Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade can serve an important purpose in an athlete’s diet — when they’re consumed at the appropriate times. The carbohydrates and electrolytes in sports drinks can provide much needed energy immediately before or during activity lasting longer than one hour. These drinks can be especially helpful for athletes who can’t tolerate a small meal or snack right before they begin exercising.
It’s best to replenish fluid losses with water after a practice or competition and to stay away from energy drinks and vitamin infused waters. These beverages almost always contain too much sugar (a small can of Red Bull contains over 8 teaspoons!) and many of them also contain dangerous amounts of synthetic vitamins, herbs and other substances that can be harmful to an athlete’s body.