Gatorade and kids: weight gain and high blood pressure

If you think that sport drinks like Gatorade provide your child with a healthy alternative to sugary drinks like pop or Kool-aid, consider this article from LiveStrong on the health risks of Gatorade.

Critics say Gatorade and other sport drinks contain enough sugar to cause significant weight gain. The levels of sodium – salt – are also considered very high, and sodium can lead to high blood pressure.

An article in the Washington Post quotes a University of California study that suggested one 20-ounce sports drink per day could lead to a weight gain of 13 pounds over one year.

The same article points out that the levels of sodium are excessive for students who are sedentary. The sodium content in sport drinks is intended to replace the salt you lose through activity and perspiration. But if you aren’t active and sweating you are probably consuming too much salt.

England’s Guardian newspaper suggests that water is probably all you need when you are exercising for less than 60 minutes.

That article also points out that most of the things that you want in a sports drink (i.e., carbohydrates, minerals) are already present in a balanced diet.

What to do? If your child is not competing or training intensely in hot conditions for an hour or more, they can probably satisfy their hydration needs with good ol’ fashioned water.

2 responses to “Gatorade and kids: weight gain and high blood pressure

  1. Very pleased to see this. We just watched a BBC ‘Panorama’ documentary that tackles this subject not only for kids, but for adults too and it seems many scientists are questioning the advisability of sports drinks. It was interesting to hear during the program that while dehydration is not good, it’s not life threatening in the way that over-hydration can be – another factor in all this promotion of sports drinks too!

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