Before you hand your child a bright-colored sports drink on their way to t-ball practice, you may want to think twice. Sports drinks may be beneficial for replenishing electrolytes in athletes who engage in rigorous physical activities for prolonged periods of time, such as marathons.
However, such beverages are often unnecessary for children. In fact, sports drinks often do more harm than good to your little one. To learn about some of the negative impacts of sports drinks for young athletes, continue reading.
Sports drinks increase children’s risk of diabetes and high blood pressure
Sports drinks are packed with sugar—almost as much as a can of soda. Some sports drinks even contain up to eight teaspoons of sugar for every eight ounces of fluid. To put that into perspective, children are suggested to have less than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar each day. By drinking a single 8-ounce sports drink, they already surpass their recommended amount for the entire day. If a thirsty child reaches for two bottles during practice, their sugar intake shoots through the roof and almost triples their daily recommended amount.
Consuming such large quantities of sugar on a regular basis can increase a child’s potential for developing several health issues. Common health problems associated with excess sugar intake include diabetes and high blood pressure. Based on the negative health impacts of consuming too much sugar, it is often advised to encourage children to drink plenty of water after exercising rather than offer them a sports drink.
Sports drinks hurt children’s teeth
Another negative impact of sports drinks for young athletes is that they can harm children’s teeth. As previously stated, sports drinks are packed with sugar. In addition, they are also loaded with sodium and acids. This combination of sodium, sugar, and acid creates a concoction that clings to children’s teeth and eats away at their enamel.
Protecting tooth enamel is extremely important because it shields the inner layers of the tooth from damage. When enamel is worn away, it can’t be restored. As such, the tooth becomes permanently more vulnerable to cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues.
In addition to eating away at tooth enamel, sports drinks also attract bacteria that feed off the copious amounts of sugar they contain. Thus, the beverage creates a perfect storm for cavities by simultaneously weakening the tooth and attracting harmful bacteria.