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Are Sports Drinks Good For You?

Are Sports Drinks Good For You
Sports Drinks and Health – Research has shown benefit of sports drinks in adult athletes (though not conclusive as some studies show no benefit), but research in children is lacking. Children sweat at highly variable rates, so it is more difficult to establish an amount of exercise time that the drinks may be useful.

However, with monitoring by coaches or parents, providing these drinks to children and adolescents who are exercising vigorously for more than 60 minutes may help to prevent dehydration. For children who are engaged in routine or play-based physical activity, these drinks are usually unnecessary. Estimates show that sports drinks comprise about 26% of total sugar-sweetened beverage intake in adolescents.

Sports drinks contain less sugar than soda and energy drinks, but still contain simple sugars. For example, a nutritional comparison shows that a 12-ounce cola drink contains about 39 grams of sugar, compared with 21 grams of sugar in a popular sports drinks.

A study following more than 4,100 females and 3,400 males for 7 years as part of the Growing Up Today Study II found that the more frequently sports beverages were consumed, the greater the association with an increased body mass index leading to overweight/obesity, especially in boys. The authors cited endorsements of the drinks by sports celebrities as a strong influencer in young male athletes. The drinks may also be perceived as healthy because they are allowed to be sold in schools and sporting events, so may be consumed in excess.

Can sports drinks be healthy?

– When you exercise, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water is the most logical form of hydration. However, sports drinks like Gatorade contain sugar and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Sports drinks can help replace what we lose during longer duration exercise, especially in the heat.

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Electrolytes and carbohydrates help athletes refuel and rehydrate. This is what makes sports drinks popular. Electrolytes help regulate the body’s fluid balance while the carbs provide energy. Gatorade claims their product hydrates better than water because of these additional ingredients.

Some research backs their claims. A report from the University of California at Berkeley says that sports drinks might be better than water for children and athletes who engage in prolonged, vigorous physical activity for more than one hour, especially in hot conditions. However, you should note that people exercising for less than 60 to 90 minutes may not need Gatorade to maintain or improve performance.

So, what about use of sports drinks for the average person?

Is sports drinks better than water?

How long will the activity last? – If practice or competition lasts less than one hour, water is the best choice to stay hydrated. If the activity will last longer than one hour or is very intense, a sports drink will help your child stay hydrated, but it will also provide something that water cannot – fuel for his or her working muscles.

Can I drink sports drink everyday?

Sports Drinks and Health – Research has shown benefit of sports drinks in adult athletes (though not conclusive as some studies show no benefit), but research in children is lacking. Children sweat at highly variable rates, so it is more difficult to establish an amount of exercise time that the drinks may be useful.

  • However, with monitoring by coaches or parents, providing these drinks to children and adolescents who are exercising vigorously for more than 60 minutes may help to prevent dehydration.
  • For children who are engaged in routine or play-based physical activity, these drinks are usually unnecessary.
  • Estimates show that sports drinks comprise about 26% of total sugar-sweetened beverage intake in adolescents.

Sports drinks contain less sugar than soda and energy drinks, but still contain simple sugars. For example, a nutritional comparison shows that a 12-ounce cola drink contains about 39 grams of sugar, compared with 21 grams of sugar in a popular sports drinks.

A study following more than 4,100 females and 3,400 males for 7 years as part of the Growing Up Today Study II found that the more frequently sports beverages were consumed, the greater the association with an increased body mass index leading to overweight/obesity, especially in boys. The authors cited endorsements of the drinks by sports celebrities as a strong influencer in young male athletes. The drinks may also be perceived as healthy because they are allowed to be sold in schools and sporting events, so may be consumed in excess.

Do athletes actually drink Gatorade?

Gatorade, the popular performance drink found at sporting events the world over for decades, loves to market its humble beginnings. What began as a simple mission back in 1965 to create a sports drink capable of replacing essential fluids has since become an American beverage behemoth that currently dominates 75 percent of market share in the sports-drink category.

