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News / April 30, 2015

Beware of hidden sugars in sports drinks, says IDA

by Guy Hiscott

Athletes should become more aware of the hidden sugars in sports drinks, says the new Irish Dental Association (IDA) president Dr Anne Twomey.

Speaking at the IDA annual conference in Cork this month, Dr Twomey noted that while sports enthusiasts are aware of the notion of a healthy diet and the importance of hydration, many are unaware that sports drinks and protein shakes also have very high sugar content.

A survey of athletes at the 2012 London Olympics by a team from University College London found that athletes had worse dental health than other people of a similar age.

Of the 302 athletes examined form 25 sports, 55% had evidence of cavities, 45% had tooth erosion and 76% had gum disease.

Dr Twomey continued: ‘Sports drinks, protein shakes, energy drinks, energy bars and fruit juices can contain anything from five to a dozen teaspoons of sugar.’

Dr Twomey added that the IDA would be making contact with the Irish Sports Council and its member bodies such as the FAI, GAA and IRFU to try and ‘work together’ on the issue.