Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jathtrainLink to Publisher's site
J Athl Train. 1992; 27(2): 173-174, 176.
PMCID: PMC1317152

A Look at the Components and Effectiveness of Sports Drinks

Jennifer Smith, ATC, LAT, Athletic Trainer


The confusion about sports drinks is lessened if the types are understood. Types include: fluid replacers, carbohydrate loaders, and nutrient supplements. The athletic activity and the timing of the consumption of the drink need to complement the type of drink. Fluid replacement is a must before, during, and after activity to maintain heart rate and body temperature. Whether water or a sports drink is consumed is the athlete's choice. The carbohydrate concentration of a fluid-replacing drink should not exceed 10%, which is comparable to the gastric emptying characteristics of water. Glucose, sucrose, and glucose polymers are all well tolerated by athletes during activity, although fructose in high concentrations may not be. Electrolytes are present in drinks to enhance absorption; high levels usually are not needed, except in certain populations.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (697K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Costill DL, Saltin B. Factors limiting gastric emptying during rest and exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1974 Nov;37(5):679–683. [PubMed]
  • Flynn MG, Costill DL, Hawley JA, Fink WJ, Neufer PD, Fielding RA, Sleeper MD. Influence of selected carbohydrate drinks on cycling performance and glycogen use. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1987 Feb;19(1):37–40. [PubMed]
  • Foster C, Costill DL, Fink WJ. Gastric emptying characteristics of glucose and glucose polymer solutions. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1980 May;51(2):299–305. [PubMed]
  • Ivy JL, Costill DL, Fink WJ, Lower RW. Influence of caffeine and carbohydrate feedings on endurance performance. Med Sci Sports. 1979 Spring;11(1):6–11. [PubMed]
  • Ivy JL, Miller W, Dover V, Goodyear LG, Sherman WM, Farrell S, Williams H. Endurance improved by ingestion of a glucose polymer supplement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983;15(6):466–471. [PubMed]
  • Mitchell JB, Costill DL, Houmard JA, Flynn MG, Fink WJ, Beltz JD. Effects of carbohydrate ingestion on gastric emptying and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1988 Apr;20(2):110–115. [PubMed]
  • Murray R. The effects of consuming carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages on gastric emptying and fluid absorption during and following exercise. Sports Med. 1987 Sep-Oct;4(5):322–351. [PubMed]
  • Seiple RS, Vivian VM, Fox EL, Bartels RL. Gastric-emptying characteristics of two glucose polymer-electrolyte solutions. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983;15(5):366–369. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association