  • Now owned by PepsiCo, Gatorade enlists a star-studded roster of professional athletes to promote its various products, many of which transcend traditional hydration.
  • And yet, for all the commercials, testimonials and game-winning baths at the Super Bowl, Gatorade remains controversial.
  • The drink that once consisted of a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate and lemon juice now includes far more unpronounceable elements, and loads of added sugar.

So is this iconic drink actually helpful in the heat of competition? Is it even healthy? And who, if anyone, should drink Gatorade to boost performance? Like many things in this world, the answer is complicated. Let’s start with its basic ingredients (for the sake of clarity, we’ll be talking about Gatorade Original Thirst Quencher ).

According to the company’s website, Gatorade is made up of water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic and glycerol ester of rosin, along with flavorings. Some elements, like dextrose, are sugars that fall under the carbohydrate umbrella, providing a quick source of energy when your body needs it most.

Others, like sodium and citrate, are electrolytes that help your muscles contract — a necessary task when exercising. And others still (those ingredients you can’t quite pronounce) acts as coloring agents, thickeners and flavoring. By and large, the ingredients found in Gatorade aren’t unhealthy when consumed as a means of fueling your body during exercise.

The sodium helps your body maintain fluids, and the drink’s calories can help replace expended energy. But it should be noted that, not unlike other processed drinks, Gatorade’s calories come almost entirely from sugar. A single 20-ounce bottle contains 34 grams of sweet stuff — that nearly matches the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 36 grams per day.

But if it’s the sugar you’re worried about, consider the intensity and duration of your workouts when deciding if you need Gatorade to help you refuel. Adults exercising for prolonged periods of time (greater than 60 minutes) or those performing HIIT workouts stand to benefit from all that sugar, but adults who exercise less or at a lower intensity can simply stick with water.

Consider drinking it on extremely hot days, or as a treat, if for some reason you find yourself craving Gatorade. And if you’re drinking it casually, just stop — that’s weird. It should also be noted that kids don’t need Gatorade, which might explain why the brand uses suggestive marketing campaigns that specifically target children with major success (remember the “Be Like Mike” commercial ?).

In fact, a 2018 study in Pediatrics found that 57 percent of adolescents drank a sports drink at least once in the previous week, while almost 14 percent drank a sports drink daily. Kids, by and large, make Gatorade all its money, but rarely benefit from the drink’s ingredients.

  • As for professional athletes, it’s likely a matter of preference.
  • Some pros stick with water, others drink Gatorade and then there are those like Chris Paul that drink “secret stuff,” which is nothing more than a customized concoction of fluids to maintain performance.
  • Just because you see a lightning bolt-emblazoned bottle on the sideline at the big game doesn’t mean it’s filled with Gatorade.
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If you really need to drink something other than water, consider swapping the Original Thirst Quencher with a different type of Gatorade. There’s Gatorade Fierce, which contains more B vitamins; Gatorade G2, which includes less sugar; and even Gatorade X-Factor, which, for whatever reason, combines multiple flavors while also adding vitamin E.

Is Gatorade really better than water?

It hydrates you – This myth comes from a study funded by Gatorade that found people who drank their product were better hydrated than if they drank water—but only because they drank more fluids. If you drank the same volume of water versus Gatorade, you’d be equally hydrated.

  • This is not to say, though, that Gatorade didn’t have a point.
  • It is well documented that people drink more when the beverage tastes good!” says Dominique Adair, a registered dietician and member of the American Council on Exercise’s Scientific Advisory Panel.
  • So just the fact that these beverages are more palatable for some people than water might encourage people to drink more.” Lots of people are used to drinking non-water beverages, and to them water might taste boring or even bad.

If you’re one of those people, maybe drinking a flavored beverage would encourage you to drink more during and after your workout—and that’s a good thing. Depending on how much you sweat, you need to replenish your body’s supply of water (though keep in mind that food also contains water, and that the eight-glasses-a-day thing is more complicated than you might think ).

