There is no doubt that replacing fluids and carbohydrates is essential to achieve optimal athletic performance. Manufacturers of sports drinks claim that the consumption of their products is a necessary way to achieve this goal. However, long-term dependence on sports drinks to replace fluids and carbohydrates may not be the most appropriate approach for many athletes. A growing number of studies suggesting that for optimal sports performance requires adequate fluid intake. It is often believed that an athlete can only thirst after losing 2% of the weight attributed to water, but this amount of dehydration can reduce athletic performance by 30%.
For this reason, sports drinks that contain carbohydrates and minerals have become ubiquitous.
Studies show that water is absorbed more quickly from the stomach when it contains approximately the same level of components as blood, when it is called isotonic. In general, sports drinks contain an approximately 5-8% carbohydrate, which is considered the optimum level for the maximum fluid replacement rate. Drinking an isotonic sports drink will replace lost fluid faster than normal water, but it will also provide carbohydrate energy and the necessary minerals (depending on the composition of the sports drink).
It is argued that drinks with a concentration of more than 8% carbohydrates often lead to indigestion.
Despite the fact that sports drinks have been around for several years, there is still some disagreement about how beneficial the use of drinks is. Some of those who are against its regular use point out that some of the most favorable studies are supported by those who produce and sell sports drinks. However, it is probably fair to conclude that following normal alcohol consumption guidelines can reduce the likelihood of poor performance. However, during long-distance sports (or training) in hot or humid climates, simply drinking sports drinks without considering the amount of carbohydrates consumed can cause problems.
Some researchers have argued that drinking sports drinks can decrease the secretion of the human growth hormone response associated with activity, since a higher level of blood sugar can decrease the secretion of human growth hormone. Studies show that human growth hormone can promote the use of fat as a source of energy, and the hormone can also contribute to protein / muscle synthesis.
Scientists claim that carb drinks increase blood sugar, which suppresses growth hormone, which is necessary to optimize training adaptation. Therefore, regular consumption may not provide maximum muscle and body adaptation to training. For those who train for more than 10 minutes, you can measure the increase in growth hormone secretion if the intensity of training exceeds the lactate threshold.
Therefore, if the athlete’s goal is to optimize training adaptation, water should only be consumed (with or without adequate electrolytes) during and immediately after training at or above the threshold for lactate production.