A sports drink beverage is designed to help athletes rehydrate when fluids are depleted after training or competition. Electrolyte replacement promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue during exercise. As the primary fuel utilized by exercising muscle, carbohydrates are important in maintaining exercise and sport performance.
Consumption of excessive amounts of water can cause water intoxication, a potentially fatal imbalance of electrolytes in the body. Water intoxication is extremely rare. It might occur, for example, during intense exercise when heavy sweating removes water and electrolytes from the body, but only large quantities of water are consumed to replace what has been lost. The resulting low concentration of electrolytes adversely affects central nervous system function.
Many sports drinks reduce the risk of water intoxication by replenishing fluids and electrolytes in a ratio similar to that normally found in the human body. However, some sports drinks have low concentrations of electrolytes, so overconsumption of them could still lead to water intoxication. People whose work or exercise puts them at high risk of developing heat illness or water intoxication should seek professional advice about proper rehydration of the body.
While sports and energy drinks help athletes re-hydrate after a long workout, if consumed on a regular basis they can damage teeth. These beverages may cause irreversible damage to dental enamel, potentially resulting in severe tooth decay according to a study reported in the January/February issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry 's clinical, peer-reviewed journal. Dental enamel is the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth structure and shape, while protecting it from decay.
"This study revealed that the enamel damage caused by non-cola and sports beverages was three to 11 times greater than cola-based drinks, with energy drinks and bottled lemonades causing the most harm to dental enamel," said J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, FRSC, FADM, lead author, Professor of Biomaterials Science at the University of Maryland Dental School. "A previous study in the July/August issue of General Dentistry demonstrated that non-cola and canned iced teas can more aggressively harm dental enamel than cola."
The study continuously exposed enamel from cavity-free molars and premolars to a variety of popular sports beverages, including energy drinks, fitness water and sports drinks, as well as non-cola beverages such as lemonade and ice tea for a period of 14 days (336 hours). The exposure time was comparable to approximately 13 years of normal beverage consumption.