Get the lowdown on sports drinks vs. energy drinks for young athletes

When grabbing a drink to fuel energy for a big game or practice, does your child grab a sports drink or an energy drink? The benefits of sports drinks vs. energy drinks are important to know.

During any exercise, your athlete loses fluid from sweating. Sports drinks often contain certain elements to help replenish lost electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Sports drinks also contain water and carbohydrates to fuel energy through metabolism. The carbohydrates feed muscles and that translates to energy for a game or practice.

Energy drinks on the other hand are reliant on caffeine to provide energy by stimulating your central nervous system. While an athlete may feel energy from both drinks, the energy provided from an energy drink is more of a false energy that cannot be sustained and may result in a “crash” shortly after consumption.

When it comes to sports drinks vs. energy drinks, the latter doesn’t belong in any young athletes hand. No different than a sugary cup of coffee, energy drinks provide a short-lived buzz but no real nutritional value to an athlete. Sports drinks can help an athlete recover after exercise by replacing key electrolytes and providing carbohydrates for longer periods of play.

If in doubt of the difference between the two types of drinks, check the nutritional label to see the contents. If any drink contains caffeine, it’s considered an energy drink and is not recommended for a young athlete.