Here's What Happens If You Drink Sports Drinks Every Day

If you're someone who likes to work out hard, you've likely grabbed a sports drink at some point either during or after your exercise routine. But what do sports drinks really consist of, and is it safe for you to drink them every day?

Sports drinks are designed to help you replenish the glucose, fluids, and electrolytes lost during a workout, and they're most effective after an hour or more of high-intensity exercise. Some sports drinks may also contain B vitamins, which are known to increase energy (via Harvard School of Public Health).

However, the research on just how beneficial sports drinks are has shown mixed results. Sports drinks can indeed help with quick hydration, but if consumed too frequently, the downsides could literally outweigh the benefits, especially in children and adolescents. A 7-year study revealed that the more frequently both male and female participants consumed sports drinks, the greater the risk of obesity. Obesity, in turn, has the potential to cause serious medical problems, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Healthier alternatives to sports drinks

According to Healthline, while sports drinks will help keep you hydrated, if you're not an athlete or someone who regularly engages in a rigorous fitness regimen, there are better ways to consider staying hydrated. Drinking water is always a great choice, and because water is the main component in most sports drinks anyway, it is debatable as to whether sports drinks will provide better hydration than water.

Additionally, your standard glass of cow's milk is also a great option for hydration after a workout in lieu of a sports drink. A study published in the European Journal of Sport Science declared milk to be "uniquely suitable as a post-exercise recovery drink in many exercise scenarios." But if milk isn't your thing, or if you're craving something sweet, a serving of fresh-squeezed orange juice can give you a great post-workout energy boost. Just as with many sports drinks, orange juice contains carbohydrates, but orange juice has the added benefit of vitamin C, which you may not find in most sports drinks (via Men's Journal).

When it's time to replenish your body, you have plenty of options to choose from aside from sports drinks. If you exercise every day, consider consuming sports drinks only on your more intense workout days, and mix in these suggested alternatives after lower impact workouts in order to achieve optimal results.