Health risk warning to 1 in 5 Britons guzzling high-calorie sports drinks at their desks.A fifth said they drank sports drinks in the office to help them recover from hangovers

Thirst quenching: Sports drinks are high in calories to give exercisers an energy boost

Millions are putting their health at risk by slurping on sports drinks in the office, a study claims.

The energy-boosting drinks are formulated for people doing high-impact exercise.

A 500ml bottle contains around 150 calories, which takes an average adult 20 minutes to burn via a brisk jog.

Most also contain high levels of caffeine that have been linked to both heart problems and behavioural disorders.

The only people who should drink the isotonic drinks
are ‘active individuals performing endurance exercise,’ according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Yet a survey by The National Hydration Council found 11million adults in the UK – including a quarter of men – have them at their desks.

One in five of the 2,000 people questioned for the survey admitted they had the drinks when feeling ‘tired’, while 18 per cent used them as a hangover cure.

In 2010 Britons spent 260million on 160million litres of sports drinks.

Yet the study also revealed nearly 80 per cent of respondents forget to drink vital liquids before taking part in exercise.

A further 60 per cent don’t remember to consider their hydration levels at all after exercise and almost 30 per cent aren’t packing water in their sports bag.

Worried: Dr Paul Gately said too many people are consuming sports drinks for the wrong reasons

When asked what was most essential for
exercise, ‘water’ sat at the bottom of the priority list ranked below
‘nice sportswear’ and ‘specialist trainers’.

Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University, Dr Paul Gately, said: ‘The consumption levels and situations in which people are consuming these sports drinks are worrying.

‘These products are designed for highly-active sportspeople undertaking regular high-intensity training and performance exercise lasting for more than 45 minutes.

‘What’s even more concerning is that this insight is paired with people not drinking enough water or at the right times.’