Are Sports Drinks Safe and Effective?

Are Sports Drinks Safe and Effective?


“Are Sports Drinks Safe and Effective?” If you had to name the
greatest medical advance over the past two centuries
what would you pick? Smallpox vaccine jumped to my mind, until I realized it was
discovered back in the 1700s. The British Medical Journal
compiled a list of 15 contenders, but which would take the crown? Would it be anesthesia— kind a nice to be asleep during surgery. Would it be antibiotics? One of the 15 may be surprising. The medical marvel that was
water, with sugar and salt. The discovery that sugar and
salt were absorbed together in the small intestine was potentially the most important medical
advance of the century, because it opened the way
to oral rehydration therapy, which is to say simple packets of sugar and salt in the right ratio, that could be added to water
to save the lives of children losing electrolytes through
severe diarrhea from diseases like cholera. Here, we’d just hook you up to an IV, give you intravenous rehydration therapy, but cheap, easy oral rehydration
saved millions and millions of children’s lives every year, such that UNICEF can now put out reports like this, to help finish the job. It only costs pennies, though. If only there was a way to sell salty
sugar water for 2 bucks a bottle. Sports drinks are a multi-
billion dollar industry fueled by Coke and Pepsi,
and even drug companies are now getting in on the action. Researchers went online to see
what kind of hydration advice people were getting. Pop quiz! True or False? Fluid consumption
during exercise should be based upon thirst. Is that a true or false statement? Fluid consumption during exercise should be based upon thirst. Get a piece of paper,
write down your answer. Alright, ready? Next question: Electrolyte intake is not generally
necessary during exercise. Keeping score? True or False? Dehydration is not generally a cause of exercise-associated muscle cramping. And, last one: Exercise-
associated muscle cramping is not generally related to electrolyte loss. And, the answers are:
True, true, true, and true. If you said false to any of them, you’re wrong, but in good company. 93% of top websites got
the first question wrong, 90% got the second question wrong,
98% got the third question wrong, and they all got the last one wrong. And, to make matters worse, those websites that would
generally be perceived as being more trustworthy by the public, like medical or professional organizations, appeared to do no better. So, you shouldn’t feel bad
if you got any wrong. No wonder athletes often
have misunderstandings about proper hydration during exercise. Doesn’t dehydration hurt performance? Surprisingly, when they looked at triathletes, they didn’t see a correlation
between dehydration and marathon finishing times. In fact, some that lost the most water actually had among the fastest times, as has been noted in other studies. Your body’s not stupid; it will tell you when
you need to drink. There is now ample evidence that
we can just drink to thirst. And, you do not have to
drink your electrolytes. But wait, if you’re sweating
and just drink pure water, aren’t you risking washing
out too much salt, too much sodium, and ending up with “exercise associated hyponatremia,”
too little sodium? That’s caused by drinking
too much of anything— water or sports drinks. In one of the high profile cases
of a high school athlete who died from it drank
2 gallons of Gatorade. So, how do we prevent such deaths? Simple, we drink according to thirst. So, these “don’t wait until
you feel thirsty” statements you hear may actually be
doing more harm than good. We’ve known this since the
early 90s, but it was ignored. The American College of Sports Medicine instead started telling athletes
they should drink ‘as much as tolerable’ during exercise. And, what followed was an
epidemic of cases of hyponatremia. Commercial interests may play a role in delaying the acknowledgement
of these findings for decades. The current ACSM statement
no longer says that, in fact emphasizing how dangerous
it can be to drink too much, but they still plug sports beverages as sometimes preferable to water. Hmm, I wonder who these authors are? Funding received from the
Gatorade Sports Science Institute or on the Gatorade Sports
Science Institute Speakers Bureau, Gatorade Science Institute, more Gatorade, a quick step over
to the Coca-Cola company, and then back to Gatorade. So, anyways, which of the 15
medical marvels won by the way? Was it oral rehydration to
prevent deaths from cholera? Or, antibiotics to kill
off the cholera bugs? No. Our greatest medical miracle
over the last 2 centuries was… sanitation, preventing the cholera from getting into our drinking
water in the first place.

81 Replies to “Are Sports Drinks Safe and Effective?”

  1. Couldn't help but notice he mentions nothing about these sports drinks being highly acidic to the body… similar to soft drinks.

  2. 2:48 true maybe for light exercise in moderate temperatures. It is definitely NOT true for rigorous exercise and long distance running or hot temperatures…

  3. Every coach and athlete I've ever trained with has always told me to drink as much as possible during exercise. In a world where we are relentlessly bombarded with corporate and political bull💩 Dr. Greger remains as one the very few sources of unbiased factual information. Thank you so much!🙏💪💙

  4. This is worst nutritionfacts video I have seen, and erodes my confidence in Dr Greger.

    1. thirst is dysregulated by stress. that's why most westerners do not drink the recommended volume of fluid daily. anyone involved in fun runs, charity rides, etc knows first aiders are overwhelmed with people who cramp and have not kept themselves hydrated adequately. The ambiguity in the first question is that regular hydration becomes essential beyond the level of thirst for events longer than 1-1.5hours. Pro cyclists have to be trained to take more water than thirst would stimulate them to.
    Take home message: The thirst mechanism, like most other physiological systems, is subject to dysregulation, and therefore not generally reliable in a stressed population.

