Sports Drinks vs Energy Drinks

by Adam Desloges

“Through no fault of their own most hockey players buy energy drinks simply because the companies such as Red Bull do such a great job of marketing to young people . . .”

When it comes to buying sport drinks or energy drinks it really can be difficult to choose. It is no secret that energy drink companies spend millions upon millions advertising their product to anyone and everyone who is willing to buy it, consume it, Facebook it, Tweet it, whichever way you “say it” the millions spent are obviously paying off. Let us take a look at Red Bull for example. As of this writing they have 26,938,123 “Likes” on their Facebook page and 331,277 are talking about this. Now with those kind of numbers is easy to say their millions spent in marketing is having an impact. Now look at PowerAde. As of this writing they have 490,423 “Likes” on their Facebook page and 21,756 are talking about this. Do you see the problem here? Of course when an athlete first thinks of a drink they are going to think along the lines of Red Bull, but do we really know how bad these energy drinks are for us? With the amount of marketing and the different number of drinks available, it could be like trying to choose a simple cup of coffee at Starbucks. What these companies are not sharing with you are the potential dangers of energy drinks and the advantages of drinking sports drinks.

Some popular sports drinks on the market.

Through no fault of their own most hockey players buy energy drinks simply because the companies such as Red Bull do such a great job of marketing to young people as we see with the numbers and numbers do not lie. When it comes to adults we should know better and it really appalls me when I see parents buying energy drinks for their young athlete. Even more so when I see them in vending machines inside arenas and for sale over the counter at most hockey arenas. Like seriously, are these business owners so hard up for a few bucks that they will jeopardize the health and safety of kids playing hockey?! When the number of energy drinks outscores the number of sport drinks inside any sport complex there is a BIG problem there.

I know what you are thinking, “Hey, last year during the NHL Playoffs I saw Zdeno Chara drinking Coca-Cola on the bench”. Yes this did happen and it was not good for young athletes to see. Someone as big as Chara may need from time to time a little jolt, but rest assure that mouth full of Coca-Cola gave him and the Bruins an ear full from the NHL. Why? Coca-Cola is not an official sponsor in the NHL and the NHL was worried about the adverse impact that image would have on young athletes. It is easy to say that none of us are playing that level of hockey, so keep the sugar and caffeine drinks away from the arenas and stick to the more healthier sports drinks.

Recently I purchased four drinks so I could better understand their attributes. These drinks were; Gatorade G2 Electrolyte Beverage Grape 591ml, PowerAde Sport Drink Mixed Berry 710ml, Red Bull Energy Drink 355ml and Monster Energy 473ml. Most of us would agree that we are all familiar with these drinks, but how much do we really know about the benefits and dangers of these drinks? Let us find out. The following is a breakdown of these drinks:

Gatorade G2 / 250mL

Calories 20
Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 115mg 5%
Potassium 30mg 1%
Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Sugars 5g
Protein 0g

PowerAde / 710mL

Calories 160
Fat 0%
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 300mg 12%
Potassium 75mg 2%
Carbohydrate 41g 14%
Fibre 0g 0%
Sugars 41g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0%
Iron 0%
Magnesium 2%

Red Bull / 355mL

Medicinal Ingredients 
Taurine 1420mg
Glucuronolactone 852mg
Caffeine 113.6mg
Inositol 71mg
Niacin 25.6mg
Pantothenic acid 8.5mg
Vitamin B6 2.8mg
Riboflavin 2.3mg
Vitamin B12 1.4mcg

Non-medicinal Ingredients
Carbonated water
Citric acid
Natural and artificial mixed fruit flavours

Monster Energy / 473mL

Medicinal Ingredients
2-aminoethysulfonic acid (taurine) (synthetic) 2000mg
Ginseng 400mg
Caffeine 164mg
Vitamin B3 40mg
D-glucuronolactone 10mg
Inositol 10mg
Guana 22% caffeine 10mg
Vitamin B6 4mg
Vitamin B2 3.4mg
Vitamin B12 12mcg

Non-medicinal Ingredients
Carbonated water
Citric acid
Naturally sourced flavours
Sodium citrate
Natural colour
Sorbic acid
Benzoic acid
Sodium chloride

I am no scientist nor do I hold a PHD, but I can certainly see the difference from the sports drinks and the energy drinks. In the list of ingredients for the sports drinks we all know what most of those ingredients are and can pronounce them all. In the list of ingredients for the energy drinks I am sure most of us do not know most of those ingredients and have a hard time pronouncing them. While typing this my computer dictionary did not recognize most of the words of ingredients in the energy drinks. When you have a list of Medicinal ingredients and a list of Non-medicinal ingredients for the same product you have to wonder what exactly are we consuming.

Being from Canada I am a little bias, but when it comes to sports drinks our World Juniors drink nothing but Gatorade and judging by their record and medal count the sports drinks are a way to go. So leave the caffeine at Starbucks and the energy drinks on the shelves if you want better performance on the ice!

For results of a comprehensive study on hydration checkout these two links:

Drink Your Way To Optimal Performance 

Gatorade Sports Science Research

Until next time, play hard and stay hydrated.

How to Contact Adam!

Adam Desloges  |  Center Ice Hockey
1.705.268.STIX  |  1.855.BUY.STIX  |
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