Are sports drinks undoing all your good work?
Are sports drinks undoing all your good work? Getty - Digital Vision

Sports drinks may be doing more harm than good

SOME sports drinks contain more sugar than a can of Coke.

As Dental Health Week starts today, the Australian Dental Association says sports drink lovers need to know how much sugar they are drinking.

Maximus is one of the most sugar-laden drinks on the market - it has 19 teaspoons of sugar in its one litre bottle.

Lucozade Orange has 13.4 teaspoons of sugar per bottle; some Powerade flavors have 11 teaspoons; and Gatorade's Fierce Grape and Tropical have nine teaspoons of sugar each.

ADA Oral Health Committee chairman Dr Peter Alldritt urged sports drink lovers to consume water instead.

"Not only are sports drinks acidic and high in sugar, but people tend to sip on them frequently during exercise rather than consuming them all at once," Dr Alldritt said.

"This increases the time that teeth are exposed and leaves them vulnerable to dental damage," he said.

"Sports drinks are designed for elite athletes and not the average weekend warrior.

"Frequent use can cause teeth erosion and increase your risk of tooth decay.

"We are alarmed that people consume these drinks even when they're not exercising - when they are working at their desk or watching TV.

"Water should be the choice for hydration."

Cancer Council Australia Public Health Committee chairman Craig Sinclair said the large amounts of sugar in sports drinks could be deadly.

"Like other sugary beverages such as soft drinks and energy drinks, the excess sugar in sports drinks can lead to weight gain and increase your risk of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, some cancers, heart and kidney disease and stroke," Mr Sinclair said.

Australian Beverages Council CEO Geoff Parker said any good that contains fermentable carbohydrates (sugars and some starches), including sports drinks, can play a role in the development of tooth decay, if proper dental hygiene is not practiced.

He stressed it is not just sports drinks that contain fermentable carbohydrates.

"Dietary sources of fermentable carbohydrates include many popular foods and drinks, including bread, cereals, dried fruit, confectionary, biscuits and a range of snack foods and drinks," said Mr Parker.  

Mr Parker also stressed that people need to be responsible for their own oral hygiene. 

"The ADA's own statistics show 30% of all Australians only brush their teeth once a day, and 37% of Australian parents admit that their children only brush once a day. The ADA clearly states one of the ways to reduce tooth decay is to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

"Sports drinks are designed for people involved in intense exercise and should be consumed in moderation. The products are specifically designed to provide rapid replacement of fluid, carbohydrates, and electrolytes."


Drink, teaspoons of sugar:

Lucozade Orange 380ml, 13.4

Lucozade Original 380ml, 8.6

Maximus 1 litre, 19

Powerade Mountain Blast and Berry Ice 600ml, 11

Gatorade Fierce Grape and Tropical 600ml, 9


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