We love to guzzle our sports drinks. But are we working out enough to justify all that sugar and salt? Recovery drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are super popular, and consumption is on an upward trend.

Last year, per person consumption around the world was 1.8 litres. Food and drink consulting company Zenith International estimates that will rise to 2.3 litres per person by 2012.

Momentum is driven by the idea that sports drinks are healthy. A typical 12-oz. bottle of sports drink contains approximately 75 calories, 21 grams of sugar and 165 mg of sodium. That is about half the calories, half the sugar and twice the sodium of a cola drink. But sports drinks are designed for recovery from intense exercise, especially in very hot weather. They may not be so great to drink if you’re not physically active.

North Americans are the biggest consumers of sports drinks, accounting for 48 per cent of the global market. Asia Pacific is the second largest region by volume, with Japan and China accounting for 70 per cent of this. Eastern Europe and the Middle East are emerging as the fastest-growing new super-consumers of sports drinks.

Recent innovations include low calorie options, drinks specifically marketed to active children and dairy-based recovery drinks.

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