The Effects of Children Drinking Propel Water

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Propel can help to replenish water and electrolytes when kids play hard. (Image: hwahl/iStock/Getty Images)

Propel is a flavored water drink that contains electrolytes. While the initial version contained sugar as well, the only version available in 2011, Propel Zero, is calorie-free. As a parent, you may wonder about whether Propel is a smart drink to give to your children. Some families or youth teams even supply Propel to kids during exercise. Before you run out to the the grocery store, you should consider these important points about giving Propel to kids.

Sweating

The phenomenon sweating describes the release of fluids and electrolytes when your body uses energy. According to the elite athlete website ultracycling.com, when a person is exercising vigorously, the body releases a substantial amount of sodium and potassium in sweat. Hard exercise for long periods of time uses up the body's stores of calories, water and electrolytes, and it becomes necessary to replace those stores by taking in water, calories and salts. Propel is one option for replacing water and salts during exercise.

Propel Composition

While the initial version of Propel contained 3 g of carbohydrates per serving, as of 2011 PepsiCo has replaced original Propel with Propel Zero. This new version of the drink contains no carbohydrates or calories, although it does come with more sodium than the original version. There are now 80 mg of sodium included versus 20 mg in original Propel. It also contains 20 mg of potassium where original Propel provided zero. This is a substantial increase, but Propel still contains fewer electrolytes than other sports drinks on the market.

Benefits for Kids

In 2011 the American Academy of Pediatrics discouraged routine use of sports drinks by kids mainly because of an increased amount of calories compared with water. With its new zero-calorie formula, Propel Zero will not lead to excessive calorie intake even if your child drinks it while he is not exercising. In fact, Propel Zero has a sweetened taste that may encourage your child to drink more water without adding empty calories. This taste comes from the ingredient sucralose, a sugar derivative that has been tested and found to be safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Drawbacks for Kids

Parents should be aware that some nutrition experts believe that sucralose can lead to adverse health effects like migraines or upset stomach. If you are planning to use it as a sports drink, it is important to remember that the new Propel Zero formula contains no calories and may not be suitable for children or adults who are exercising strenuously and will need calories during their activity. Finally, Propel Zero should not be used to rehydrate a child who is ill from vomiting or diarrhea because, according to MayoClinic.com, she should be given fluids that contain sugar.

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