A new study on 15,000 eighth- and 11th-graders attending Texas middle schools and high schools has found that sports drinks marketed as healthy alternatives to sodas contribute just as much to obesity as sugary sodas do.
A total of 22% of the boys and 17% of the girls were obese and about 28 percent reported drinking at least three or more sugar sweetened sports drinks or sodas each day.
Sports drinks contain less sugars than sodas do, but can still account for 15 percent of calories a teen takes in a typical day.
Sports drinks such as Gatorade that contain little more than water, high fructose corn syrup, and some potassium and magnesium, are marketed by superstar athletes and claim to be able to restore electrolytes after strenuous physical exercise, but experts say just plain water is all that is needed to rehydrate a casual athlete.
The American Beverage Association has not responded to the study by health experts on their marketing tactics and claims of sports drinks being a healthy alternative.