A sports-related study’s findings recently presented at the UK’s Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health’s annual conference may have you re-thinking what you’re putting into your on-deck hydration bottle.
In the first randomized, blinded, controlled trial of its kind, researchers led by Dr. Graham Briars, Consultant Pediatric Gastroenterology at the Jerry Lind Children’s Hospital, specifically studied sports drinks’ effects on swimmers across multiple workouts. Their findings? Drinking sports drinks prior to competition rendered no benefit in performance in non-elite athletes.
Within the study conducted over 12 separate 75-minute swims, swimmers aged between 11 and 17 drank either sport drinks, water, or no drinks at all after which they performed 10 x 100m maximum effort freestyle sprints at 3 minute intervals.
Using electronic timing equipment, data was gathered and analyzed from 1118 swims. The following summarizes the findings:
- Sprint times were overall .027 seconds faster after not drinking anything than after drinking
- Times clocked after drinking water were .151 seconds faster than times clocked after drinking sports drink
- “Drinking sports drink or water over 105 minutes of sustained effort swimming (typically 3,300 to 4,200m) has no benefit on swimming performance in a non-elite athlete population.”
As a result of the study’s findings, researchers concluded that “sports drinks can be considered as sugar sweetened beverages.”