Brazilian researchers found that players who took small amounts of a sports drink every 15 minutes during a 75-minute soccer game lost less body mass and completed more sprints than players who drank no fluids during play.
The carbohodyrate group drank a 6 per cent carbohydrate-electrolyte solution.
The researchers from the University of Sao Paulo conclude in the December issue of the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (3, pp198-202) that this "indicates that supplementation with a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink during a soccer match is beneficial in helping to prevent deterioration in performance".
The findings support the growing sports beverage industry, much of which is made up of carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks.
Drinks consultancy Zenith International recently reported that western Europe's sports drink market broke the €1,000 million barrier in 2003, with volumes up 27 per cent to 477 million litres.