It’s not a question of orange juice or water versus replenishing drinks anymore. No, for both athletes and gym-see regulars nowadays it’s about sports drinks over energy drinks and vice versa. There are many differences between them, although people often mistake one for another. But they each contain particular ingredients and serve different purposes.
Gatorade was the first sports drink ever invented. It was created in 1965 and consisted of water, sugar, several electrolytes or minerals, and lemon juice, which was added later to improve flavor. The recipe has since changed with various other ingredients added to the initial mix, and along the years many other sports drinks were launched, some better, some worse than Gatorade.
The role of sports drinks is to hydrate athletes and provide the body with essential nutrients that are depleted through sweating during strenuous exercise. Thus, sports drinks will contain electrolytes like sodium, magnesium and potassium, minerals that balance water levels in the body and maintain fluids at a proper level.
Sports drinks will also contain sugar or a form of sugar to provide carbohydrates during practice, which the body can transform into energy. Some sports drinks may also contain protein and vitamins, but in sports drinks, it’s the electrolytes and the carbohydrates that are important. These are the two main types of ingredients used to make the drinks.
The first energy drink was introduced five years before Gatorade, but it didn’t come from the States. It came from a Japanese company named Taisho Pharmaceuticals. They launched it in 1960.
As opposed to Gatorade which was invented to help football players replenish during games, Lipovitan was created to increase energy in employees that worked nights. Red Bull was invented much later, in 1987, but by then Lipovitan had already made it across Asia and into Europe and the U.S., becoming a pioneer product.
Lipovitan, the world’s first energy drink, contained different vitamins and also taurine and niacin that worked to boost metabolism through improved energy levels and a better ability to concentrate and maintain focus. Red Bull added caffeine and sugar to the mix, creating a new version and establishing a major difference between sports drinks and energy drinks – caffeine, which prevails in the latter to other ingredients.
How sports drinks differ from energy drinks in terms of providing energy
While both sports drinks and energy drinks provide energy, the difference between them lies in the way they provide it.
You could say sports drinks are “food” for muscle while energy drinks are “food” for the brain. More specifically, the first feed hard working muscles and provide nutrients that sustain energy levels for longer periods of time.
The latter, containing higher levels of caffeine – the predominant ingredient, stimulates the brain and the central nervous system, thus feeding the brain, so energy drinks only provide short-term energy. Caffeine is a natural stimulant, but it has a temporary effect, and it provides a form of pseudo-energy than an actual form of energy. The brain basically tricks the body into believing it can perform at higher levels so you may feel very energetic even though you are not actually supplied with a form of energy.
If you had to choose between sports drinks and energy drinks, which would it be?