do think that gatorades are good to have maybe one a game or practice but, I think water is a much better choice for any teen athlete. Moderation is key, and water is the best way to make sure you stay hydrated throughout games and or practice. #myCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Alisha

      Exactly! The athletes who participate in sports drinks ads should honestly advertise the idea of simply drinking water because I think people underestimate its importance. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Alexandra Julia Palomino

    Overall I do not think they are good for kids overall health, however teens maybe. It honestly depends on how competitive of an athlete you are. I played sports at a very high level when I was about 12-18 and you don’t need sports or energy drinks to get by there are a ton of healthy natural alternative ways to fuel your body. They are actual bad for you and should not be advertised as healthy sports fuel. #MyCMSTArgs

  • starsfromabove

    Do you think sports replenishing drinks are beneficial for teen athletes, or should they just stick to drinking water?

    I don’t think sports replenishing drinks are beneficial for teen athletes because they contain large amounts of sugar which may lead to other health problems such as diabetes and obesity. It also has caffeine an could stunt growth. These drinks also make athletes who drink them more dehydrated and tend to sweat more after consumption.

  • Julian Kirk

    Personally I have always had the attitude of being able to eat or drink whatever you want because it is your body and the risks you are taking. As long as you educate people on the risks that should be all you do. Once the person is educated then they can chose for themselves if they want to continue drinking stuff like gatorade or not. I do think teens should cut back on stuff like gatorade but like I said that is their choice to make and no one elses. If they are educated about it and still drink it, they will know the risks they are taking. It is up to them to chose if it is worth it or not.

  • Lorena Z

    I believe that teens should cut down on the use of sports drinks. I believe that it can help give people the energy that they need to be able to play the sport, but it is unhealthy for the body if the person is only drinking that. I believe it is better for teens or kids to just drink water, but if they are an competitive athlete then it can come into play.

    • bgirl272

      I also believe they should stick with water. The added sugar and chemicals in the drinks are probably only helping them psychologically be more in the right state of mind when playing. And if they think they really need the drinks there is probably just something wrong with their diet, exercise and sleep routine. I say keeping it natural is always the way to go.

  • Aileen Carranza

    I believe sports replenishing drinks are beneficial to an athlete because as long as they are educated on the cause it can bring then it should be fine, They should also have a set balance between water and one of the sports drink.

  • Luke Wise

    When it comes to consumption of sugary drinks, moderation is key. Gatorade is marketed to make consumers believe that they will perform like decorated athletes but what their flashy exercise montage commercials do not say in their ads is that those athletes do not completely substitute gatorade for water. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Kim Cuong Nguyen

      I agree moderation in sugary drinks is a smart idea. I think it is up to the individual to whether cut down on sport drink consumption or not. Drinking sport drinks when doing physical activities is okay health wise because it is hydrating, reduce fatigue, and replace loss electrolytes and minerals loss through physical activities. All in all, I agree moderation is good. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Carolyn Gurstein

      I agree that moderation is important and I think you brought up a good point about the commercials, athletes don’t only consume gatorade. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Alisha

      I agree! Too much of anything is a bad thing when it comes to drinks or foods so as long as people drink sports drinks in moderation, they should be okay. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Jordan Whalum

    I think that I’m in between the whole sports drink and energy drink thing because sport drinks like Gatorade and things are for athletes. It’s not like all athletes jug it down in 2 gulps. Like people take advantage of energy drinks such as monster or redbull and that’s the type of drink that really gets people hearts pumping and going. I think the sports drinks are actually good for you and teens. It’s just the energy drinks that teens should cut down on.

  • Craig

    I think people should drink sports drinks only if they are doing physical activity which would replace the electrolytes their burning

    • Kim Cuong Nguyen

      I agree that its okay to drink sport beverages when doing sports or other physical activities. Sport drinks provide athletes hydration, fuel, electrolytes, and minerals. When working out it is important to stay hydrated, and sport drinks like Gatorade get the task done. In addition, sport drinks delays fatigue when doing physical activities. Also when doing physical activities, our bodies loses minerals and electrolytes by sweating and sport drinks replaces the lost minerals and electrolytes. All in all, I agree with you. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Erica Marie

