What's Better: Water or Energy drinks in the Heat?

June 12, 2008

COLUMBUS, Ga.  (WXTX) -- Many people who are exercising or working in the heat grab anything from Powerade, energy drinks, and plain old water to quench their thirst. But which one is better for you?

"I'm a big water drinker.  I never drink gatorade or powerade.  I stick to water because it has no calories.  I drink water all day long," said Marla Caligaris.

"I normally drink water because it's the only thing I really want in the heat.  The other drinks have to much sugar for me.  I just stick to water," said Contruction Worker Russell Glass.

"Water is good, but Gatorade is a lot better to me because of the electrolytes you gain," said Columbus Lions Football Player Mike Radon.

Columbus Medical Center Physician Frank Saucier says the natural choice for hydration is water. However, if you work outside everyday you may want to make a different selection.  "If you know you are going to be doing a lot of sweating drinks like Powerade or Gatorade are a better choice.  That's because they have some glucose in them and salts that will help replace things you may lose in your sweat," said Saucier.

Saucier tell us you may want to think twice before you sip on another energy drink as well.  "The energy drinks have a lot of caffeine.  They can dehydrate you.  You don't want to do that to yourself.  My best advice is to avoid them all together," said Saucier.

If you have to be out in the heat all day you need to wear light colored clothing, put on your sunscreen, drink plenty of fluids prior to going out in the heat and take frequent breaks.