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Energy drinks – The good, the bad and the ugly!

There are some important and significant differences between energy drinks and sports drinks which you should be aware of when making a decision about what is best to drink to enhance your performance.

Sports drinks are beverages formulated specifically for use during exercise to enhance performance.

Examples: Lucozade Sport, Gatorade, Powerade, Aquarius

Energy drinks are a lifestyle beverage containing a range of ingredients to provide wakefulness and energy. If your drink is carbonated, it isn’t a sports drink!

Examples: Red Bull, Monster, Relentless, Lucozade Energy

How to choose your drink:

There are three sports drinks, which contain various levels of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrate:

  1. Isotonic – Fluid, electrolytes and 6-8% carbohydrate
  2. Hypotonic – Fluid, electrolytes, low level of carbohydrate
  3. Hypertonic – Fluid, electrolytes, high level of carbohydrate

Isotonic (e.g. Lucozade Sport, SiS Go) – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate. If your sports drink contains 6-8g CHO per 100ml it will be Isotonic.

Hypotonic (e.g. Powerade Zero, Lucozade Lite, squash with a pinch of salt) – quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating. Perfect for when sweat rates are high and exercise lasts less than 90 minutes. If your sports drink contains less than 5g CHO per 100ml it will be hypotonic.

Hypertonic ( Nectar Sports Fuel concentrate)   – normally used to top up muscle glycogen stores after long / ultra endurance exercise. Contains 8g CHO per 100 ml or greater.