Sports drinks are functional drinks specifically designed to help athletes and other active people hydrate before, during and after exercise.
Rehydration is the major requirement during exercise as performance deteriorates rapidly with even low levels of dehydration. Minerals such as sodium and potassium are also frequently added to replace those lost through sweat. Replacing the electrolytes lost during exercise promotes proper rehydration, which is important in delaying the onset of fatigue.
There are three types of sports drinks all of which contain various levels of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrate:
Designed to quickly replace fluids lost during exercise. Hypotonic drinks have very low carbohydrate content and a lower concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.
Isotonic drinks contains similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body. Most of them are rich of simple carbohydrates - a quick and efficient source of energy. Isotonic drinks are designed to quickly replace fluids and electrolytes lost during exercise.
These are designed to supplement the body's daily carbohydrate intake. They contain high levels of carbohydrate in order to provide maximum energy uptake.
They are best drunk after exercise as it is important to replace glycogen levels quickly after exercise. They have a higher concentration of salt and sugar than the human body.