Top 3 Things That Need to Be in Your Sports Drink (And One That Doesn’t)

You see them littering store shelves across the country. They come in blue, orange, purple, red… Pretty much any color you can imagine.

Sports drinks, as they are commonly called, have been used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts for decades in order to support their goals. As time has passed, sports drinks have changed. Some are better and some are worse.

Here are the top 3 things you need in your sports drink and one thing that you can do without. 


  1. Taurine

While it’s not an essential part of a sports drink, it can certainly be helpful. Many sports drinks are now putting taurine in their formula due to its reported benefits with exercise and longevity. One study from Japan has celebrated Taurine as a nutrient that contributes to a long and healthy life. Add that to the fact that you’ll find it in most workout formulas and you can see why you’d want this in your sports drink. (1)

  1. Electrolytes

This is the reason you buy a sports drink. Electrolytes are comprised of numerous minerals that are essential within the body. Electrolytes strengthen and fortify the electrical highway in your body that transmits information and signals. Every single movement you make requires the use of electrolytes. When you exercise or play sports, you are sweating out your electrolytes, making the need to replenish them absolutely critical. Sports drinks should have a high amount of sodium, potassium, and chloride.

  1. Glucose

Glucose is a simple form of sugar. While it may get a bad rep for spoiling your weight loss, glucose in a sports drink plays the important role in providing your cells with energy. As you exercise or perform at an athletic event, your body is burning through glucose.

If you’ve ever “hit the wall” during exercise, this is a telltale sign that you’re out of fuel. By drinking a sports drink with glucose, you are providing your cells with a simple sugar that can be immediately utilized. Don’t be so weary of 30 to 40 grams in one bottle, especially if you have sports practice for hours on end or if you are involved with extreme intensity exercise.


  1. Artificial Flavors, Colors, and Preservatives

Regardless of where you stand on the natural foods movement, if there’s one thing you don’t need, it’s to be bombarded with fake additives. Your body needs all the support it can get while performing. That’s the point of a sports drink. Gulping down artificial (and potentially harmful) additives such as flavoring, coloring, and preservatives isn’t doing much to help you.

Seek out a sports drink with a “less is more” approach. If all else fails, then you can make your own. It’s quick, simple, and cost effective.

Check out this link for an easy DYI recipe.


Tell Us What You Think!

Do you make your own electrolyte-based sports drink?

Share your recipe in the comments section!



  1. Yamori Y, Liu L, Mori M, et al. Taurine as the nutritional factor for the longevity of the Japanese revealed by a world-wide epidemiological survey. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2009;643:13-25.

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