What's Actually In A Generic Sports Drink

The good, the bad and the ugly. Here's what's actually in a sports drink.

3 Min Read

Sadly, many top sports drink makers get it all wrong. While they do include a few important elements, they also add many ingredients just to make things visually appealing and tastier. Plus, they ignore many important components altogether.


Most people, athletes included, already consume excess dietary sodium. Not from adding too much salt to their meals, but rather from consuming processed foods. Salt is a universal ingredient found in anything from potato crisps to chocolate bars and, yes, even sports drinks. Although sodium is important, too much is harmful. Sodium supplementation during exercise does not contribute to enhanced athletic performance or improved thermoregulation. A balanced mineral source with the right amount of Sodium is more effective.


It’s true, when exercising your body does need fuel, and sugar is a great energy source. However, most sports drinks deceptively overload on sugar and confuse consumers through labelling. Labels state the amount of sugar, per serving, not per bottle. The trick here is that most sports drinks contain multiple servings per bottle. So unless you’re careful and calculated, you might be consuming a lot more sugar than you think.


Most manufacturers simply ignore this vital element. Magnesium is essential for muscle, nerve and heart function, to name a few. Its role in energy production is undeniable and, in my experience, it’s one of the most important minerals. If any mineral deserves to be included in a sports drink, it’s magnesium.

Other Trace Minerals & Elements

When you sweat, your body loses more than just Sodium. You sweat out over 70+ essential minerals including calcium, chloride, and potassium. All of these play an important role in your body and, as such, need to be replaced adequately.

The best hydration products should be low calorie, low in sodium, high in magnesium, and contain a balance of trace minerals that, together, not only support hydration and thermogenesis but recovery and overall health as well.