      I agree. The sugary content is sweat out when athletes exercise, but to sit on a couch all day and drink a couple of gatorades is unhealthy. Here is an article about more of the content inside these energy drinks! http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/is-gatorade-bad-for-you #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Kim Cuong Nguyen

    I think it’s up to the individual whether to cut down on drinking sport beverages or not. I also think that it is okay for individuals to consume sport drinks while they are working out because sport drinks hydrates the body, provide energy and delay fatigue, replace electrolytes and other minerals. However, it is unhealthy to drink sport drinks like Gatorade when not working out because your body receive no benefits from it, as well as there are high levels of sodium in Gatorade. All in all, I think it’s a personal decision to drink sport drinks or not, and sport drinks aren’t that unhealthy if your working out. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/what-to-drink-when-you-exercise#1
    #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

    • Carolyn Gurstein

      I agree that they should not be consumed on the regular if you are not working out and that it is definitley up to the consumer on whether or not they want to put that in their body. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • bgirl272

    I think that kids should definitely cut down on the amount of sports drinks they intake. When being very active water is extremely important, not the added chemicals in sports drinks. I think if they like the flavor it is ok in moderation, but all in all water is always the better alternative. Water is extremely important especially when doing a lot of physical activity, and the added things in sports drinks are unnecessary. I believe the idea of sports drinks was just to capitalize off of the idea that water isn’t enough, when it really is along with a balanced diet and quality sleep for athletes. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079

  • Carolyn Gurstein

    I think that it is up to the athlete on what they consume, if they really want to know what they are putting in their body they can check a fact sheet like this, https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Sports-Drinks.pdf . I personally believe water is a better option because there is no sugar and is always a healthy choice. But I do believe people have the right to make that decision. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Alisha

    If one is exercising or sick with the flu and vomiting, then only is it okay to drink sports drinks because sports drinks provide electrolytes. The body loses electrolytes during work outs or through vomiting so in order to compensate for that, one can drink the occasional Gatorade. However, as this article points out (http://heritageihc.com/blog/sports-drinks/), coconut water is a good alternate to sports drinks that provides the body with the same nutrients. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Linda miller

    I think that sports drinks are fine for teens to drink but there should be a balance between water and sports drinks because of the sugar level.

    • Erica Marie

      I agree! Everything in life should be consumed in moderation and balance. Water is the ultimate source for everything, and I think should be the basis of every athletes food/liquid intake #DoNowHydrate #MyCMSTArgs

    • Karla

      I Agree as well, i think it would be easy to balance out sport drinks and water. Drinking sport drinks only during the physical activity and water every other time of the day should make it okay. #MyCMSTArgs

  • JeffCMST

    In my opinion I feel like sport replenishing drinks are beneficial for teen athletes just because they are actually sweating it out and actually being active. Now if they weren’t being active and just being lazy or not really sweating it out of their system that would be a different story. Plus some of the drinks that those athletes are drinking have stuff in them that prevent them from cramping later on in the game. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Erica Marie

    I believe sports drinks are okay to consume, but definitely in moderation! One bottle before or after a game is okay, but 3 each day will lead to excess sugar and it is an understandable link that it can lead to diabetes. Going forward I think gatorade along with other energy supplemental drinks should revise their ingredients, by cutting back on sugar and fructose corn syrup. Yes those ingredients make it taste better, but they could replace it with more natural sources like sugar from real orange juice or other fruit sources. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Eric Purcell

    I believe that the reason we have “Sports Drinks” is in the name. It’s for Sports! It provides the carbohydrates that athletes need for their much needed energy, and uses electrolytes to help their body to absorb and make use of more fluids. Plain water doesn’t do that. These athletes actually have a need for beverages like this. It is the people who drink them with their meals because they taste good who aren’t putting the drinks to good use. They are getting nothing out of it, and getting loads of unnecessary carbohydrates that they most likely won’t be using. So, the bottom line for me is that kids who aren’t athletes who drink sports drinks should definitely cut back, but for kids who ARE athletes, sports drinks are almost necessary. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Bridget Aikawa

    Kids should definitely cut down on “Sports Drinks” unless they are actively participating in sports or activities that burn off those carbohydrates. Very active kids who are exercising for at least 1 hour can drink one of these sports drinks and it will be beneficial for them because of the electrolytes that are in the drinks, but it is the kids who are not active and are drinking 3-4 bottles every day that are hurting from the carbohydrates. Unnatural carbohydrates, such as fructose, get taken into the blood system and through the liver — which takes the sugars even if it does not need them — resulting in a fatty liver and an increase in risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Especially since kids are consuming the carbohydrates in drinks, it is much easier to consume more with less effort. Unless kids are extremely active for long periods of time, it would be wise to lay off of the sugary drinks and stick to water. As an athlete myself, playing in games that could go from 2 hours or longer, being active throughout, my go-to was always water not sports drinks and I never felt strained or “not adequately hydrated.”

