Nutrition and You!

Who Are Sports Drinks Really Targeting?

gataradesugar.jpgA recent paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics is questioning whether it is ethical for sugary sports drink manufacturers to sponsor sporting events and have their products endorsed by professional athletes. Guzzling a 32-ounce sports drink can have you consuming 200 calories from over 50 grams of sugar or the equivalent of about 13 teaspoons of sugar (see photo).

According to the article, “When companies sponsor celebrity athletes to endorse their products, they are essentially suggesting that the purchase of this product will increase the consumer’s chances of being like the star athlete.” This association also projects the image that these beverages are needed to stay hydrated to “go the distance.”

While sports beverages may be of benefit for some to consume during endurance and high-intensity sports, they are being marketed to the public who typically are not sweating profusely, but rather, sitting on the couch watching Monday night football. Ironically, just about this time last year, I posted a blog questioning why Peyton Manning was promoting sugary sports drinks to kids.

Well, that was then, and this is now. It appears that Peyton and Gatorade have changed their marketing approach.

Watch this hilarious “Sweat It To Get It” Gatorade commercial:

For the record, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' position paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance states that sports drinks containing calories and electrolytes can help sustain endurance exercise performance and are typically recommended for exercise events lasting longer than 1 hour.

For the rest of us, we can hydrate with calorie-free, sugar-free water.

Be well, Joan

Twitter @JoanSalgeBlake

Photo credit: Joan Salge Blake

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