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Sports DrinkCoconut WaterFlavored WaterSparkling WaterWater
Sports drinks are more than a refreshing thirst quencher. They replace energy loss during and after a physical workout, preventing dehydration and its adverse physical and mental effects. The drinks are for anyone who works up a sweat, including athletic competitors, stage and concert performers and DIYers doing yardwork, housework or handiwork. Staples carries a wide selection of beverages, including bottled water, coconut water, and k-cup coffee.

Sports Drinks Replenish Lost Electrolytes and Carbohydrates
Heavy physical exertion drains a body's electrolytes and carbohydrates. Electrolytes are minerals in the fluid system of the human body that trigger the chemical reactions to support muscle action and other processes. Carbohydrates are sugars, one of the three macronutrients that the body needs to support the functioning of internal organs and systems. Carbohydrates give the body the energy it needs for muscle exertion.

If the body doesn't have enough of these essentials as physical workout saps them, dehydration becomes a risk, leading first to general muscle fatigue, and then to nausea, muscle debility and irregular circulatory and cardiac processes. Humans can replace electrolytes and carbs with food or liquid, and sports drinks provide immediate, loaded replenishment.

What the Drinks Contain
Electrolytes include such minerals as salt, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, bicarbonate and chloride. A sports drink contains different percentages of these minerals in chemical form, the amounts varying among drinks. Carbohydrates include glucose and fructose, their combination as the disaccharide sucrose and the polysaccharide maltodextrin. The drinks provide natural and chemical versions of these sugars, in the form of high-fructose corn syrup from corn starch and such artificial sweeteners as sucralose. Many drinks also contain citric acid and FDA-approved chemical flavorings or natural ingredients. The primary ingredient in the drink is water, which delivers the electrolytes and carbohydrates to the body.

When Do You Need the Infusion of Electrolytes and Carbohydrates?
Sports-nutrition professionals recommend that you have a sports drink before a workout that will last longer than 30 minutes, and that you drink it during the event when you're thirsty, which is the first sign of dehydration. The electrolytes and carbohydrates do not need to be replenished constantly. Consuming water along with the drink will dilute its benefits, unless the water is also loaded with the minerals and sugar.

Why Are Sports Drinks Flavored?
Artificial and natural flavorings make the drinks more palatable and give them a more appealing look. The drinks come in a wide assortment of flavors, including lemon, orange, grape and berry. Many also contain more tropical combinations of fruit flavors, mixed with such varieties as kiwis and mangoes.

Why Are Sports Drinks More Effective Than Soft Drinks for Physical Exertion?
Drinks targeting physical activity provide the exact balance of minerals and sugars delivered with the correct fluid medium. Soft drinks are carbonated, which may cause bloating when consumed rapidly and in large quantities to quench thirst. Bloating impedes performance. Soft drinks also normally contain much more sugar than the body needs replenished during workout. The excess sugar will create imbalances in energy exertion and may also lead to cramping. Sports drinks also have the electrolytes that most soft drinks don't, making them great additions to any list of cold and flu supplies.
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