Sports drinks can be subdivided into three different groups: hypotonic, hypertonic and isotonic sports drinks. The duration and intensity of your training will determine which drink is best suited to your needs. All sports drinks have in common that they will help you rehydrate. They all have a different carbohydrate and electrolyte (sodium, potassium…) content however.
As a result, the osmotic pressure of a hypotonic sports drink is lower than that of human blood. It is therefore also taken up better and more quickly by the body. It is a thirst-quencher first and foremost but does not deliver a lot of energy in the form of carbohydrates. An example of a hypotonic sports drink is water, which usually comes in bottles with a blue cap.
- < 4 g carbohydrates per 100ml
- For efforts of < 1 hour
A isotonic drink generally has about the same osmotic pressure as human blood, which means is it is taken up by the body quickly, spending less time in the stomach. It quenches thirst and supplies energy to the body. These drinks often have a green cap. Examples include aquarius®, Isostar® and AA Isotone®.
- 4-8 g carbohydrates per 100 ml
- During efforts > 1 hour in moderate to hot weather
A hypertonic drink (energy drink) is more concentrated and has greater osmotic pressure than human blood. As a result, this drink is absorbed more slowly than water. This drink remains in the stomach longer and can cause stomach and intestinal complaints, especially in hot weather or in case of a very intense effort. As a result, thirst-quenching is a secondary effect.
These drinks are primarily intended to supply energy. Hypertonic beverages usually have an orange cap, like extran energy® and AA high energy®. You’ll find that lemonades and fruit juices are also hypertonic.
- > 8 g carbohydrates per 100ml
- During efforts > 1 hour in cold weather or after sports