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Are Energy Drinks Really Healthy Snacks for Athletes?

By Cliff Smith

Finding the best healthy snacks for athletes can be quite a balancing act.  There are so many priorities to consider when determining what to put into your body during training.  From calorie counting to protein intake and from essential fats to vitamins, keeping your body in tip-top performance condition requires more than simply working out several times a week.  Even something as simple as hydration can provide very real concerns for an athlete.  For example, can energy drinks be considered as truly healthy snacks for athletes?

The fact of the matter is that you first have to determine what constitutes an energy drink.  In today’s vocabulary, there are tons of sugary, caffeine-enhanced beverages on the market that are marketed under the name “energy drinks.”  These may rely totally on refined sugar and chemical stimulants to give you a false energy boost.  Just a quick look at the label with high concentrations of things like sucrose, glucose, and sucralose should be enough to let you know that these are not healthy snacks for athletes.

Some others are a little trickier, though.  Some companies advertise that their energy drinks create a boost through natural ingredients like ginseng or guarana.  While these might seem like reasonably healthy snacks for athletes, a review of the ingredients will likely show that most of the so-called energy drink is really made up of sugar and other refined and overly processed ingredients.

In order to find energy drinks that truly do qualify as healthy snacks for athletes, it can be helpful to take a more “natural” approach.  Keeping in mind the healthy balance that your body needs, you can find beverages that not only fulfill your nutritional needs but that also avoid many of the pitfalls of the other type of energy drinks.

For example, those drinks that are all full of sugar and caffeine will often leave you feeling completely bloated, which is certainly not conducive to any type of vigorous exercise.  Perhaps even worse, those drinks offer a quick jolt of energy, followed by a debilitating sugar “crash.”  The end result is worse than if you hadn’t ingested it at all.

To choose healthy snacks for athletes, search for energy drinks with natural ingredients.  Rather than simply perking you up for a while, these drinks actually help replenish what is lost during workouts and other athletic activities.  Some healthy energy drinks incorporate electrolytes, for example, to replace those lost due to exercise.  Many formulations use Stevia or other natural sweeteners to help keep the blood sugar level even, rather than causing it to spike and then crash. 

Another reason that these types of energy drinks make healthy snacks for athletes is because they are concentrated.  To get the same amount of nutritional wallop, one would have to eat a very large meal.  Instead, you can enjoy a healthy energy drink and get back to your workout or game, knowing that you’ve done something that will benefit and enhance your overall performance, rather than weighing you down both literally and figuratively.

Author Cliff SmithAuthor Profile - Cliff Smith is a serious mountain biker who has covered thousands of miles of rugged terrain throughout the western hemisphere.  He is also co-owner of besthealthfoodstore.net, an online health food store specializing in concentrated energy drinks and healthy snacks for athletes not sold in typical retail stores.

Click for more information:

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