  • Benny Tamburrino

    When it comes to sports drinks, I do not have any problem with the amount of sugar because I know that when playing sports you need easily accessible sugars to consume and keep you going for a longer amount of time. While water is fine to keep you hydrated, the carbohydrates in Gatorade and Powerade will give you that extra boost of energy that water does not provide. The one problem I have with sports drinks is the inclusion of artificial colors and flavoring. These make the drinks incredibly unhealthy and will cause a great amount of harm to the body. As for casual use, personally I do not drink them and I would not suggest others do just because there is no need for the amount of sugar, but if someone were to consume sports drinks I would understand why. To sum it all up, I do not mind people drinking these drinks casually or for sports but it is a shame that there has to be artificial ingredients when there does not have to be. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Victoria Jaehnig

    I strongly believe that kids should cut down drinking Sports Drinks. Even though they do have electrolytes that are good for you it does not mean you need to drink 2 or more of them a day. Those electrolytes are not even needed unless you are active unstop for 1 hour. Most sports games are not even that long and usually each player has a good break in between the game which they can just drink a cold water and be just as hydrated. Sports Drinks also have carbohydrates which is good for your body and is a good source for fuel but when drinking to much of the wrong type of carbohydrates can really effect your body in a negative way. Lastly, the amount of sugar in these drinks are unbelievable. Letting your kids drink these drinks and even allowing them to have more than 1 is like saying that you are okay with them putting bad sugars into their body (fructose) and getting into their blood stream then into their liver that can lead to a fatty liver and high risks of diabetes. If your child really needs that much sugar to continue playing a game than maybe they are in the wrong sport.

  • Bella Medina

    Whether an athlete or not, drinking sports drinks is less beneficial than drinking water and maintaining a well balanced diet. The average American already consumes 65 more grams than what the World Health Organization has recommend as being the maximum amount of added sugar to consume daily. While sports drinks contain beneficial electrolytes, which are lost through sweat when exercising, these drinks also have added sugar in them. If sports drinks are consumed in place of water, the amount of the drink that must be consumed to provide a sufficient amount of water for the athlete is also an unhealthy amount of sugar. While, the glucose in the drink, in appropriate amounts, goes to provide energy to cells in the body, the other half or more of the added sugar, fructose does not. When the body gets fructose, it goes straight to the liver, where an enzyme in the liver will cause the liver to take fructose more than it needs. The liver turns fructose into fat and glucose, then stores it and releases some in to the blood stream. This can lead to a fatty liver, increase risk for diabetes, and cardiovasucular disease. When too much glucose is consumed, it is also turned into and stored as fat. Water does not contain this added sugar and in a well balanced diet, the other nutrients lost when exercising, can be gained again. Sports drinks are not a healthy way for anyone to get the nutrients and water that they need.

  • Citlali Vazquez

    Personally, I absolutely think that kids should cut down on the sports drinks. Sport drinks can be helpful when it comes to games, but they shouldn’t be consumed otherwise. Although they contain vitamins and minerals that are excellent for athletes, they also contain added sugars and flavors. These drinks are perfectly fine during a game because they are hydrating and contain electrolytes that are great for an intense run, but this should be the only time when they should be gulped down. Added sugars can be extremely harmful to one’s body and can cause fatty liver and even diabetes. Instead of drinking drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade after games, they should make a smoothie that contains natural sugars and even more vitamins. They can also add dates, which can make the drink sweeter and more satisfying. This way they can shut down their urge for sugary drinks and can instead by healthy.

