While nutrition messaging for the general public often demonizes sugar, and encourages watching your carbohydrate intake - the average human is not active like an athlete is, and so your needs are not the same! What you need to focus on to optimize fueling your body and your performance is not the same.
Remember, sports drinks weren’t designed for the general population- they were formulated to fuel athletes.
Moderate to high intensity physical activity demands carb fuel!
Athletes perform best with a steady supply of fast digesting carbs both pre-exercise and during longer duration (>45 min) exercise.
During physical activity, the body is focused on moving blood and oxygen and energy to the muscles and not to the gastrointestinal system.
So complex carbohydrates that require more breakdown, or other types of macronutrients (proteins/fats), aren’t an ideal fuel source before and during exercise.
Instead, your body wants carbohydrates in a simple form...like sugar.
Carbs = sugar = energy
So yes, sports drinks contain added sugars!
Carbohydrates also help with hydration. So a sports drink is an efficient delivery system for both fuel and hydration!
There are MANY ways to fuel before and during exercise and if you prefer natural sources of sugar - then do your thing!
And if you're feeling extra fancy, here’s a recipe for making your own sports drinks:
➡️8 ounces of 100% fruit juice
➡️Mixed with 8 ounces of water
➡️+ ½ teaspoon of salt🧂