New research shows nationwide inappropriate use of sports drinks

water and excercise


3 April 2012: Over 11 million adults across the UK, including over a quarter of all men, are drinking sports drinks when sitting at their office desks. Our survey of over 2,000 UK adult respondents uncovered worrying attitudes towards hydration methods during exercise.

The target population for sports drinks are “active individuals performing endurance exercise” as stated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)*.

In contrast, despite being the most suitable for the majority of recreational sports-participants, almost 80% of respondents forget to drink water before exercise. A further 60% don’t remember to consider their hydration levels at all after exercise and almost 30% aren’t packing water in their sports bag. Shockingly when asked what was most essential for exercise, ‘water’ sits at the bottom of the priority list ranked below ‘nice sportswear’ and ‘specialist trainers’.

Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University, Paul Gately PhD, said: “The consumption levels and situations in which people are consuming these sports drinks are worrying. These products are designed for highly-active sportspeople undertaking regular high-intensity training and performance exercise lasting for more than 45 minutes.”

“What’s even more concerning is that this insight is paired with people not drinking enough water or at the right times.”

For more information see our Hydration and Exercise fact sheet.

* EFSA Journal 2011;9(6):2211 [29 pp.]. Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions and reduction in rated perceived exertion/effort during exercise (ID 460, 466, 467, 468), enhancement of water absorption during exercise (ID 314, 315, 316, 317, 319, 322, 325, 332, 408, 465, 473, 1168, 1574, 1593, 1618, 4302, 4309), and maintenance of endurance performance (ID 466, 469) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006