  1. That said, a 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade or Powerade contains 21 grams of sugar, which is about as much as two Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or half a can of soda.
  2. So just keep in mind that along with that water comes a lot of sugar, which spike your blood glucose levels and can contribute to developing metabolic issues like type 2 diabetes.

A typical bottle of Gatorade contains more than half of an adult’s recommended daily sugar intake.

Is Gatorade better than soda?

What Should You Drink? – The question of what you should drink really comes down to the sport or fitness event you’re participating in and the duration of the activity. For most people, deciding between Gatorade vs. water is an easy choice: Go with water.

  • That said, since athletes often need sugar and electrolytes, Gatorade is preferred over soda as its easily digested and replenishes electrolytes while supplying energy.
  • However, for most people that are not performing endurance activities for an extended period of time, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says most, if not all, of your hydration needs, will be satisfied with water.

They point out that sports drinks should only be consumed by athletes that are engaged in a moderate-to high-intensity exercise that lasts longer than an hour. Water is also a better choice when it comes to calories and sugar content. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, consuming excess sugar and calories from sports drinks and soda can lead to an increase in obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and gout, according to Harvard T.H.

Are sports drinks worth it?

They May Affect Weight Loss – For those trying to maintain or lose weight, another important factor to consider is energy balance, or the balance between the number of calories you consume and burn. If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories in a day than you consume,

  • If sports drinks are unnecessary for the type of exercise you do, consuming them provides you with unnecessary calories that could hinder your weight loss goals.
  • However, some research has shown that consuming sports drinks during exercises like running do not “undo” the calories used during exercise ( 16 ).

For example, a 150-pound (68-kg) person may burn about 240 calories when jogging for 30 minutes ( 17 ). Consuming 12 fluid ounces (355 ml) of a common sports drink may provide about 20 grams of carbs and only 80 calories. However, it’s important to realize that some activities may not burn many calories, even if they feel difficult.

For example, weight training may only burn around 120 calories in a 30-minute session if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kg) ( 18 ). Think about whether the type and duration of the exercise you do requires a sports drink and be aware of how many calories you consume from these beverages. Summary Although sports drinks can improve the performance of athletes during several types of exercise, they are probably unnecessary for most people.

If you choose to drink these beverages, it is important not to overconsume them.

When should you use a sports drink?

When to Consume Sports and Electrolyte Drinks – Sports and electrolyte drinks often seem like the perfect way to quench your thirst when working out, but according to Dr. Nish, there’s a very limited group of people who should be drinking them. The recommendation is adults and children should only have sports drinks during extended and heavy exercise that lasts longer than an hour.

“Water, water and water should be the beverage of choice for hydration before, during and after physical activity or exercise routines lasting less than one hour,” Dr. Nish says. He says two hours before intense exercise, it’s best to drink 16 ounces of water, not a sports drink. After prolonged and strenuous activity, rehydration should mainly be done with water, if the athlete has been consuming sports drinks during the actual event.

However, eight to 16 ounces of a sports drink would not be unreasonable following an intense and long workout.

How much is too much sports drink?

The Risks of Drinking Too Many Electrolyte Replacement Drinks By Nina Hauptman Updated December 07, 2018 Electrolyte replacement drinks, also called sports beverages, are high in calories and sugar, and are best consumed in moderation. In addition, these drinks are only beneficial for athletes who participate in intense sports or endurance activities such as marathon running.

  1. The average person doesn’t need sports beverages, and the University of Illinois Extension only recommends them for exercise that lasts beyond 60 to 90 minutes.
  2. Sports drinks may contain about 158 calories per 20-ounce bottle.
  3. These extra calories can quickly lead to weight gain, particularly if you aren’t performing vigorous exercise to burn them off.

