Sports Drinks Linked to Weight Gain in Teens

Yikes — researchers now say the association between sports drinks and weight gain is larger than sugary drinks and weight gain
Staff Writer

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The link between weight gain and sports drinks is alarming.

Sugary drinks and soda have taken over the headlines (thanks to the New York City soda ban), but their "healthy" counterpart, sports drinks, have been lurking in the background. Now, our fears about sports drinks have been confirmed: new research shows that the link between obesity and sports drinks is growing. 

When Harvard researchers studied 11,000 kids between the ages of 9 and 15 for two years, they found that for every soda consumed each day, they gained 2 pounds in that time interval. If they drank two sodas per day, they gained 4 pounds over the two years. But it was the weight gain kids experienced from sports drinks that has everyone concerned; those who drank a sports drink every day gained 3.5 pounds in two years. Say what now? 

"Sports drinks have an even stronger relationship than sugared sodas with weight gain," said Harvard researcher Dr. Alison Field to the American Heart Association. "I was surprised by that. I would have expected the weight gain to be comparable."

A possible reason for the association, Field said, was the labels on sports drinks — and the larger sizes. Kids often drink the 20-ounce or 32-ounce bottle in one sitting, not realizing that they're ingesting up to 200 calories all at once. Field said that sports drinks should be a part of a healthy lifestyle, a lifestyle filled with lots of activity and exercise, but that's not what's happening. "... They really don't need to be used by kids unless they are continually exercising for long periods or they're in hot climates. I'm a marathon runner, and even I don't consume 32 ounces of a sports drink when I'm running 26 miles," she said. 

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