Difference between Sports Drink and Energy Drink

Key Difference: Sports drinks are drinks that are to be consumed when a person plans to sweat or perform vigorous activities. Sports drinks have sugar, salt and vitamins that are expected to replace the lost electrolytes when a person performs excessive exercise. Energy drinks are a type of beverage that contains stimulant drugs, most commonly caffeine. These drinks are marketed at students and young adults that have a busy schedule and require an extra boost to keep going. The drinks are marketed as providing mental or physical stimulation.

Sports drinks and energy drinks have gained popularity with many college students. This is primarily because of many celebrities and athletes promoting the drink as helpful and beneficial to health. However, both of these drinks have come under scrutiny by researchers and many nutritionists. Sports drink and energy drinks can be mistaken for the same as they both seem to provide an extra boost of energy.

Ever notice those commercials; two well known athletes are competing with each other on a treadmill. Both are sweating heavily and while one consumes just water, the other consumes a sports drink and seems to be rejuvenated and runs even faster, while the one that consumes just was gets further tired? Well, this is a sports drink.

Another scenario, a person is tired from a long day of work; he/she comes home and gets a text from his friend for a popular party. He wants to go but he doesn’t want to stay tired, so he grabs a drink from the fridge and pops it open and drinks. Suddenly, he/she is rejuvenated and feel completely fresh. Well, this is an energy drink.

While, both the scenarios may seem the same as both of the drinks seem to provide a sudden boost of energy to the drinker. However, they are supposed to be consumed in different scenarios. Sports drinks are drinks that are to be consumed when a person plans to sweat or perform vigorous activities. Sports drinks have sugar, salt and vitamins that are expected to replace the lost electrolytes when a person performs excessive exercise.

Sports drinks can be divided into three major types: Isotonic, hypertonic and hypotonic. Isotonic has similar salt and sugar concentrations that are present in the human body. Hypertonic contains slightly higher levels on salt and sugar concentrations when compared to the human body. Hypotonic sports drinks have lower salt and sugar concentrations than the ones present in the human body. Most drinks are moderately isotonic or somewhere between isotonic and hypertonic.

This drink is aimed primarily at athletes or other sports fanatics that run vigorous exercise regimes and lose a lot of electrolytes by sweating. However, these drinks have come under scrutiny as many people that are targeted by these drinks and consume drinks do not lose that much electrolytes and do not perform that heavy exercises, resulting in consuming extra sugar and salt that are not required by the body. Excessive of these drinks are causing further gastrointestinal problem or imbalance of fluid levels in the body. Experts suggest that a person should consume sports drinks if they are performing at least 90 minutes of continuous exercise.

Energy drinks are a type of beverage that contains stimulant drugs, most commonly caffeine. These drinks are marketed at students and young adults that have a busy schedule and require an extra boost to keep going. These drinks are similar to having coffee or tea or any other caffeinated drinks. The drinks are marketed as providing mental or physical stimulation.

These drinks can be carbonated or uncarbonated but have high amounts caffeine or other similar stimulants along with sugar, sweeteners, amino acids and herbal extracts. These are a part of other similar energy products such as gels and bars that also aim at providing an extra boost. These drinks have become a dangerous trend among teens that add it to alcohol to get an extra kick. However, mixing high amounts of alcohol and energy drinks results in getting intoxicated fast and can even in death. A popular brand of products that were introduced as energy drinks were known as Four Loko, these had a mix of alcohol, caffeine, taurine, and guarana. These were banned in many states as the dangerous mix of all the above ingredients resulted in many blackouts (people not remembering what they did or where they were) and even death. The drink has since removed caffeine, taurine and guarana and now sells its drink as malt liquor.

Energy drinks have extra sugar and caffeine that is not required by the body and according to many experts continuous consumption of energy drinks can result in obesity and other related diseases such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia and agitation. Energy drinks have received a mixed reaction with many fans still avidly consuming it.

Image Courtesy: coxhardware.com, thinkprogress.org

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