Scientists Warn: Don’t Waste Your Money On Health Bars and Sports Drinks

Posted: August 25, 2009 in food, health, nutrition, Nutrition Tidbits, physical therapy, Sports Medicine, Uncategorized, Weight Loss
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By Catherine Lewis, AHJ Editor — Published: August 24, 2009

Many health clubs today have sports bars and offer so-called health drinks for patrons, and there is a vast variety of health drinks on the market. It’s true: after working out, you need to replenish the moisture and energy that left your body. But while it is tempting to replace those things with a sports drink or bar that is supposed to re-hydrate you and provide proper post-exercise nutrition . . . do you really need it? Scientists are saying that for the average person, the answer is no. Keep reading to find out more about what you really need to re-hydrate and refuel.

Exercise is important to your health because it can lower your insulin levels, keep your weight in check, decrease your cholesterol and blood pressure, and generally keep your ticker healthy. If you do not exercise, you cannot expect to receive any of these benefits. And, when you are done with your work-out, you need to refuel.

But what type of “fuel” should you be getting?

These days, professional athletes have found a receptive audience (and have supplemented their bank accounts) by endorsing a number of sports drinks and sports bars.  

The truth of the matter is that most of the so-called health drinks are high in sugar as well as refined carbohydrates. Consuming them can have an adverse effect not only you’re your inner body, but on the muscles as well. It may even lead to injury of the muscles and joint.

Many sports drinks and bars are little more than processed foods laced with chemicals. They are not real food. More and more people are becoming aware of the fact that they will be healthier if they avoid processed foods altogether. However, many are deceived by the labels on health drinks and sports drinks that promise vitamins as well as hydration. They do not take the time to read the label to see that they are filled with chemicals and artificial colors and flavors.  

What You Should be Eating and Drinking
If your workouts are moderately intense, or if you workout for an extended period of time, you should have a mixture of protein and carbohydrates post-exercise. This will help you retain the effects of your exercise routine. Instead of eating energy bars, which are often full of chemicals and preservatives, you should eat foods that will give you a nice balance of protein and carbs. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Whole-grain bagel (or English muffin, toast) with cheese or peanut butter
  • Organic dried fruit and nuts (make your own trail mix)
  • Greek yogurt with fruit
  • Turkey, ham, or roast beef sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Eggs and whole-grain toast
  • Veggie omelet with toast
  • Smoothie made with protein powder and fruit

Your next big meal should consist of any lean protein (lean beef, chicken, pork, fish, veggie burger, egg) with carbohydrate (brown rice, potatoes (sweet potatoes would be better) , whole-grain pasta) and lots of vegetables.

When it comes to rehydrating your body, skip those sugar-laden sports drinks and drink water instead. Water hydrates you, lifts your energy level and has no calories. Best of all, purified water does not contain any chemicals. Water is simply the best all-natural source of hydration you should seek out when you are looking for a way to hydrate yourself after your workouts.

Of course, the above advice is for individuals who workout on a regular basis, and maintain a moderate to intense level of exercise. If you consider a leisurely walk around the block “exercise,” you don’t need anything more than water as a post-workout fuel.

Get Strong! Stay Strong!



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