What Should You Be Drinking: Water or a Sports Drink?

Sports drinks are staples in professional sports. From Gatorade showers football coaches endure to the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s feminist partnership with Powerade, it’s hard to imagine sports culture without these iconic brands.

But, when it comes to choosing between water or Gatorade as a soccer player, which one should you drink?

There are many arguments that support and rally against athletes drinking sports drinks. Nutritionists, coaches, and players can’t seem to fully agree on whether drinking a Powerade instead of water is smart or not, especially for socceristas. So should you be making a sports drink part of your soccer lifestyle?

Personal trainer and nutrition coach Webb Travis recommends athletes look at what they’re eating instead of treating dehydration in the moment.

“I personally think those kinds of drinks…are only necessary if the athlete is diabetic and needs a quick pick up,” says Travis. “It’s better to teach the athletes to be hydrated ahead of time. If they loaded up on healthy fats, sufficient protein [and enough water] at every meal the days leading up to the event, there is a better chance they will perform at a higher level.”

Ultimately, you need to know which is going to keep you hydrated and performing at the top of your game.

On the positive side, sports drinks help to replenish electrolytes lose during exercise. These minerals are essential to your body’s ability to distribute water throughout itself. Oftentimes water is not a powerful enough substance to restore them.

Studies have shown that serious athletes even tend to “[benefit] from drinking Gatorade” or other power drinks as opposed to drinking water, especially in conditions like extreme heat. If you don’t replenish the fluid and electrolytes it can have a negative impact on your muscle, brain, and nerve functions.

However, most sports drinks contain a lot of sugar, which may increase the risk of health complications.

Drinks like Gatorade were designed for serious athletes to help them perform better on the field. They aren’t usually recommended for those who exercise for less than an hour a day.

In fact, its recommended children and adolescents socceristas shouldn’t rely on power drinks as their main source for hydration or nutrition. Eating fruit salad or drinking coconut water are alternatives.

Ultimately, it comes down to listening to your body.

Can’t figure out what you body’s trying to say? When in doubt, if you’re exercising and consistently sweating for more than one hour a day, feel free to reach for your favorite sports drink. If not, we say it’s smart to stick with water.

Photo via Adobe Stock @Roger



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