Sports drinks are a health risk according to research

Regular consumption of sports drinks carries a high risk to health, dental experts are claiming, with as many as 9 in 10 children drinking sports drinks.
Cardiff University surveyed 160 children from four South Wales schools, all between the ages of 12 and 14 years. A staggering 89.4 per cent of them said they drink sports drinks, with 50 per cent consuming them at least twice a week.
Worryingly, half of the teenagers said they drank the drinks socially, rather than during physical activity – only 18 per cent said they drink sports drinks to improve their sporting performance.
The researchers say that these numbers are so high due to parents not realising they contain so much sugar, and that because the drinks also have a sweet taste, cheap price, and high availability, they are popular choices among children.
“This research is incredibly worrying, to have such a large amount of children choosing these drinks when they have no nutritional benefit whatsoever is a health ticking time bomb,” said Dr Ben Atkins, of the Oral Health Foundation.
“The public are far too unaware of the dangers of sports drinks to our oral health and this all stems from a lack of knowledge on what is ‘healthy’ and what isn’t.
“Drinking sports drinks has become the social norm and this should most definitely not be the case, children absolutely should not have these drinks, they are designed for sporting professionals to aid performance. There is even strong evidence that their use by professional athletes contributes to high levels of tooth decay.”
Paul Jackson, president of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM), said: “Sports drinks are intended for athletes taking part in endurance and intense sporting events. They are also connected with tooth decay in athletes and should be used following the advice of dental and healthcare teams dedicated to looking after athletes.
“Water or milk is sufficient enough to hydrate active children. High-sugar sports drinks are unnecessary for children and most adults.”
The FSEM is calling for an increased regulation over aspects such as the availability, price and marketing of sports drinks.

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