Water vs. Soft Drinks for Hydration


Question: I read a study not too long ago that determined soft drinks were as good as water for maintaining hydration. I don’t like the taste of water all that much so could I just drink Gatorade and soft drinks to stay hydrated?

Answer: Sure, if you believe that study and before you say the results don’t lie you need to consider who sponsored the study- it was a soft drink consortium. Certainly the results were going to be favorable for soft drinks.

When fully hydrated our bodies are approximately 68% water. When you drink anything other than water your organs are required to filter out the additives and leave the water inside.

For example, when you drink a soft drink, specifically a cola, here’s what happens:

  • Within the first ten minutes your blood sugar spikes as your body deals with 39 grams of sugar. However, that doesn’t match up with the calories listed on the label of a 12 ounce soda because it is listed as 140 calories and there are 4 calories per gram of sugar. 39 grams x 4 calories = 156 calories. The overwhelming sweetness of all that sugar should induce vomiting but the phosphoric acid cuts the flavor. Read the label it’s in there.
  • Within twenty minutes after drinking the soda, your blood sugar levels have spiked up signaling your pancreas to release insulin to get the sugar levels lower and you liver begins the process of turning available sugar into fat.
  • 40 minutes after drinking the soda your body has absorbed the caffeine, your pupils dilate and your blood pressure rises slightly so your liver dumps sugar into your body again. Adenosine receptors are blocked to prevent sleepiness.
  • Within 45 minutes dopamine production is up which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. This is similar to the way heroin works.
  • In 60 minutes the phosphoric acid binds to calcium, magnesium and zinc in the lower intestine. This along with the high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners binds to more calcium insuring that it will be urinated out. The diuretic properties of the caffeine cause you to have to urinate the water in your lower intestine along with the minerals.
  • Now you begin to experience a sugar crash and crave another sugar rush and reach for another soda.

None of these reactions occur when you drink water and the reason you don’t care much for the taste of water is that your taste buds have been twisted by the consistent consumption of sweeteners both real and artificial so frequently that it is what they crave.

You can break the addiction to sugar but it’s not comfortable to go through. If you do though, your body will appreciate pure water and the healthy effects it has in your body.

God bless and keep training,