Image from self.com
After a tiring workout, it may feel refreshing to drink water alternatives such as electrolyte-filled sports drinks or vitamin-infused water. Vitamin drink companies claim that they offer healthier alternatives to energy drinks and tastier substitutes for water, but what are the actual potential health benefits?
One bottle of generic vitamin water contains around 32.5 grams of sugar, which is much greater than the recommended daily sugar intake of 24 grams. In fact, it has a sugar content similar to sugary soda (39 grams per can), which is empty calories and associated with negative health outcomes.
Vitamin-infused water is marketed as providing the consumer with various essential vitamins– organic compounds that are necessary for health. However, the beverage mostly provides vitamins B and C, which are rarely lacking in an average diet. There is also no benefit of taking an excess amount of these vitamins, because the body excretes the surplus in your urine. Drinks like vitamin-infused water contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals that some populations may be lacking, such as folate and vitamin A (at 25% of the recommended daily intake). However, the drawbacks of the extra sugar outweighs the potential benefits of these few vitamins.
On the other hand, many sports drinks are filled with electrolytes like sodium and potassium that help maintain the balance of fluids in the body. Exercising and sweating causes you to lose a significant amount of these electrolytes, leading to dehydration and suboptimal performance. Due to this, sports drinks can be beneficial in replenishing electrolytes and quickly rehydrating the body for individuals who engage in intense exercise or work out for longer than 75 minutes.
Vitamin deficiencies vary from person-to-person. Drinks like vitamin-infused water are packed with random vitamins that don’t account for an individual body’s health needs. Given this, you are much better off sticking to water after a workout and taking vitamin supplements for your specific needs. However, if you feel dehydrated after an intense workout, electrolyte-supplemented sports drinks might be the way to go!