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Drinking GoodSport

3 min read time


The Single Most Critical Ingredient in Electrolyte Drinks for Hydration

Question:  What is the single most important ingredient needed in electrolyte drinks to ensure optimal hydration?

  1. Electrolytes
  2. Vitamins
  3. Carbohydrates
  4. None of the above.

Answer:  d. None of the above!

The correct answer is WATER.  

Did you hear us?!!  The most critical component of any hydrator is water, because water is essential for virtually every physiological and metabolic function in the body.  Our bodies can’t run without it.

The goal of any hydrator (sports drink or a mix) is to make sure you a) get fluid into your body quickly and b) keep it there as long as possible.

So, if water is the single most important molecule for hydration - then what’s the big deal about sports drinks and hydration mixes?  Why not drink just plain water?

To that we say, GOOD question!

A well formulated sports drink or hydration mix will contain electrolytes (at a minimum, both sodium and potassium at proper levels) and two different types of carbohydrates.

Consuming electrolytes and carbohydrates with fluid, especially during vigorous physical activity, has repeatedly been shown to improve hydration and exercise performance compared to ingesting plain water. Electrolytes act like a sponge to help keep the ingested water in the bloodstream and muscle cells where it is needed, and carbohydrates stimulate rapid fluid absorption (to help you hydrate quickly) and supply energy to muscles and the brain.

Drinking only plain water has been shown to result in drinking less and urinating more because water turns off the stimulus of thirst and turns on urine production. Plain water doesn’t have the carbohydrates and electrolytes your body needs to absorb the fluid quickly and hold onto it.  

When you work out, you lose water and electrolytes in your sweat.  Staying well hydrated is the single most important step you can take to prevent dehydration and improve performance. A properly formulated sports drink such as GoodSport® encourages fluid consumption, speeds absorption, delivers performance-enhancing carbohydrates to muscles and the brain, and stimulates whole-body hydration.  It’s the most efficient way to keep you on your game.

  • Dmitrieva NI, Gagarin A, Liu D, Wu CO, Boehm M. Middle-age high normal serum sodium as a risk factor for accelerated biological aging, chronic diseases, and premature mortality. EBioMedicine. 2022:1-13.
  • Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press; 2005.
  • Perrier ET, Armstrong LE, Bottin JH et al. Hydration for health hypothesis: a narrative review of supporting evidence. Eur J Nutr. 2020;60(3):1167-1180.