Health

Olympians Selling Sugary Sports Drinks (Video)

| by Michael Allen
Usain BoltUsain Bolt

The Olympic Summer Games kick off on Aug. 5, but some athletes have already been hard at work pitching sugary sports drinks in advertisements (videos below).

Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Paul George and April Ross (along with their kid trainers) appear in an ad for Gatorade, while boxer Shakur Stevenson stars in a Powerade commercial.

The BMJ, a medical journal in the U.K., published a study in 2012 that stated: "Over the past 40 years humans have been misled -- mainly by the marketing departments of companies selling sports drinks -- to believe that they need to drink to stay 'ahead of thirst' to be optimally hydrated."

The Washington Post recently reported that sports drink marketing is often aimed at kids who are watching (and dreaming of) the Olympics.

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However, these youngsters are not usually part of the very small minority that commercial sports drinks actually benefit, namely athletes who train for long periods of time and need the extreme rehydration and calorie boost that these drinks give.

The newspaper notes that even the most athletic young people don't normally benefit from these types of sugary drinks.

Kids aren't the only ones who believe they need sports drinks; their parents are often sold on the notion that their offspring need to down these beverages in order to replenish electrolytes.

This message has been very successful as the sports drink market hovers around the $6.81 billion mark.

While the sports drink companies keep pitching the glamor of the Olympics, the American Academy of Pediatrics stated on its website in 2011:

Routine ingestion of carbohydrate-containing sports drinks by children and adolescents should be avoided or restricted, because they can increase the risk of overweight and obesity, as well as dental erosion.

Sports drinks have a limited function for pediatric athletes; they should be ingested when there is a need for rapid replenishment of carbohydrates and/or electrolytes in combination with water during prolonged, vigorous physical activity.

Water, not sports drinks, should be the principal source of hydration for children and adolescents.

Sources: The Washington PostAmerican Academy of Pediatrics, The BMJ / Photo credit: Gatorade/YouTube

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