Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sports & Energy Drink Stupidity

Sports and energy drinks are not a healthy choice. Sports and energy drinks do not "enhance performance." Sports and energy drinks have no business in the hands of children. Sports drinks are awful - and I am regularly shocked at how many American's are ignorantly "drinking the Kool-Aid" of the sports drink myth.

At a large baseball workout and practice session for my nine-year-old this morning, I was amazed and disturbed by the sheer numbers of children sipping Gatorade, Powerade, and energy drinks in between drills. The practice was at an indoor air-conditioned training facility, and no child ever ran more than about thirty yards. The rest of the time was spent on throwing mechanics, fielding drills, and hitting in batting cages. And, these kids were sucking down sports drinks. Worst of all, the parents are pushing it on these kids.

There is no situation I can imagine when children have gone through such a physically grueling workout that they need to "replace electrolytes" and sugars ... not to mention consume dyes and artificial colors and flavors. Gatorade was originally created for the Florida Gators because of the extreme fluid loss their practices and games. What is being sold today - often now containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) instead of the original fructose or sucrose syrup - is nothing but chemically dyed and flavored sugar water. In practically any situation where children are exerting themselves, water is sufficient to replace fluid loss. For more intense workouts, athletes would better serve their bodies by eating an apple or banana - and maybe a complex protein like nuts - along with plenty of H2O after a workout.

Quick quiz: How much sugar does the body need on a daily basis? The answer is none. There is never a need for a person to ingest additional sugars. Thus, this misguided ignorant consumption of sports drinks is harming children more than helping them re-hydrate. Of course, the greater crime is the parents allowing their children to ingest energy drinks. The most disturbing example was the young player who was sipping a NOS-Grape "High Performance Energy Drink" during breaks. This insane-ly over-sugared stimulant contains carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, taurine (an amino acid used as a stimulant), L-carnitine (amino acid), caffeine (stimulant), inositol (a sugar ), ginseng (stimulant), sucralose (chlorinated sugar), and Red#40 and Blue#1 dyes. On the side of the can are the following words CAUTION: POWERFUL - Not recommended for children. Giving this drink to a child is a disturbing degree of negligence and downright stupidity on the part of this child's parents.

Granted, a number of kids like my son were simply taking a sip from the water fountain or simple water bottles when they were thirsty. Yet, the preponderance of kids sipping dyed, sugar water at a casual sports practice gives me little hope for the health of the average American.

Stop drinking this garbage.


Darren said...

Sara Lee's whole-grain breads contain high fructose corn syrup. Darn it's hard to avoid that crap! You have to read the ingredients on *every* *single* *thing* you buy anymore.

mmazenko said...

It is shocking - and the ubiquitous presence is a key to America's health problems. People have no idea how much sugar they are consuming .... for no reason.