The truth about sports drinks

  • Date: 07 March 2017
  • Category: News
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In 2014 YMCA Victoria announced its Healthy Food and Beverage Policy, a move which would see the elimination of soft drink from all YMCA managed recreation facilities 12 months later.

As an organisation that enables healthier and happier communities, selling soft drinks was contradictory. Considering 47% of Australian children drink a sugar-sweetened beverage a day and one in nine Victorian adults drink a soft drink every day, by selling soft drinks we were only contributing to the problem.

To ensure YMCA Victoria offers our customers the healthiest of options when they visit our centres, the removal of sugar-sweetened sports drinks is next on our list.

Sugar-sweetened sports drinks are marketed to us as a refreshing and hydrating alternative that will aid recovery more effectively than water. The fact is, unless you’re an elite athlete doing high intensity training for 90+ minutes, sports drinks don’t help aid recovery. In fact, they are detrimental!

Sugar-sweetened sports drinks contain artificial colours and flavours and on average contain nine teaspoons of sugar per bottle. That’s one and a half times the World Health Organisation’s daily limit for added sugar![1] The energy boost you may feel afterwards is just a sugar high.

But what about the electrolytes? While sports drinks do contain electrolytes, this is mostly sodium chloride, or table salt.  Most of us already consume too much salt, and sports drinks just add to the excess in our diet.  The other electrolyte found in sports drinks is potassium, which can be found in almost all vegetables and fruit. Putting it simply, a bottle of water and a banana is more than enough to keep you energised and hydrated, and at a fraction of the price. Plus it’s super healthy!


Stay tuned for more updates on our plans to remove sugar-sweetened sports drinks from our fridge shelves.

You can read more about our position for putting health first here.