Sugar In Sports Drink 101

Sugar In Sports Drink 101

Trading Your Exercise High for a Sugar High: The Dangers of Sugar in Your Sports Drink


Sports drinks are nothing new. If you have participated in sports, exercised or purchased a beverage from a vending machine, chances are you have consumed a sports drink at some point in time or another. With heavy marketing campaigns and fancy logos, sports drinks are highly marketed to athletes (or weekend warriors) of all levels. However behind the glitz and glam of celebrity endorsements and fancy packaging, not all sports drinks are as good for you as they may seem. Check out the nutrition label on your favorite sports drink, the sugar content may just surprise you.


What’s in Your Favorite Sports Drink?


We’ve all heard of Powerade, Gatorade and Vitamin Water. The one thing you might not have thought about is how much sugar these go-to sports drinks contain. It’s not surprising for sodas and even fruit juices to contain a lot of sugar. However, many individuals assume sports drinks are 100 percent good for you. Take a look at the sugar content in some popular sports drinks:


  • 20 ounces of Powerade contains over 7 teaspoons of sugar. The good news is Powerade does offer a low sugar beverage which contains just over 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  • 32 ounces of Gatorade contains 14 teaspoons of sugar. If you are looking for a lower sugar version of Gatorade, Propel is Gatorade’s low sugar brand. In 16 ounces of Propel you will find 1.5 teaspoons of sugar.
  • 20 ounces of Vitamin Water contains slightly over 7 teaspoons of sugar.


Why is Sugar So Dangerous?


High sugar intake is one of the leading causes of obesity in the United States. Many individuals opt for a sports drink thinking they are making a healthier beverage choose. Depending upon which brand of sports drink you choose, consuming sports drinks may not be much different than consuming soda or fruit juice. Sugar contains plenty of added calories without any nutritional value.


  • Sugar is bad for your teeth and can lead to tooth decay.
  • Too much sugar can overload your liver, which can lead to your body storing excess fat.
  • Too much fructose in the liver can lead to serious health concerns including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Sugar can increase insulin resistance; which increases your chances of developing metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
  • Research indicates that the insulin resistance associated with too much sugar intake can actually increase your risk of developing cancer.
  • Sugar releases excess dopamine from the brain. Meaning, you can actually become addicted to sugar. 



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