  • Jordyn Vehmeyer

    Balance and moderation is key when it comes to consuming sports drinks, which contain high amounts of sugar. I think there should be a fine line between the amount of sports drink and water that a person consumes. Water should always be a first option, due to the high caffeine and sugar levels that appear in sports drinks. While these sports drinks have the serious side effects that come with sugar and caffeine, they can be very beneficial to those who are exercising. Since sports drinks contain electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, they can be ideal to helping restock these essential supplements while working out. I think that these sports drinks should be consumed mostly by athletes that are in the process of working out. When sports drinks are consumed without the loss of carbohydrates, sweat, and energy, unnecessary carbs and sugar is absorbed. In conclusion, sports drinks are beneficial to consume when working out, and as long as the amount is limited.

  • Eden

    I don’t think it really matters if kids drink sports drinks or not. I mean, as long as they get electrolytes from water before or afterwards, I’m sure the kids will be fine. @MsGalloy

    • Karla

      I agree with what you are saying. I think it would be a bigger issue if all the kids were drinking were sport drinks and not any amounts of water. It think that they can balance it out. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Enrique Sandoval

    I believe that sports drinks are only good and meant for one thing sports. Sports drinks can be very use full when it comes to sports but that’s all their use full for other wise i think they should not be used. There good for people who play sports because they contain many minerals and vitamins but then again they also contain added sugars and flavor. People who play sports need it because it contains carbohydrates for energy. Otherwise people that are not drinking it for sports should not drink it all because its just stays in your body as fat. The kids that play sports are least burning those carbohydrates when playing sports but the kids that are not are drinking more than 1 bottle a day and their doing nothing at all of exercise.#WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • Brittany Potts

    Sports drinks for teens, kids, and adults are really bad. Teens definitely need to cut out the sports drinks and stick to water. Teens should only be drinking sports drinks when exercising for an hour but up to then just stick to drinking water. Lots of sports drinks put out how good they are and how you need then when exercising. This is not true. The amount of sugar in these drinks makes them not so good for you. If you are drinking these everyday all the time that is too much sugar. The sugar will build up in your liver and help cause diabetes/liver disease. If you aren’t drinking one after an hour-long workout then you probably should not be drinking them.

  • Kelly Stanley

    Sport drinks shouldn’t be replacing water, perhaps it being a once in awhile drink that for sports.Sports drinks not only take the place of water in athletic activities, but it also takes the place in children’s drinks from day to day. There are kids that hardly ever drink water and choose to replace it with Gatorade. It’s an addiction that these kids are having for these kinds of drinks, the sugar is the main reason for why it’s additive.

  • Tyler letvinchuck

    Sports drinks are an amazing source of energy and have a great taste, everything you could ever need when you need to go go go. The only problem is that they are deciding to consume these drinks when they are doing nothing at home or when they are tired. They are packed in school lunches and are given to them as a part of dinner. It was built to give more energy to those playing intense sports, and not to be consumed in huge amounts. They are in the wrong for making huge sizes for Gatorade and other drinks because you do not need that much. Athletes in football only use those big Gatorade bottles because they can squirt water into their mouth, its more of an advertisement over anything else. When basketball players use them they use small cups, and the only reason they get a refill is because they are huge men putting in tons of work in games that last for 2 hours or more. Unless your child is dunking in middle school there is no need for kids to have these drinks, as they get older though and have to put in a lot of work then that is when they can choose to have the quick shot of energy over water. If they really need that much energy eat more carbohydrates the night before, it is that simple. #WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • Jackie Paz

    I believe that athletes should not only stick to a sports drink for hydration all the time. Once in awhile definitely isn’t a problem. Yet, nobody can convince me otherwise that it is a good idea. Sports drinks can’t take the place of water. I think people should be aware of the difference between the two. Water has no added sugars and is overall, very natural. Sports drinks have ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup and high levels of sugar. Teen athletes and people of all ages should stick to water. Ultimately, water is the best source of hydration. #WHSFOODSCIENCE

    • Kyle F-Bones

      I agree with your idea that athletes and people of all ages should stick to water rather than processed sports drinks. Water has been around since the beginning of time and is 100% natural and healthy compared to sports drinks such as Gatorade. There are many more alternatives to Sports Drinks besides water such as protein shakes and homemade smoothies that provide athletes the boosts they need for exercise and do not contain the same levels of sugar and chemicals as do big brand sports drinks contain.

