Sports Nutrition Market Research Reports & Industry Analysis

Sports nutrition drinks are divided into three major categories: Hypotonic, which contain relatively low concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars; Isotonic, which contain mid-level concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars; and Hypertonic: which contain high concentrations of electrolytes (salts) and sugars.

These different levels of sugar and salts serve different restorative needs. Though the categories are not defined by any exact proportions, it is commonly considered that isotonic drinks contain between 6% and 8% carbohydrates, so hypertonic would be above 6%-8%, while hypotonic drinks would be below those levels. This gets to the paradox about sports drinks. Although the basic science behind them is irrefutable, the vast majority of consumers aren’t taking sports drinks as a medicinal response to the effect of heat related illness.

Nonetheless, one of the keys to sports drink marketing is that, unlike the health claims of some other beverages, the basic science is irrefutable. The components of sports drinks (electrolytes, water and carbohydrates) are essential for hydration during strenuous exercise. Without hydration, two potentially fatal heat related conditions—heatstroke and severe hyponatremia—can result. Sports drinks have been demonstrated to be highly beneficial both in the prevention of heatstroke and hyponatremia, and as a component in treatment of those conditions. Medical websites such as that of the Mayo Clinic specifically recommend sports drinks for this purpose.

The modern sports drink traces back to the playing fields of the University of Florida. In 1965, Gators Football coach Ray Graves appealed to the University’s medical department for help with the team’s poor performance, which he attributed to practicing in the stifling summer heat of Gainesville. This request led to the development of a beverage formulated with a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate and lemon juice. This drink became known as “Gatorade,” and eventually evolved in a powerhouse consumer brand.

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Sports Nutrition Industry Research & Market Reports

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