For every 3,500 calories that you consume but don’t burn for energy, you gain about 1 pound of body weight. By drinking three bottles of sports drinks per day on top of your normal diet, you could gain nearly 1 pound per week. Diet versions can help you avoid the extra calories; however, artificially sweetened beverages are also linked to weight gain, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Electrolyte beverages tend to be high in added sugar, which provides calories but no nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams per day of added sugar, while men get no more than 37.5 grams per day. Just one 20-ounce bottle of sports drink may contain about 32 grams of sugar, exceeding the daily limit for women and nearing the daily cap for men.

Sodium is an electrolyte that’s often included in sports drinks. Each bottle may contain 238 milligrams of sodium, which is more than 10 percent of the recommended daily limit of 2,300 milligrams per day. The average American exceeds this amount in their normal diets, and drinking sports beverages only leads to a greater excess.

  • High sodium levels may cause high blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease and stroke.
  • For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that most people reduce their sodium intake.
  • Water, not a sports drink, is the best choice for most people who are not engaging in high-intensity exercise.
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During endurance activities, however, sports drinks may actually be healthier because your body needs the extra calories and sugar for energy, and the sodium to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance. Some electrolyte beverages, such as coconut water, don’t contain enough sodium for vigorous activities, so choose drinks specially formulated to meet the needs of athletes.

  1. References Writer Bio Nina K.
  2. Is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications.
  3. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.

: The Risks of Drinking Too Many Electrolyte Replacement Drinks

Why might sports drinks be unhealthy?

Is There Such a Thing as a Healthy Sports Drink? Preventing dehydration is key when you or your children are exercising, playing sports or hanging out in the summer heat. Drinking enough plain water and eating a balanced diet is typically sufficient to replenish fluids and electrolytes lost during less vigorous activities, such as routine outdoor playtime for children or from shorter bouts (less than an hour) of lively activity, such as playing sports or running.

Since the invention of the original sports drink, these beverages were promoted as a healthy way to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes during and after sports. Over the years, the consumption of sports drinks by everyone from marathon runners to couch potatoes has become increasingly common, regardless of the consumer’s activity level.

While sports drinks have a place in preventing or treating dehydration in certain situations, viewing them as healthy can be misleading. The added sugar and sodium in sports drinks may help you recover when you really need it but can also set you up for weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure or other medical issues when consumed excessively or without the calorie burn or sweating to offset it.

How do you know if sports drinks are necessary?

Practical applications –

Before exercise

Sports drinks may be useful before an event to fine tune fluid and fuel (carbohydrate) intake. The carbohydrate in sports drinks can increase carbohydrate availability, while the added sodium may reduce urine losses before exercise begins.

During exercise

Sports drinks are primarily designed for use during exercise lasting more than 90 minutes by providing optimal fluid and fuel delivery. Sports drinks may allow athletes to perform for longer and more effectively in training and competition by providing energy to working muscles and the brain.

Recovery

Sports drinks can help meet nutrition recovery goals by replacing fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat and helping to replenish glycogen stores. If there is limited time between training sessions or competition, drinks with higher sodium content may promote more effective rehydration.

Do electrolytes hydrate you faster than water?

6 Drinks with Electrolytes for Better Hydration It’s important to stay hydrated everyday, because it improves your cognition, mood and overall health. Our body’s natural signal that it’s time to drink something is the sensation of thirst. Many people drink plain water to alleviate their thirst, but water lacks important ion charged molecules that keep us hydrated: electrolytes.

Electrolytes are the key to absorbing water in the body. When mixed with fluid, they produce an electrical charge that helps our body regulate important functions. They keep our muscles, nerves and cells charged, so they can keep our fluid in balance and maintain optimum performance. Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Phosphorus are all electrolytes our bodies use often.

Keeping our greatly improves our body’s ability to remain hydrated throughout the day. However, we lose electrolytes whenever we sweat. Diarrhea and vomiting also deplete electrolytes. This means various situations can cause you to lose electrolytes such as working out, days spent in the sun, stressful situations, illness, eating disorders or reactions to medication.