  • Kylie murphy

    I do think teens should cut down on the use of sports drinks because they contain a lot of sugar and salt. Although they contain electrolytes, sodium and potassium, that is the only advantage these drinks have. While you are sweating when working out, you drink sports drinks so they can replenish the essential electrolytes that you lost, but in reality they never fully satisfy your thirst. Sports drinks contain very little glucose and a whole lot of fructose. Fructose is then turned into glucose, also known as fat. If too much sugar is consumed by a single being, it could lead to fatty liver disease or in worst cases, diabetes. Added sugars, that contain fructose are hard to break down whereas glucose is easily broken down and digested. I would suggest drinking water when you are thirsty and for sporting events because sports drink never fully quench your thirst like water does. #whsfoodscience

  • Dakota

    I believe that athletes should only drink sports drinks when playing their game or during an intense workout. While these athletes are doing their workouts they may need another burst of energy and electrolytes to keep hydrated. These sports drinks contain electrolytes, sodium and potassium which could benefit the persons body while moving and in action. Otherwise, if you drink a sports drink while eating dinner and doing homework, the energy it is putting into your body has no where to go and gives no benefit to your body. Also the amount of added sugar to the sports drink is an unhealthy amount is just about equivalent to sodas. These types of sugars are harder to digest and more likely to turn into fat. The sports drinks as well could never truly quench a persons thrist like water could anyways. The drinks are just sweet and juice like so every young athlete will grow up liking them and thinking they’re good to drink whenever because they do not have the proper knowledge. When actually, the drinks are only good on certain occasions and not good any other time because of the amount of added sugar. #whsfoodscience

  • Kaitlyn Alger

    I believe that the consumption of sports drinks by children should be cut down. Even though the Gatorade company says, “Gatorade is better than water,” we cannot trust that because they are just wanting people to buy their product. A lot of children drink Gatorade because all of those famous sport athletes are drinking them but thats the thing they are pro athletes and they need everything in Gatorades. Children do not need them when they are just playing little league baseball in the outfield not really doing anything because it is doing more harm to the body than good. The electrolytes, minerals, and vitamins only cancel out the sugar and caffeine after a very hard workout and children just don’t have those types of workouts. Mothers don’t pack their kids lunches with soda because they know they are bad for them so they replace it with Gatorade but little do they know if their kids aren’t working out the Gatorade acts as soda. Instead of drinking soda I would highly recommend drinking water to quench your thirst. #whsfoodscience

  • Ryan Paull

    Athletes drink sport drinks to gain energy while playing a sport, or working out. I believe that athletes should be the only ones to consume sport drinks, for they contain many sugars, salts, and electrolytes. These are essential for athletes because they lose these during strenuous activities. People that consume sports drinks and don’t do physical exercise afterwards gain more sugars which turn into fat. Consuming too many sports drinks can also cause disease and body defects. Teen athletes should stick to water. Younger athletes shouldn’t consume a lot of sugar and salt. Maybe limiting them to game nights instead of daily at practice. Many of these drinks contain added sugars, which means that it has fructose, and fructose is harder to break down. Sports drinks can be very fatal to your health if you’re not burning what you need. Try sticking to water, and maybe a sports drink every now and then. #WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • Kayleigh Boucher

    Children, teens, and adults need to only use sports drinks after a very intense physical workout, or cut the use of it completely. KQED mentions how famous athletes influence the use of sports drinks. If someone likes a specific athlete who drinks a product like Gatarode , that person will be more influenced to buy and use that product. Children, teens and adults are tricked into thinking that sports drinks are a must during or after a work out, but this is no where near the case. Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade contain high levels of added sugar. Basically, these drinks are more harmful to us then good. Although many of these drinks contain electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, those additives are unnecessary for many people who drink the drinks. Sticking to water, the one fluid our bodies were built to intake, is the best idea for any athlete. #whsfoodscience

