Q: "I go to the gym regularly. Do I need a sports drink during and/or after my work-out?"
Celia, via email
A: Nutritionist Rose Carr says:
"Probably not. If your workout is less than an hour long, or longer but low intensity, there’s little to be gained from drinking a sports drink over plain water from the tap. The 4 to 8 per cent of carbohydrate in a sports drink helps water absorption in the gut, and the sodium improves flavour and water absorption, as well as stimulating thirst so you drink more. Sports drinks are great for endurance sports or high-intensity work-outs.
Losing body water can cause headaches and affect concentration, so it’s important to get enough water. If you’re not sure how much fluid you need, there are two ways to monitor this. One is to check the colour of your urine: if it’s pale or almost clear, you’re getting enough fluid. However, if your urine is darker, you need more fluid. You can also weigh yourself before and after a work-out.
Losing one kilo during exercise is equivalent to losing nearly one litre of fluid through sweating."