    2. electrolyte intake is totally dependent on electrolyte losses. Using the word 'generally' is BAD science, and BAD questionnaire design. Essentially all people need electrolyte replacement for sport lasting longer than 90 minutes in temperate climes, and 45mins in hot tropical climes.

    3. and 4. dehydration and electrolyte loss are very much co-factors in exercise related muscle cramping. the others are inadequate training of key muscle groups and inadequate energy intake. Other common factors not addressed in the literature are nerve root irritation in the spine that increases tone and predisposition of innervated muscles to cramping (especially lower limb musculature), and poorly vascularized old fibrotic scars in muscles that act as seed regions for cramps due to metabolic disturbances.

    It's easy to confound the facts when neophytes with no significant work experience in the field, skim over them.

  5. I've been a triathlete for over 30 years. Regardless of the race distance, from Sprint to Ironman, I've always found that I feel better and perform better without Sports Drinks. I drink water and eat a variety of nutrition, including gels washed down with water.

  6. I think Adam Ruins Everything went over this and pretty much said the same thing just drink when you’re thirsty. And then yeah Gatorade pretty much funded their own study

  7. So basically blending up some celery in a banana smoothie would make a great sports drink, that's what I took away from this…

  8. I sip water or lemon water during my regular intensive weight training. No sports drinks nor protein powder. For the diet, I follow Daily Dozen.

  9. Thanks for doing all this research. I’ve known this info but never bothered to look up the sources. You saved me hours of reading.

  10. @4:22 I wonder whether in 7 years time Dr. Greger will be citing Tim Noakes's current research. Google Tim Noakes diet, and share what you think.

  11. Just a reminder: If you have any health or medical questions, please post them on NutritionFacts.org for our health support volunteers to answer. Thanks for watching! -NF Team

  12. If you run an ultra marathon theres an exact amount of fluid you need to intake every hour. Its not based off thirst. If you wait until youre thirsty youll run into problems.

    "One recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found that dehydration in ultra marathoners tends to be the most prevalent the first eight hours of a race, so replacing the liquid lost through sweat is especially vital in the early stages. Since runners’ sweat rates vary between ½ liter to 3 liters per hour, the best way to determine how much you should be drinking is to figure out your individual sweat rate."

  13. So should my daily intake of water be controlled just by my thirst? I never get thirsty! Or was this only while exercising? Also why did u rant about the electrolytes in the first place if they aren't a big of a deal? To maybe undermine Gatorade and state that sugar and salt do the same trick? I have heard electrolytes help with hangover too. Too many questions Dr. G..

  14. wow this just puts everything i knew upside down. I got all 4 questions wrong damn. Thank you !!!

  15. As far as drinking only when thirsty, I’ve found that I do make myself begin to drink and once I’m swallowing my thirst regulator kicks in and takes in what it needs.

  16. Hey, so, "drink according to thirst" sounds good. But doesn't the Daily Dozen stipulate 5 12-oz glasses of water? And there's another video here on water consumption that essentially said, 'the more the better". So…. ummm… should I drink according to thirst, or strive to drink a lot?

  17. Got all questions correct, including the sanitation one. The last one was obvious to me, having practiced medicine in Zimbabwe

  18. So if I drink vodka when I'm thirsty, I'm good right? Thanks doc! Knew I can count on you. I've been drinking vodka all day andef rijg rthiojh my………………………………………………………bm ky yi

  19. "…promoted the concept that athletes should drink 'as much as tolerable' during exercise. — Hm. I wonder who these authors are? Funded by the GATORADE SPORTS SCIENCE INSTITUTE." Glorious source check, Doctor.

  20. Wow, I got all those questions wrong. Thank you Dr. Greger for the truth bombs that we the ignorant and/or stupid public believe.

  21. My husband is a martial arts instructor and is forever telling his kids not to drink sports drinks, just water. Now we have this video to refer to, thanks Dr. Greger!

  22. Can make your own electrolyte drinks..and never drink more than 24 hours of 5 hour energy 😂😂😂

  23. Do you have a video on Energy drinks? If no please do! I would like to know what they do to the body and this is one of the only sources i trust.

  24. Fuck you dude! Stop fucking with my mind with all your facts and medical science n shit. What do you mean by "we don't need electrolytes to deal with cramps"? Once, during a workout, I started seeing white spots all over the place and my vision was impaired. I then drank some sports drink and everything was fine. Sure it gave my sweat an extra shitty smell, but still… This tiny piece of anecdotal experience is better than everything you say, you phoney doctor

  25. Totally agree with this video. There is so much crap around sports drinks and other sports nutrition product marketing that it's laughable. I prefer to train on water as much as possible. Saying that sports drinks have their place in endurance events for convenience more than anything else. Quick to consume and digest and can be taken on the go without slowing down. Not essential, just an easy solution compared to a lot of food options. You can swap bottles quickly or carry a hydration bladder etc.

