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Is soda a good sports drink?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Soda is extremely high in calories, sugar, and most likely high fructose corn syrup. Soda will provide a burst of energy, but the sugar will disappear quickly from the bloodstream. This will leave the body feeling tired and drained of energy soon. Some good options to be energized before working out would be to have a carbohydrate and protein snack and stay adequately hydrated beforehand, having water available during exercise, and getting enough sleep! Milk contains the nutrients needed for a good sports drink.

No. Soda contains far too much sugar and does not have the electrolytes your body uses during exercise. Sports drinks are designed to replace water and other substances that the body uses/loses during activities including the proper amount (and types) of sugars and sodium. Properly formulated sports drinks should contain four to eight percent carbohydrate. Drinks greater than 10 percent carbohydrate (such as sodas) may slow stomach emptying, decrease the absorption of water, cause abdominal cramping, create highs and lows in energy and impair performance. Sports drinks contain a combination of glucose, glucose polymers and fructose to also enhance water absorption. Solutions containing primarily fructose (or sucrose), such as many sodas, can cause an upset stomach and should be avoided.

Soda is not a good sports drink. It provides you with both sugar and carbonation. When you exercise, you sweat and loose fluid from your body. To replace the fluid that is lost, water is generally a good choice. Sports drinks have a varying level of electrolytes, carbohydrates and even proteins. Different combinations of the electrolytes, carbohydrates and proteins will be used in different phases, or types, of exercise and recovery. 

No. Soda will provide fluid, but the amount of sugar and carbonation (bubbles) make it a poor choice for a sports drink.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.