Sport drinks provide fluid, energy, and electrolytes and possibly other nutrients such as protein, amino acids, calcium, magnesium, B-complex vitamins, and antioxidants. The energy in sport drinks is provided largely in the form of carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, maltodextrins, and glucose polymers. Maltodextrins and glucose polymers are mostly cornstarch that is partially broken down. Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides, whereas corn syrup is derived from cornstarch, which has been partially broken down to short, branching chains of glucose. Maltodextrin is just a few glucose molecules linked together with a branching point. Glucose polymers may just be short chains of glucose. Carbohydrates usually make up about 6 to 8 percent of the sport drink. Recently protein and amino acids have been formulated into sports drinks with research suggesting better hydration, performance, and recovery. Time will tell whether these ingredients provide more benefit and are tolerated well.
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