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February 7, 2013

Teen and Sports- Best Beverage Bets

by Hansa Bhargava, MD

Often, parents ask me, what is the best drink to give to their teen athlete to get them to perform their best? Are sports drinks the key? And are energy drinks okay once in a while?

When kids play sports, it is really important to hydrate well with water. Water is essentially the best drink because it delivers what your kids need without all the extra add-ons: sugar and calories. Sports drinks contain a lot of extra calories, so a side effect can be unhealthy weight gain. In most cases, even the electrolytes they offer are not needed unless your teen is super active.  Energy drinks, on the other hand, should always be avoided.  They can have a lot of caffeine, in some cases more than 12 times a typical can of soda.  That much caffeine can cause a lot of harm to kids, including high heart rate, jitteriness, and excess sweating.

So next time your teen has a soccer or basketball game, tell them that to be “on,” go the proven route of a good night’s sleep, a good meal, and lots of water. And share this video with your teen so they can make the right beverage choice away from home.

What other ways do you help your teen feel their best at sports?

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