Sports Drinks are rotting our teeth and making us fat

Sports drinks - sugar - decay

Sports drinks – sugar – decay

ONE bottle is as sugary as a can of Coke and it would take an hour of high-intensity exercise to burn off the kilojoules it contains. Yet we think it’s good for us.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are promoted as a smart alternative to water, although they cost 3000 times more.
They’re popular with active young people and children, but research shows it’s unlikely any of us non-athletes are doing enough exercise to make them beneficial.
Sports teams regularly promote Powerade, but non-athletes don’t need it.
Sports teams regularly promote Powerade, but non-athletes don’t need it. Source: News Corp Australia
“I was surprised at just how aggressive the marketing was and how long it’s been going on,” Ben Jenkins from ABC’s The Checkout told “It uses spurious science and makes claims about endurance.
“We call this the ‘halo effect’ — making one claim about a food or drink product means customers will make other assumptions, that it’s low in sugar, or healthy in other ways.”
In the 1960s, Gatorade ads made the nonsense claim the drink would get into your system “approximately 12 times faster than water.” Drinks companies don’t focus on hydration so much any more, perhaps because of a crackdown on products — most recently coconut water — purporting to be superior to H2O.
Tonight’s episode of The Checkout, which airs at 8pm on ABC, examines the claims made by the multibillion-dollar industry and the concerning truth about their products.
Ben Jenkins from The Checkout says sports drinks use spurious science.
Ben Jenkins from The Checkout says sports drinks use spurious science. Source: SBS
A recent study in the British Medical Journal said poorly designed tests and small sample sizes meant sports drinks companies’ 40 years of research “did not add up to much”. It also found that conflicts of interest were rarely declared.
The Australian Dental Association says ingesting acidic drinks after exercise poses a high risk of dental erosion. In response to such claims, Gatorade made the bizarre suggestion that consumers should use a squeezy bottle to ensure the drink doesn’t touch their teeth, while Powerade recommended minimising contact time by “swallowing immediately and rinsing your mouth with water regularly”.
“That’s funny, especially as they go on about how tasty it is,” said Ben. He believes sports drinks are “more pernicious than soft drinks” because we aren’t making an educated decision about what we’re drinking.

Unless you’re doing a high-intensity workout for more than hour, you won’t benefit from a sports drink.

“A lot of sports stars are endorsing these products and that sends a message to kids,” he said. “In terms of children especially, there’s no real benefit. A kilojoule is a kilojoule.”
Many sports drinks have extremely visible marketing strategies, appearing at major sporting events, and, in Gatorade’s case, even sponsoring the Australian Institute of Sport’s fluid intake guide.
Ben believes the solution is for us to be far more sceptical over the claims made in adverts for sports drinks and other supposedly healthy products. “I think there’s enough evidence that they enhance performance in specific athletic contexts,” he said.
“It’s replacing electrolytes, but you’d have to go pretty hard before it kicks in. If you’re just doing regular exercise, you aren’t going to work it off.”
A spokesperson for Gatorade told “Gatorade is an electrolyte drink which is specifically designed to rapidly replace fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes. Sports drinks like this are most beneficial for athletes and people who lead active lifestyles, and it is marketed as such.” Powerade has not yet responded to’s request for comment.