  1. Fortunately, you can improve your health by regularly replenishing your electrolytes.
  2. One way to do this is to drink plain water with meals and snacks, which often contain electrolytes.
  3. Another way is to consume drinks with electrolytes rather than just plain water.
  4. Drinking beverages that contain electrolytes can both and it can keep you feeling hydrated longer than plain water.

Here are a variety of healthy drinks that you can use to maintain electrolyte balance and optimum hydration. A highly nutritious drink, milk contains a variety of electrolytes as well as other important nutrients often found in food rather than drinks.

It contains sodium and calcium as well as protein, fat and small amounts of sugar. The balance of nutrients in milk helps your body continue to absorb liquid over a long time. In comparison, plain water gets flushed quickly from your body in the form of urine. Therefore milk supplies your body with hydrating fluid for a longer time than plain water.

The same goes for hydration tablets (see below).

Nutrients: Sugar, Fat, Protein, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iodine and Vitamins B2 and B12 Drawbacks: Avoid milk if you are lactose intolerant.

Hydration tablets contain ingredients that help your body absorb fluid, such as our Rapid Hydration Maximizer (coming soon). RHM contains the perfect balance of electrolytes along with zinc and a small amount of sugar. These ingredients help your body rehydrate faster than plain water.

  • The difference in time relates to how your body absorbs fluid.
  • When it has these additional ingredients, fluid can be absorbed directly from your small intestine, while plain water takes a much longer path through the large intestine before entering your bloodstream.
  • The benefit to electrolyte tablets is the convenience and taste.

You can easily drop them in a glass of plain water, wait for them to dissolve and then achieve optimal hydration without seeking out special supplemental foods or drinks. They are easy to carry with you throughout the day and they have a delicious flavor designed to make water more enjoyable.

Nutrients: Check the label. Drawbacks: Check the label for added preservatives or artificial flavors.

Gatorade and other popular sports drinks contain the right balance of electrolytes for your body, but they also have a high quantity of sugar. The problem with their level of sugar is that our bodies actually use more water to break down sugars. Instead of hydrating our body, some of the water we consume gets reserved to aid digestion.

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Nutrients: Check the label. Drawbacks: Can contain excess sugar. Comes with artificial flavors and colors.

When you crack open a young, green coconut, you’ll find a thin layer of coconut meat and a clear liquid that looks a lot like water. This liquid, known as, contains a variety of electrolytes (sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and low sugar levels, making it a healthy alternative to water for refreshment.

Nutrients: Fiber, Protein, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Calcium Drawbacks: Costly compared to plain water.

This electrolyte drink is specifically formulated for people struggling with hydration due to illness. Compared to sports drinks it has a low sugar content and it contains higher amounts of electrolytes than typical electrolyte tablets. Used as a drink for sensitive individuals recovering from a variety of conditions, it doesn’t promise a delicious flavor.

Nutrients: Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Zinc Drawbacks: Unappealing flavor.

When you choose drinks to keep you hydrated, make sure they don’t contain high amounts of the following ingredients. You might assume diet sodas or other processed drinks may be better for hydration due to their lower levels of sugar. However, the artificial sweeteners they contain, such as aspartame, neotame or stevia extract, can be harmful as well.

Instead of curbing the craving for sweets, they actually enhance our craving because they confuse our brain into expecting the energy boost that comes with a sweet taste, but they don’t satisfy this need. This sweetener is found in many processed drinks. Made from processed cornstarch, it contains a high quantity of fructose that is difficult for our bodies to digest.

It is associated with a number of risks including weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer. If you want to stay hydrated, avoid caffeine, which is a diuretic causing your kidneys to flush liquid from your body and urinate more often. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic.

It is also difficult for your body to digest. Read more about the effects of alcohol on our hydration levels, Fill our refillable with your favorite hydrating electrolyte-rich drink. They come with a straw and lid to prevent spills. Keep one within reach, whether you’re chilling out and watching Netflix or chasing a toddler around the living room.

: 6 Drinks with Electrolytes for Better Hydration

Do sports drinks give you energy?

