The Loop

The Loop

Fitness Friday: Stop drinking the orange water (purple, too)

March 14, 2014

According to recent earning statements, net sales continue to drop in the U.S. for soda. That's great news. People are really starting to understand the role sugary beverages have in this country's growing obesity problem. Dr. Pepper is down. So is Coca-Cola.

But while parents, doctors and anyone who wants to live a healthy life can enjoy a small victory in hearing that soda is losing popularity, another unhealthy beverage continues to see growth in sales--sports drinks.

The name of this category of beverages has always irked me, because the word "sports" makes people believe that drinking them is a part of being fit. They are almost always among the selections you can choose on a beverage cart at the golf course. In truth, these beverages are almost as sneaky bad as fruit juices (which are awful because of high sugar content, the way they're made, and unnatural additives). Instead of calling them sports drinks, I prefer "colored sugar water." Sports drinks most likely contain sugar, genetically modified organisms, chemicals, unnatural additives, lots of salt... I can go on and on. Ever notice how the color of the original sports drink looks like antifreeze? OK, that's a bit extreme, but you do realize all those bright colors that sports drinks come in are designed to attract children. I've written about this topic in the past, but it's worth repeating. When it comes to hydration, nothing beats water. When it comes proper organ function, nothing beats water. When it comes to curbing appetite, mental acuity, muscle function, nothing beats water. How much water? Your goal should be to take your body weight, divide by two, and drink that many fluid ounces of water a day. And I'm talking about water. Not coffee. Not iced tea. Water. You can drink sparkling water if you like the fizz. Now back to sports drinks. The reason why I'm on my soapbox about these beverages is because of a recent article written by Dr. Lisa Sulsenti (@nakedmoxie). I've only recently become familiar with Dr. Sulsenti's work in nutrition, but I believe she did a thorough and fair job of explaining many of the harmful reasons why sports drinks should be avoided. She speaks specifically about their effects on children, but I always have believed that if something is bad for kids, it's bad for adults, too.

If you have a few minutes, take a look at this article. See if it doesn't sway your opinion on that colored sugar water.

Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor of Golf Digest.

(Photo by Getty Images)