Monday, April 6, 2009

Can Your Kid Overload On Sports Drinks?

Sports drinks are intended for exactly what they say: drinking during, or after sports in order to replenish fluids athletes lose as they sweat during a game. Lately, many parents are providing sports drinks to their children on a daily basis -perhaps feeling it is better than soda. Sports drinks have practically become the "Juicy Juice" for the older set of kids. These drinks created with the intention to replace the electrolytes and sodium in a persons body after working out and sweating, thus de-hydrating their bodies. My son played soccer from Kindergarten on up, eventually playing on a nationally ranked team, continuing now in college.
During their travels, numerous sports nutritionists communicated to these boys that sports drinks prior to a game was not necessary, and in fact, if consumed at all prior to a game, it should be cut in 1/2 with water
. Players often complain of feeling more thirsty while drinking a sports drink before and during the beginning of a game. In young, active girls between the ages of 8 and 14 doctors have noted an increase in kidney stones, and they are attributing this to an overindulgence of sports drinks in combination with a "love" of junk food. The overload of sodium in the young girls diets are causing calcium build up and eventually kidney stones. Being active girls, they are used to having sports drinks; unfortunately for them, the use of these drinks on a daily basis coupled with weekly run to the golden arches often with a side of fries has boomeranged on these kids in a painful way. WATER is the best pre-game hydration, and for those athletes who compete at a higher level, hydration begins 36 to 72 hours prior to their match. After a hard played match, or during a hot day's game, a sports drink is great. Packing one for lunch each day, and an after school snack, is not the best idea. Between the caloric intake and the sodium, its a simple case of too much of a good (tasting) thing! In the case of these young girls, doctors are recommending cutting out the fries and greatly decreasing fast food. Only drinking the sports drink when necessary after a match and increasing their water and fruits which also provide your body with fluids to replace those lost in sport, or just running around at recess. From my perspective, we teach our kids the rules to the game; it makes sense to teach them how to feed their bodies the nutritional fuel it needs for peak performance and playing hard- but safely at the same time.

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