Gatorade: not what you think it is

Sports drinks are usually depicted as magic enhancers that will improve your game and surely give you the upper edge on your opponent. Not many people know, however, that sports drinks may be more harmful than helpful. Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Too much sodium with not enough exercise can lead to high blood pressure and kidney stones. The high amounts of sugar in sports drinks can lead to weight gain, if you do not exercise regularly, and heart disease, and cavities. Mr. Nugent, teacher and lacrosse coach, told our class that the best way to drink a sports drink was to chug it down really quickly and then wash your mouth out right after with water. This is practical information because studies show that the second the acid from the sports drinks enters the mouth, it starts to erode teeth away. Even after the last sip, the sports drink can still erode teeth for up to 45 minutes until the saliva in the mouth returns to its normal ph balance. Sports drinks also contain high amounts of potassium. Diets of high potassium foods, such as meat and fish products, and the use of sports drinks can lead to hyperkalemia, which is an excess amount of potassium in the blood. In extreme cases, hyperkalemia can cause cardiac arrest and death. Who knew that having a healthy diet and drinking a sports drink can cause death! When asking avid baseball player Karl Chaney from Clark Montessori about his sports drink intake, he replied, “I drink a Gatorade during lifting every week and usually bring one to my practices and games.” After I told him about some of the harmful effects of sports drinks he responded, “I never knew that Gatorade could even do that, I think I might switch to just regular water.” We have all this information about how bad sports drinks are, yet we still continue to drink them. Even athletes who train for hours and hours to try to improve themselves drink Gatorade and other sports drinks at games. One would think that athletes should use this info and drink water instead of sports drinks. Athletes are almost wasting all their hard work and training by drinking these drinks.