  • Maddie Call

    Sports drinks should not be consumed by teens no matter how enticing they make it sound. As quoted in the article “Gatorade hydrates better than water, which is why it is trusted by some of the world’s best athletes” but people don’t see the reality of it, they just see who’s endorsing it and not seeing the bad side of it all. Of course the worlds best athletes advertise Gatorade, they work so hard that they are constantly sweating a loosing electrolytes. It’s okay for them to drink this product. Most teens don’t do vigorous workouts a couple times a day and they don’t have NBA games every other day. Teens aren’t loosing enough nutrients to be drinking Gatorade all day. There is a high amount of sugar in Gatorade or Powerade, as well as other unhealthy ingredients that teens don’t need to be putting in their bodies. If someone doesn’t work out and drinks a sports drink the effects can Detrimental. What happens inside your body is that the sugar and carbs you consume turn into fat because you aren’t loosing those essentials that need to be replaced. Water is good for all the systems in your body as well as your skin. It also doesn’t have dyes, artificial flavors, or sugars so it’s healthier overall. At this age drinking water is better a sports drink.

  • yesenia correa

    I think that sports beverages should be used in a way when doing performing physical activity, involving physical strength, just how advertising use athletes to persuade people who are doing any physical activity to drink sport beverages so they get hydrated. Sports drinks have electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, potassium, and sodium, yet the companies should consider having a low level of sugar on the sports drink. I personally can say drinks in general have too much sugar, which is not good for our health. When doing a sugar investigation the percentage of the drinks were 55 percent higher than the other foods. It’s important to keep in mind that sugar can cause insomnia, diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. These drinks, are mostly to be taken when performing any type of exercise, for that is there use. #WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • Karla

    I think that sports drinks should be used for athletes because they replenish your thirst and everything that you just sweated out. I do understand that sport drinks contain a lot of sugars https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Sports-Drinks.pdf but i think its easily manageable to drink great amounts of water too. If you are able to balance both out in your schedule then you will be better off. Ultimately i think that its okay for gatorade for example to be used for athletes. That is as long as they are still consuming some amounts of other replenishing drinks like water. #MyCMSTArgs #DoNowHydrate

  • Anna Freeberg

    I absolutely think that the consumption of sports drink by kids should be cut down. Drinking a Gatorade or Vitamin Water should be an occasional treat and not a regular part of your diet. When children watch TV what they are shown are their favorite athletes playing their favorite sport and drinking what? A sports drink. Now that they have seen this constantly they think that sports drinks are a necessity on the field, court, etc. There are very few positive qualities to these sugar filled beverages, in which the negatives over rule by a long shot. The goal of these brands is not to make their drinks as healthy or beneficial as possible, the goal is to sell out and beat the competition. They hide massive amounts of sugar behind logos that everyone recognizes but don’t think much of, until they read the fine print. #whsfoodscience

  • Jairo Mejia

    Sports drinks are a great energy source for any athletic performance. Most sports drinks provide electrolytes. Electrolytes are utilized by the body to sweat, increase water retention, and regulate body fluids, as it claims. These are many great attributes for an athlete who is constantly exercising. I believe that for an athlete, sports drinks such as Gatorade, are a great alternative during game time. They should not become an alternative of water for everyday life. They become just as bad as soda when people just use it for the regular day. The sugar is very high, but when used it gives energy to athletes so they can do what they do.

  • Francisco Vasquez

    I think that sports drinks shouldn’t be cut down for kids who are athletes. Athletes should be the only ones able to consume sport drinks, because they contain electrolytes, sodium, potassium, vitamins and minerals that are essential for athletes after a game or any intense physical activity. Sports drinks do contain a lot of sugar but should be consumed once in awhile when they need carbohydrates for energy. As long as athletes limit the amount of sports drinks they drink and drink it only when they have a game day or have an intense physical activity they’ll be fine.

  • Jacob Morris

    Sport drinks should only be drank I need small quantities during or right beforebeig sporting events like a football game or a track meet. While sport drinks may be good for short bursts of energy making them perfect in good qualities during a game the most important thing to do during a game is to stay hydrated and do your best. If you have ever play a sport for several year then you may have had to take a break in the middle of the game because a kid didn’t drink enough water and was dehydrated. Water is the bests way to stay in the game and practice sport drinks should only be used in times like half time.

