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Clinical research is still divided over the use of sports drinks to increase performance in athletics, with some studies suggesting that caffeine use does provide a competitive advantage while others suggest that pure water is better than both sports drinks and caffeinated beverages. The composition of sports drinks may be considered in the traditional “Gatorade” variety of PH balancing and vitamin supplemented flavored energy drinks with sugar calories in the mixture vs. the new style of “Red Bull” type energy drinks that include caffeine, amino acids, and complex performance enhancing chemicals for physical support. The Burke (2008) study found that caffeine did include a performance benefit for athletes in competitive situations, however that this benefit could be achieved in smaller doses distributed over a longer period of time. (Burke, 2008) The van Nieuwenhoven et al. (2001) study suggested that caffeinated beverages and sports drinks create more gastro-intestinal problems for athletes vs. pure water. (van Nieuwenhoven et al., 2001) The Sokmen et al. (2008) study suggested low doses of caffeine over the three to four days preceding a sports performance to optimize the effect of the performance boost. (Sokmen et al., 2008) Consequently, the regular use of sports drinks can actually be detrimental to performance if over-used, especially if the competitors are relying on personal training with pure water used during competitions. The Nutritional Value of Energy Drinks Sports drinks can be analyzed by looking at the two varieties of products marketed to athletes by looking at the leading brands. In this context, the “Gatorade” sports beverage is taken to be exemplary of the first generation of sports drinks, despite the fact that it now has a variety of formulas including G Series, Gatorade Prime, Elite Series – Endurance Formula, etc. These drinks provide calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, sodium, and electrolytes which are designed to provide energy, replenishment of lost fluids, and aid body harmonization in athletes. (Gatorade, 2011) The first generation of performance drinks are generally not caffeinated beverages, which distinguishes them from the second type of performance drinks similar to “Red Bull”. The Red Bull drink contains Caffeine, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, B-group vitamins, Sucrose and Glucose. (Red Bull, 2011) The non-caffeinated sports drinks are considered important to replace calories burned in athletic activity and vital electrolytes lost during sweating. Caffeinated sports drinks primarily use sugars and caffeine in a mix with vitamins to surge energy through increased heartbeat and blood pressure, delivering more blood and energy to the extremities via muscle tissue. In this manner, these drinks may lead to peak performance and decline rather than sustained performance acquired through personal training. Training as a Basis for Performance The basis for sports performance can be seen in a combination of physical training and endurance conditioning, ideally specialized around the movements required by the sport but leading to an over-all physical strength and speed. This physical training which is seen in weight training, running, jogging, sprints, calisthenics, and more complex coaching drills must also be supplemented by a proper diet. There is a large market for health and performance enhancing supplements in this industry which promise increased results but are often no better than a natural or whole food diet. The athlete needs a nutrition plan that supports the muscle mass gain in weight training and optimizes the performance of the body through a balanced or harmonized ...Show more


Clinical research is still divided over the use of sports drinks to increase performance in athletics, with some studies suggesting that caffeine use does provide a competitive advantage while others suggest that pure water is better than both sports drinks and caffeinated beverages…
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