Last week Eat This Not That published an article on "Five Sports Drinks That Actually Work". Since we consume quite a few calories from beverages, I thought this would be a great article to share with you. And it's no surprise (spoiler alert) that the number one drink is, ready? WATER! So enjoy reading below, and you can find this article online at: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/5-sports-drinks-actually-work
5. #5 Best Drink for Hydration: Coconut Water: Vita Coco 100% Pure Coconut Water (1 bottle, 17 fl oz)
90 calories , 0 g fat, 22 g sugars
A 2012 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that compared to a commercial sports drink, coconut water—a natural source of electrolytes—was equally as effective in hydrating participants after an intense workout. So why choose the coconut water over the sports drink? For one, coconut water is low on the glycemic index, so it won't dramatically affect your blood sugar, while fluid-replacement beverages like Powerade are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a high-glycemic-index sweetener that can spike blood sugar levels and promote body-fat storage. Second, a 2010 study in the Journal of Cell & Tissue Research found that coconut water helped reduce blood pressure and cholesterol in rats, suggesting that the drink may also promote heart health.
4. #4 Best Drink for Enhanced Performance: Coffee: Coffee (8 fl oz)
2 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sugars
A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance found that during a 1-hour time trial, cyclists who took a caffeine supplement were able to ride about a mile farther than those who took a placebo. What's more, other scientific research has linked caffeine consumption with increased endurance and reaction times. The problem is, most caffeine-enhanced energy drinks are loaded with added sugars (what's the point of an exercise-boosting drink that makes you fat?). The Starbucks Doubleshot can below, for example, has more sugar than a Twix bar! A much more waistline-friendly way to reap the benefits of caffeine: black coffee. It's sugar-free, packed with antioxidants, and has a negligable 2 calories per cup.
3. #3 Best Drink for Weight Loss: EBoost: EBoost Natural Orange (1 packet)
5 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sugars
Green tea is another smart source of energy-enhancing caffeine. Like coffee, it's packed with antioxidants, and a 2011 research review published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the herbal drink may also promote weight loss. A great way to get green tea on the go: EBoost. Unlike most green-tea based energy beverages, it's sweetened with natural, zero-calorie Stevia, and it boasts an impressive antioxidant profile. Compare it to the SoBe sugar concoction below—which packs nearly as much sugar as three whole Kit Kat bars!—and the winner is clear.
2. #2 Best Drink for Recovery: Chocolate Milk: Low-Fat Chocolate Milk (8 fl oz)
158 calories, 2.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 25 g sugars, 8 g protein
Drinking a combination of carbohydrates and protein after a hard workout can help restore your energy and aid in building lean, metabolism-boosting muscle, but it turns out that you don't need a fancy recovery beverage to reap these benefits. A 2009 article in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that after participating in a vigorous cyclying session, cyclists who drank chocolate milk were able to ride 51 percent longer in a subsequent workout than those who drank a standard recovery beverage. Plus, chocolate milk is cheaper (and tastier) than anything you'll find in a sports nutrition store.
1. #1 Best Drink in America: Water: Water
0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sugars
You may feel trendy with a bottle of vitamin-enhanced water in your hand, but that brightly hued liquid probably isn't improving your health. Most vitamin-infused H20 is just colored sugar water with some vitamins tossed in—bad news when you consider that Americans take in about 355 calories of added sugar every day. If you want vitamins, get them from vitamin supplements or, better yet, from whole foods (salmon, for example, is loaded with energy-boosting vitamin B-12). And if you want water, get it from, well, water. Nature's beverage is calorie-free, cost-free, and unless you're an elite athlete who does high-intensity exercise for more than an hour at a time, it'll take care of all your workout hydration needs.
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