  • Jacob Poorman

    When it comes to sports drinks kids need to cut down. Unless they are constantly participating in activities or sports that burn all the the carbohydrates consumed. One of these drinks would be fine for a kid who is actively participating in sports or other activities, because they can burn those carbs of and benefit from the electrolytes. Yet for a kid who’s is not being very active it’s not the best to be drinking a sports drink. Because all of the extra carbohydrates like fructose gets taken into the blood stream and into the liver. Even when the liver doesn’t need the carbohydrates it will still take them resulting it a fatty liver, the more and more unnatural carbohydrates you consume the bigger the build up in the liver gets. Having a fatty liver can lead to diabetes. So for kids who don’t play sports definitely need to cut back on the sports drinks.

  • Tanner Tobon

    Sports drinks are a great energy source for any sports. Most sports drinks provide electrolytes. Electrolytes are utilized by the body to increase water but mainly to sweat,as it claims. These are many great attributes for an athlete who is constantly exercising. I believe that for any kid that is playing sports, sports drinks such as Gatorade, are a great drink during game time. But they should not be an everyday drink. Some drinks are just as bad as other sugar drinks out there, when people just use it for the regular day. Gatorade is a really high sugar content drink, that should be used only for high performance sports, because it’s not really a healthy drink to drink everyday. #WHSFoodScience

  • Connor Caughey

    ‪Athletes should cut back on sports drinks because they contain high levels of sugars. One regular sized Gatorade has 34 grams of sugar along with a Powerade containing 14 grams of sugar. There are plenty of sport drink choices that don’t contain sugar and still give you the nutritional needed to regain energy and strength. Sugars in these sports drinks contain high fructose corn syrup which is a more complex word for sugar, also this sugar is harder for our bodies to break down. In all, athletes should avoid sugary sports drinks and stick with those that don’t contain sugar (example is Powerade Zero). ‬#whsfoodscience

  • mason walton

    I think kid should have less sport drinks because  kid do not exercise enough that they need to drink a sport drink and water should be just fine for them. Some people might say otherwise but if sugar can led to  insomnia and many other thing just because kid think they me to have a sport drink because they are do a sport or sports. If you are only playing a sport for 3 to 4 time a week you are not losing  that many essential thing you need for your body but with professional athletes they practice everyday for like 2 to 3 hour or more.#WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • John Clark

    Athletics drink sport drinks without knowing the amount of sugar that is added. There are different alternates to replace drinking a regular size Gatorade that has 34 grams of sugar in it. Most the kids drinking sport drinks aren’t exercising for longer than an hour, so just drinking water is fine for that. Many sport drinks do contain electolytes in them, but with having the sugar in them they aren’t that effective. When you look at the other choices of sport drinks you can see that a Powerade has 14 grams of sugar which is better, but not as good as a zero Powerade which contains no sugar. Sugar is added all the time, but isn’t always called sugar instead they call is high fructose corn syrup or other alternative names. #whsfoodscience

  • natalie mandujnao

    I strongly believe that people should cut from drinking sport drinks. They have no benefit to them when it enters your body. I believe that that the drinks that seem to be seen as good for you and give you energy to be more sugar than your suppose to consume in your body for the rest of the day. I think if anything the drinks that people make commercials for is the opposite to what it’s suppose to do. Instead of promoting these drinks full of sugar they should promote to drink more water and a good and healthy water.
    #whsfoodscience

  • Sara

    In my opinion teens should cut down on sugary sports drinks because they have proven to cause/lead to insomnia, obesity and other health issues. If sports drinks are supposed to help you when you exercise, overall promoting the message of being healthy, then why are teens drinking them when they aren’t even working out? If you are intensively working out for an our or more than maybe it is okay to drink half of a sports drink, but if you are just sitting in class or at dinner, you are essentially drinking sugar water, which is going straight to your liver. When you consume these sugary drinks without exercise, your body has a hard time processing it and the insulin your body produces has a hard time regulating your blood sugar. If we are putting our trust in a few famous athletes to tell you what is healthy– by the way LeBron is currently promoting the soda Sprite– rather than actual fact supported science, then we are all going to get sick.

  • Christian Albertson

    Even though sports drink contain many electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, they also contain a high amount of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Kids should cut down on drinking sports drinks because contain a high amount of added sugar. Added sugar can lead to insomnia, diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. There are 34 grams of sugar in a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade, and the amount of sugar you should consume daily for men is 37g and 25g for women. Drinking one Gatorade is basically the recommended amount of sugar you should consume per day. In my opinion kids should only drink sports drinks if they are exercising more than an hour, if not they should stick to drinking water.