Sports Drinks – Sports drinks may be helpful for teens who:

do vigorous physical activity lasting longer than an hour, such as long-distance running and biking play high-intensity sports, such as soccer, basketball, or hockey

These drinks contain carbohydrates (sugar), which can provide an immediate source of energy at a time when the body’s stores are used up. Sports drinks also have electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which the body loses through sweat. These keep the body’s fluid levels in balance and help muscles work properly.

Are sports drinks a healthy fluid replacement?

– Sports drinks are very popular among athletes and recreational exercisers, but it’s debated whether they’re any better than plain water. The main components of sports drinks are water, carbs and electrolytes. Research supports their benefits in athletes and those performing long or intense exercise.

  1. The recommended amount varies based on the type of exercise.
  2. However, most active individuals in the general population do not exercise intensely enough or long enough to need sports drinks.
  3. Additionally, many beverages can hydrate your body just as effectively as sports drinks, including plain water.

If you choose to use sports drinks, be aware of their calorie contents. Overall, sports drinks can benefit very active individuals and athletes, but they are not necessary for most people.

Are sports drinks healthier than energy drinks?

Try your hand at reading an energy drink label. Click the energy drink bottle below. – Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are typically safer than energy drinks, but it’s still important to examine the ingredient list closely. Make sure to review the label for the sugar, carbohydrate, and electrolyte content. Also, keep in mind that if you’re not exercising for more than an hour, you probably don’t need a sports drink to recover properly.

Can energy drinks be healthy?

Does a healthy energy drink exist? Author: Topics: September 11, 2019 Are Sports Drinks Good For You For health-conscious people in need of an energy boost to get through the day, the new wave of healthy energy drinks may be a tempting option. However, there’s no definition of “healthy” on food labels, so buyer beware. Here’s what you should know about energy drinks.

What makes an energy drink unhealthy? The most concerning part of energy drinks is the high sugar and caffeine content. For optimal health, the World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugar to 5% of daily calories, which is 25 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. The average energy drink contains that much sugar and more in a single serving.

Furthermore, because this excess added sugar is in liquid form, it rapidly promotes weight gain and significant surges of insulin in order to keep blood sugar stable. Over time, repeated consumption of excess added sugar (especially added sugar in liquid form) promotes metabolic disruption – pre-diabetes and/or type 2 diabetes.

  • The recommended limit for daily caffeine intake for adults is 400mg, and the caffeine content of energy drinks can be more than 250 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
  • A person could easily exceed the recommended daily limit when consuming energy drinks.
  • Caffeine overdose is fairly rare, but can potentially be deadly.

In addition to the sugar and caffeine, energy drinks can contain other additives with potential health risks.

B vitamins – usually harmless, but B-6 can have toxicity symptoms above 80mg if taken daily for an extended period of time Guarana – another source of caffeine Taurine and Glucuronolcatone – frequent ingredients in energy drinks, but appear to be harmless from what we know at this time

What about drinks that claim to be healthy? There is no industry standard for “healthy,” so many energy drinks that claim to be healthy can still pose health risks. Drinks with less sugar are better, but some of the so-called “healthy” choices still contain added sugar – it’s just organic cane sugar or honey rather than glucose or high fructose corn syrup.

  1. Again, excessive added sugar is detrimental, particularly in liquid form.
  2. Even when the “healthy” choices avoid added sugars, they often still contain artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, stevia or monk fruit extract – all of which can cause adverse side effects for some people.
  3. If you’re unsure about the safety of a drink’s ingredients, either do some research or consult your doctor or dietitian.

What’s a good alternative? The best way to stay energized is to stay hydrated and to eat healthy food.

Inadequate hydration leads to fatigue, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Don’t replace food with sugar and caffeine to get through the day. We get our energy from food, so start your day with a balanced, low-sugar breakfast. Eat on a regular, consistent schedule throughout the day. We need to refuel about every 4 hours until dinner time. Instead of energy drinks, I recommend tea (black, green, white), black coffee or yerba mate tea.

Lori Chong is a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.