Isotonic drink: what is it? What are the benefits and when to consume it?

The hydration of our body is essential when we practice physical activities of high intensity or very prolonged, as excessive sweating causes the loss of fluid and minerals, which can harm health.

Therefore, there are ways to make this replacement and ensure that the body does not run out of essential nutrients for its proper functioning, the isotonic drink being one of them.

Water is the main and most suitable liquid to balance and hydrate the human body, but there are other options. See in the course of the article what it is and what the benefits of these drinks are!


What is isotonic drink?

The isotonic drink is widely consumed by sportsmen to replace some important nutrients for the body. Also known as sports drinks, they are composed of water, vitamins , minerals such as sodium and potassium, in addition to fast-absorbing carbohydrates .

All of these components contribute to sports performance, as they help in the process of body rehydration and in the replacement of electrolytes and carbohydrates, that is, they give energy.

The term isotonic refers to the ionic concentration of a liquid in relation to the blood. Thus, isotonic drinks have a better ability to replace liquids, surpassing coconut water, for example.

See, below, the nutritional composition of isotonic drinks:

– Water: moisturizes the body and controls the temperature;

– Sucrose and glucose: are sugars used by the body to produce energy;

– Sodium and potassium: mineral salts that help the body to retain fluids and maintain the biochemical balance of cells.

What is it for?

With different flavors and easily found, the consumption of these products has become more common over the years in Brazil.

In addition, a survey conducted in 2019 by the Brazilian Association of the Soft Drink and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Industry (ABIR) pointed out that Brazilians consumed more than 120 million liters of isotonics that year.

But do you know what isotonic drink is for? It is considered a hydroelectrolytic repository, that is, it provides water and electrolytes eliminated in sweat.

According to information from Anvisa (National Health Surveillance Agency), isotonics are special-purpose foods classified as supplements for athletes to aid body hydration.

Thus, isotonic drinks are consumed by people who perform intense and long-lasting physical activity, with the aim of improving performance avoiding muscle fatigue . Therefore, consumption must be fairly regulated.

Therefore, the ideal is to be consumed only by people who perform physical activities for more than an hour, at least. This is the case for individuals who perform marathons, cycling and aerobic exercises.

In addition, they can be consumed by people who have suffered dehydration caused by severe diarrhea. However, it is worth mentioning that isotonics do not replace serum, they only help when the problem is not considered serious. Therefore, a doctor should always be consulted in severe cases of dehydration.

How to make homemade isotonic?

However, it is also possible to prepare a homemade isotonic. Below is a recipe for a drink that can be prepared at home with few ingredients.

· 1 liter of mineral water

· 1 tablespoon of baking soda

· 1 tablespoon of iodized sea salt

· 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey

· Juice of 2 lemons or oranges

To prepare, just mix all the ingredients and drink ice cream.

Is it bad to take isotonic?

It depends. Too much can hurt and put on weight, especially for those who do not perform physical activity. The recommendation is to consume isotonic drinks before exercise in small amounts: from 200 ml to 400 ml.

It can be bad for those who have kidney problems because of potassium. These people have difficulty filtering this nutrient and can have complications. Hypertensive individuals ( high blood pressure ) should consume in moderation due to the presence of sodium, which raises blood pressure even more.

Sports drinks are full of vitamins and minerals, but most also contain a lot of sugar. Long-term consumption can lead to problems such as diabetes , hypertension and weight gain.

Thus, another problem pointed out by excessive consumption is the increase in cavities. These products are usually full of sugar and sodium, which can stick to your teeth and corrode the protective enamel.

Isotonics usually, by having an acidic composition, demineralize the enamel. Therefore, its continuous use can cause an imbalance of PH and removing mineral ions from the teeth.

What is the best isotonic?

There are several different brands available on the market, however, it is known that there is not a big difference in the effectiveness of the main isotonic drinks available for purchase.

However, when buying it is important to read the labels and choose that isotonic drink that has less artificial colors, sweeteners, syrups. Here is a tip: choose the lighter shades, which indicates less dye and with more natural ingredients.

Whenever possible, prepare homemade options or buy minimally processed isotonic drinks.


The main benefit of the isotonic drink is to promote hydration in those who lose fluids through sweat when performing physical exercises. However, its consumption may offer other advantages. We can highlight some:

– Avoid cramps, which are localized muscle spasms . They occur due to lack of hydration and lack of sodium – which is an important electrolyte for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and fluid balance in the body.

– Reduction of fatigue by giving more energy with the replacement of minerals;

– Improves sports performance;

– Improves blood glucose;

– Replenishes minerals lost during physical activity.

Isotonic drink can be important after high intensity physical activities, to replenish nutrients.

When to take?

Isotonic drinks should be consumed by athletes before and after physical activities or marathons to replenish nutrients and keep hydration up to date.

People who suffer from diarrhea can also drink to replenish minerals lost by eliminating excess feces, but they should never forget to see a specialist to indicate the appropriate treatment.

Can everyone drink isotonic?

No. Isotonic drinks are recommended during and after physical activity, especially for athletes. Isotonics should be consumed in controlled situations, according to the amount of exercise and individual needs.

Consumption should be avoided by those who do not exercise, as it can put on weight due to the amount of carbohydrates. For those trying to maintain or lose weight, drinking isotonic drinks is not recommended – or should be quite moderate. That’s because they provide unnecessary calories that can impair the goal of losing weight.

To give you an idea, according to the Brazilian Food Composition Table at USP (University of São Paulo), in 240 ml of the drink there are about 61 kcal and 15.4 g of carbohydrates.

In addition, people with heart failure, high blood pressure and kidney disease should not take it without medical advice. Children should also not drink these drinks. Isotonics contain sodium and potassium in large quantities. And for these groups these nutrients are risky for the body and can compromise health.

Thus, even though sports drinks are considered beneficial to improve the performance of athletes, their consumption does not bring great benefits to most people. Therefore, consumption should be limited and with medical and nutritional guidance. Whenever possible, replace isotonic drinks with water, coconut water and unsweetened natural juices.