    • Jodi DeMassa

      I agree with you. That’s alot of sugar in a bottle. It’s good to take into account how much you exercise as well.

  • Ben Bunte

    Teens should cut down the consumption of sports drinks as it’s unhealthy. Sports drinks have been shown to contain a lot of sugar, which is mainly added for flavor. Sports drinks are also high in salts, and it is not recommended for kids, as it doesn’t have a good intake when kids consume a sports drink. There is a big difference between sports drinks and sports water. Sport drinks like Gatorade has 60 grams of carbs, while powerade with no sugar has 0.1g of carbs. There is no protein in Gatorade, while there is 0.5 of protein in powerade. Mizone water has 25 grams of carbs, compared to the 62.4 grams of carbs in Gatorade endurance. Mizone water contains vitamin C, while Gatorade endurance doesn’t have any of that. In general sports water drinks are better, and more healthy than any sports drink out there
    #WHSFOODSCIENCE

  • Mason Dossey

    I think sports drinks are okay. Though they are sugary, it is a good change of pace from water. I personally would rather have a sports drink than a water. The human body needs these electrolytes and sugar just as much as the body needs water. #MyCMSTArgs

    • Jodi DeMassa

      I agree with you, but I also think that as long as you don’t live off it and drink alot of it in one day you should be fine. Gatorade/Powerade both have alot of sugar. It’s better to drink it sparingly, to a point where it’s good for you, but not to a dependent state. #MyCMSTArgs

  • Jodi DeMassa

    I believe that since Gatorade/Powerade both have a high amount of sugar per bottle, people should be weary of how much they’re drinking. I don’t agree that they should completely revert to water because of all the electrolytes. Here’s a link to why we should keep drinking it, but keep track of it. http://foreverymom.com/faith/how-to-drink-your-gatorade-leigh-sain/ #MyCMSTArgs

  • DFinMA

    Almost nobody needs extra sugar but some people need extra electrolytes. If you want electrolytes then take a supplement (Endurolytes or similar) but ditch the sugar water drinks.

  • Hillary Clintub

    How many years is KQED going to leave this article up here? Don’t they have anything fresher to replace it with? There are a couple of other articles here that have also outlived their sell-by dates. This one is just taking up valuable screen real estate now.

  • Gibarian

    In Journalism and legal interrogation, there is called something called a “suggestive question.” It is considered unethical by good journalists, especially when discussing children, and you should be ashamed to post this headline.

    This is prescriptive sociology (and coercive tax politics) masquerading as critical scientific thought. Perhaps it’s a lame attempt to sound interesting that our educators fail to instill an appreciation for Advertising fallacies and critical inquiry. If we want to promote science as the focus of this quasi-journalistic effort by a “Science Academy” (scare quotes deliberate), perhaps, “Investigating Common Claims about Electrolytes in Sports Drinks” emphasizes the scientific method while respecting a child’s unique capacity to think for him/herself.

    • nunununu

      OH MY GOD JUST SHUT UP ALREADY

  • Kyle F-Bones

    Although Gatorade and similar sports drinks have been a key part of sports pop culture and mass media the past couple of decades, I believe that it should stop being promoted to athletes and others as healthy and beneficial. It’s problematic to choose sports drinks over water because of the unhealthy ingredients inside these drinks. According to Harvard Medical School Publications, “…sports drinks deliver unneeded calories. Some contain 150 calories, the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar” As stated on the Do Now article, most sports drinks also contain high levels of high fructose corn syrup, and BVO (brominated vegetable oil), which are considered highly controversial ingredients among nutritionists. Human’s have been drinking water since the beginning of time which is more natural and healthy in my opinion rather than big business manufactured chemicals that have only been around in the last 50 years or so. It’s even more unhealthy for those who don’t even exercise yet still drink products like Gatorade. It’s a health risk to consume that much sugar and calories depending on how many bottles you drink but no government force should go around regulating what people can do to their own bodies. It’s up to the individual to make their own choices about their health. Most sports drinks also contain high levels of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and BVO (brominated vegetable oil), which are considered highly controversial ingredients among nutritionists. #MyCMSTArgs
    source: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/trade-sports-drinks-for-water-201207305079

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