Spring has finally sprung! Here at CDG, we are more than excited to be thawing out and seeing some color outside. With the warm weather comes outdoor activities and sports. Besides safety with sports for your child and providing them with the proper gear, we also worry about proper hydration. With so many endorsements on sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade, those are usually the first drinks that come to mind with sports and activities. Why give your child or yourself regular water to hydrate, with the promise of hydration with the benefits of electrolytes from sports drinks? Unfortunately, those sports drinks contain a lot of sugar that children in particular don’t necessarily need in their bodies to re-hydrate. The sugar, sodium and potassium in those drinks are necessary for re-hydration for a high-level athlete who is sweating intensely for more than an hour at a time. One sports drink during a game or after a heavy workout is fine, but water will hydrate just as well without the added sugar.
Using these sports drinks for their intended use during sports or a heavy workout is not the problem. The problem occurs when parents give their children Gatorade or Powerade to their child in place of water or juice and they are drinking it throughout the day. A common misconception with Gatorade or Powerade is that they are better for you than juice because of the sugar content. Wrong! Gatorade and Powerade’s primary ingredient is sugar. All of that sugar can contribute to obesity and tooth decay. Also, Gatorade actually erodes teeth faster than Coke does. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Gatorade and other sports drinks are harder on your teeth but they aren’t any better. They acidity in these drinks along with the sugar content is what makes them so corrosive.
Children and teenagers should be instead, drinking lots and lots of water. Whether they are playing sports, burning energy outside or sitting at school water is the better choice. Water still hydrates just the same, and is better for overall health. As for other healthy beverages that children should be ingesting, milk and certain juices are good options but never right before bedtime.
The CDG team hopes that all of our patients and their families have a healthy, safe and fun filled Spring and Summer season. Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about a certain drink that your child is consuming feel free to contact our office or your pediatrician for more information.