Even though the industry touts sports drinks as refreshing and effective electrolyte replacements, a new study suggests the drinks are not quite healthy for teens.
Past studies have shown that sports drinks are packed with empty calories, sodium, and added sugar.
Scientists at The Ohio State University and Hofstra University found that 58% of high schoolers regularly consume the drinks. There were also teens that consumed the drinks “every day” (14%).
The study revealed that, in recent years, U.S. adolescents have started consuming sports drinks on a weekly basis, rather than a daily basis. This suggests that teens drink the beverages because they perceive them to be a healthier alternative to sugary drinks like soda.
In 2011, a poll revealed that up to 40% of U.S. parents think that sports drinks are safe to drink by kids. However, in the U.S., around 173 calories in a child or teen’s diet come from empty calories in sugary drinks.
Sports Drinks Tied to Obesity, Diabetes, and More
Some sports drinks include high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, sucrose, fructose, maltodextrin, or cane juice as sweeteners. All of these sweeteners have been linked to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, fatty liver disease, heart disease, and tooth decay.
According to CDC, childhood obesity has jumped from 14% in 1999 to 17% over a 15-year-period.
The new research also unveiled that African-American teens are less likely to consume sports drinks. The number of sports drinks consumed by this race group decreased 6% from 26% in 2010. On the other hand, Hispanics and blacks were more likely to consume the drink every day than whites and Asians.
The racial disparities with respect to sports drink consumption are also cause for concern,
They explained that drinking sports drinks daily can boost obesity and diabetes rates among African Americans and Hispanics.
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