A Sport Drink Debate

WATER My grandfather always says to stick with the originals. And I always listen to my grandfather. The result: an


My grandfather always says to stick with the originals. And I always listen to my grandfather. The result: an unswerving devotion to the grandaddy of all sports drinks--water.

The crisp, cool refreshing taste and feel of agua is preferable to any chemical-infested imitator. What did cavemen drink? They drank water. (And maybe, during droughts, some pee.) What's on the table during presidential debates? Gatorade? Powerade? No-good-old H-2-0. Get it in the sink with tap, get it in France with Evian. Get it purified with Aquafina, get it in the U.S. with Poland Spring. Even Dannon, the yogurt company, bottles water.

On the playing field, get away from the sweet stuff and stick with my grandpa's original. --M.M. Park


A secret among hardcore athletes and sports nutritionists, Rolling Rock beer has gained an underground following. This sports drink's alcohol content, according to one Olympic-hopeful, "gives a numbing buzz. It dulls the pain. Rolling Rock saved me 5.2 seconds on my last 6K." A crisp, cold beer tastes great and the carbonation sitting in the gut acts like a secret reserve of air. When you're going anaerobic, let rip a belch, and you'll catch your breath lickedy split! Admittedly, the dehydrating effect of beer may hinder performance, according to laboratory tests. Experts recommend washing down an "RR"--the sports codename given to the beverage--with water, straight up or on the rocks. --F.M. Timeus


Taste is good. Very good. SO YOU'VE just finished a four-minute mile--you want taste. In the middle of a 5-hour LSAT--what do you crave? Taste, baby, taste! For taste in replenishing refreshment, turn to Gatorade.

The folks at Gatorade struck gold in the late 1980s when they invented the "sports drink"--essentially water, flavoring, a dolop of electrolytes and whacky coloring. Soon, nearly every major sport had Gatorade coolers on the sidelines. And then, with Michael Jordan jumping aboard, just about every athlete wanted to be like Mike and sweat orange bullets.

Nowadays, with all sorts of other imitators competing on the market, Gatorade has lost a bit of the market share. New bottles, like the popular sports cap, and new flavors, including the controversial Frost Series, have kept the product fresh and refreshing. And, as ever, tasty. --A.R. Cohen