B3 1.3 The sports drink dilemma

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People love soft drinks. In the UK we spend £8-9 billion every year on them. Most of these soft drinks contain mainly water. Colouring, flavouring and some sugar or sweeteners are added, along with tiny amounts of minerals ions. Sometimes carbon dioxide gas is added for fizz.

What happens when you exercise?

When you exercise you release energy by respiration to make your muscles contract and move your body, using up sugar. You also sweat to keep your body temperature stable. Sweat contains water and mineral ions. The more you sweat, the more water and mineral ions you lose. This can affect the concentration of your body fluids. If the body fluids become concentrated water will leave your cells by osmosis. The cells will become dehydrated.

If the water and mineral ions you lose in sweating are not replaced, the mineral ion/water balance of your body will be disturbed. Then your cells will not work as efficiently as usual. To keep exercising at your best, you need to replace the sugar used in respirtation and the water and mineral ions lost through sweating. This also applies to recovering properly after exercise. Here is where manufacturers of sports drinks claim to help.

What is a sports


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