Drink water to avoid the sugar found in many sports...

Drink water to avoid the sugar found in many sports drinks. Credit: Kidsday staff artist / Neeya Sheety, Melville

I play softball and I’ve noticed that everyone brings sports drinks instead of water to our games and practices. I started thinking that these popular sports drinks must have a lot of sugar, so I decided to research the amounts in the sports drinks that my teammates and I drink.

A Vitamin Water has 13 grams of sugar, Blue Gatorade has 19.2 grams, a Gatorade Rain Drink has 21, and in Powerade there are about 22 grams of sugar. (Every 4 grams equal one teaspoon of granulated sugar.) Even though these amounts are less than what’s in soda, it is still a lot, especially for something that people sometimes think of as a healthy drink.

Because of all of this sugar, so many kids are obese. Obesity can lead to kids not liking their bodies, and that can lead to bullying or depression. It can also lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, health experts say.

Studies have even shown that some sports drinks contain other chemicals that can hurt children. In one report, in the medical Journal of Pediatrics, doctors warn that energy drinks can cause kids to suffer heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.

It is normal for kids to have sugar once in a while, but kids should drink more water because it hydrates you, it quenches thirst quickly, and being honest . . . it tastes amazing. So kids — put down that sports drink and grab a water bottle instead.

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