Are sports drinks harming your health?

Have you ever noticed that icky, irritable feeling after eating too much sugar?  

A few too many lollies or a sweet dessert and you quickly get that familiar surge of sweet energy.  However, that feeling can be soon followed by a crash, where you start to feel more hunger, irritability, fatigue and poor concentration. 

The problem so often is our food and even sports nutrition packed with sugar. We assume sports drinks are healthy and they will make you perform better.  After all, they’re designed for use while you are out there sweating it out and getting fit right?  Unfortunately, despite all the fancy marketing, the high-profile sponsored athletes and the bright colours, your average sports drink is actually harming your health.  Let me explain why…

1. A high sugar sports drink won’t sustain you: Your average sports drink contains just a single source of sugar such as dextrose or glucose, and up to 9 teaspoons of sugar!  Having just a single source of sugar in your sports drink is like eating a bag of lollies and then expecting your body to perform all day, right through the sugar spike and crash.  The solution?  Thanks to sports science, we know there are much more sophisticated mixes of carbohydrates to fuel you all day long.  Using combined carbohydrates in a sports drink gives you smoother, more sustained energy (like eating brown bread compared to white) and it lowers the overall sugar component of your drink.  These combinations are well proven to keep you performing longer until you start to fatigue. Look closely at your sports drink labels and choose one with combined carbs and less overall sugar like our Bindi Natural Sports Hydration, if you want to perform at your very best.

2. Artificial colours are dangerous: The bright artificial colours in some drinks are petroleum based synthetic dyes, which have been linked to several potential health problems, most notably cancers, allergies and hypersensitivities. Ummm, no thank you! And let’s face it – the colours are designed to make you drink more, which is more sugar intake.  Look for a sports drink with natural flavours and colours – we use only natural fruit flavours and beetroot powder to create the colour in our Bindi Natural Sports Hydration.

3. Sugar is increasing your risk of disease: Excess sugar consumption can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of serious health problems like diabetes, cancers, heart and kidney disease and even stroke. As a fit, healthy athletes we are generally aiming to reduce our risk of all these illnesses.  The answer here is to use a lower sugar sports drink like Bindi, and only when needed – that’s when you are doing intense exercise for over an hour.  Avoiding gels and other high sugar foods in training and sticking to whole foods like bananas and vegemite sandwiches can make a big difference to your daily sugar intake too.

The great news is that now you have choices regarding your health and what products you choose to consume. When I started in triathlon, my aim was to be as fit and healthy as possible, but all I could find on the market was high sugar drinks which didn’t make sense to me.  This was the number one reason I created Bindi from scratch – to give other athletes healthy nutrition choices so they could do the best by their bodies, and to fuel them to reach their peak performance.  Take time to look at what you are consuming and know that now you have awesome options available to sustain you, without harming your health along the way.

Happy training!

Belinda

PS To try out our flavours, grab our sampler pack here to find out why athletes love Bindi so much! 

 



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