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Energy Drinks vs Sports Drinks – What’s the Difference?

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Both sports drinks and energy drinks have enormous popularity in Australia, with over 1.5 million Australians buying one or the other. Powerade, Red Bull, Mother, Monster and Gatorade are all household names, often seen at any sporting event or in an office fridge. However, many people treat sports and energy drinks as interchangeable, when they actually have very different ingredients and effects on the body.

cans of red bull

To highlight the differences between energy drinks and sports drinks, we’ll compare the ingredients of Red Bull and Powerade.

The energy drink that started the trend, Red Bull, contains B vitamins, taurine, carbohydrates (sucrose and glucose) and most importantly, caffeine. Powerade similarly contains carbohydrates and B vitamins, but with sodium and several sources of electrolytes: mono-potassium phosphate, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride.

We can see that the key difference between energy drinks and sports drinks is that an energy drink such as Red Bull contains a significant quantity of caffeine (32mg per 100mL), while electrolytes are the defining characteristic of Powerade and similar sports drinks. But what effect do these ingredients have on the body?

The caffeine in energy drinks provide a surge in mental energy and alertness, which is why they are often used much like coffee to sharpen the mind and stave off fatigue. However, while energy drinks do contain some carbohydrates, they are not well-suited to physical activity, as the caffeine rush may lead exercisers to push past their physical boundaries, potentially leading to injury.

Sports drinks are the much better option for exercise. The electrolytes they contain feed muscles to keep them working at peak performance, and replace chemicals lost during strenuous activity. However, while tasty, sports drinks aren’t required to fuel everyday activities, so they’re best saved for prolonged periods of exercise.

Taken in moderation, sports and energy drinks can be a helpful and delicious addition to your week.

As more and more people come to understand the difference between sports and energy drinks, companies would do well to add both ranges to their shelves. Statis Beverages provide wholesale distribution of a huge variety of non-alcoholic drinks to businesses in and around Brisbane. Whether you own a store, cafe or other business, we have the solution for you.

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