  26. From Sports Dietitians Australia who are affiliated with Australian Institute of Sport

    "Rather than relying on perceived sweat rate or thirst to determine fluid needs, a useful way to estimate fluid losses is to measure weight before and after a run. It is a good idea to do this in different training environments over time. This allows a better understanding of individual sweat losses and helps to plan fluids for training or races."
    https://www.sportsdietitians.com.au/factsheets/food-for-your-sport/ultra-running/

  27. Great video doc, shows how were being manipulated by everything. I answered all those questions wrong aswell…

  28. This video reminds me of that series of videos where Dr Gregor said we need to avoid rice because we will get arsenic poisoning, and that it is a REALLY big issue world wide. Someone should tell the greatest runners on earth that they’ve been doing it all wrong. Hey Kenyans, a Phd wrote a paper and it turns out- you don’t really need water, sugar, or sodium when running for long periods.

  29. Could you talk about the new research made by HARVARD about "Skipping breakfast linked with higher levels of arterial plaque" ? And what about the intermittent fasting benefits?
    Thank you.

  30. Can you address the Ahi flower oil statement made by some that it is best for Omega 3 fatty acids and conversion to DHA. My understanding is that oils of any kind are not beneficial, especially when dealing with health issues. Thoughts?

  31. Thank you! Thank you.
    I have taught Body Fluids & Renal Physiology for decades and whenever I was asked about this topic of hydration during exercise my answer has been PHYSIOLOGY.
    If your hypothalamus & your kidneys work, your body will respond appropriately and you will be all set.

  32. I've been preaching in the desert about this for years. To be precise, in the Runner's World forums about eight years ago. It's nice to have now this specially-made video to back it up.

  33. Can you make a video about the long-term effects of ADD medications like vyvanse and adderall on the brain?

  34. I'm totally shocked by this! For years I thought it was one way. I love this video was created and with credible sources nonetheless!

    SHARING!!!

  35. So if you're thirsty and dehydrayted it's better to take water with sugar and salt than plain water? In what ratio? Anyone know?

  36. Why make a video on something you have no experience with? Anyone can do exactly what you did for either side of this argument and appear correct. This video has no substance.

    I'll listen to professional athletes tell me what they do to perform at a high level. I'll pass on performance based information from the captain of the Jewish debate team.

  37. Thanks for putting this in the daylight………..haven been using this [ORS] just a few months after the first publication…..it took many more years for ORS to be recognized in the develops countries

  38. I agree that water is the best choice to stay hydrated, but in studies like these, i don't think they're considering the long term effects of some of the alternatives ingredients, lets break down Gatorade for example. [ Water(fluoridated mostly), high fructose corn syrup (from genetically modified corn), glucose-fructose syrup (also from genetically modified sources), sucrose syrup (GMO), citric acid (GMO), natural flavor (GMO) salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, modified food starch (GMO), red 40 and glycerol ester of rosin]. Glycerol ester of rosin is put into sports drinks PURELY FOR COSMETICS. Its a chemical derived from wood rosin, and the only purpose it has in the drink is to keep the artificial colors, which are CRUDE OIL DERIVATIVES suspended, so they never settle to the bottom and it keeps the beverage looking "nice". When we look at the best hydration formulas, i think its important to be conscious of its constituents (hopefully none other than hydrogen and oxygen) and consider the health effects of the ingredients. Basically, anything natural (including coconut water) is healthier than crude oil derivative, wood rosin, genetically modified laden choices for hydration.

  39. Ran my fastest marathon and BQ for Boston and only drank when I was thirsty. It's true you can over drink. When ever I did sports drinks I ended up with stomach issues.

  40. I think this just confused the heck out of everybody…..hahaha AND I totally saw sanitation coming a mile away. The eradication of smallpox was mostly due to sanitation not inoculation.

  41. I drink according to thirst and I seem to drink a lot more than others. And some people I know seem to get dehydrated.

  42. I was a high school athlete in the 80s and all we drank was water and we NEVER had a problem with “low electrolytes”. I used to tell my kids all the time (both high school and college athletes) that they didn’t need all that expensive crap in the bottles and to just drink enough water. What a scam🙄.

  43. Complete lies. Just shows you how clueless orthodox medical science is. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. You don't wait until you are dehydrated to drink water. Athletes should eat fruit and NOT DRINK GATORADE which is acid forming.

  44. What the… How do you always have the best videos?!?!?!? My mind is blown.. how do u do it?
    cuz I'm like yo , this person can't be human!!!! Videos are great… Haha.. what's your social media? Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and such?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *