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Gatorade & Powerade vs. Pedialyte - Which is the Healthiest?

James is a current freelance writer. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Southern New Hampshire University in English & Creative Writing.


Gatorade's nutritional facts & health analysis

In the orange flavored Gatorade sports drink, there is water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, natural flavor, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosin and yellow 6. For one small 12 fl oz. (355 mL) mini bottle, there is 21 grams of sugar per bottle, 80 calories, 0 grams of fat, 160 milligrams of sodium, 45 milligrams of potassium, 22 grams of total carbohydrates and 0 grams of protein. If an individual looks close on the label, he or she will see where it reads, "Proven Hydration With Electrolytes." How would anyone know for sure if this drink is actually worth having when combined with so much sugar? I'll admit, I drank this sports drink all the time growing up playing in youth sports leagues, lifting weights as a teenager and while working as a cart-pusher at Wal-Mart outside in 100-degree heat. Although sugary, Gatorade is an excellent sports drink to quench your thirst. I would personally recommend individuals to drink only one serving before or after a workout in a single day.

DO NOT drink the full 32 fl oz. bottles in a single day, if you can help it. In one full 32 fl oz. container, there is about 56 grams of sugar! If you're a diabetic or hypoglycemic, this is a huge no-no. Sugar will not only make you tired after a short burst of energy, it can may even put you on the toilet. Individuals could argue that the G2 Gatorade has less sugar and fewer calories, but G2 contains various artificial dyes more so than the regular Gatorade drinks. The ingredients found in G2 Gatorade includes sucrose, water, dextrose, natural flavor, salt, citric acid, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, yellow 5, glycerol ester of rosin, brominated vegetable oil and yellow 6. An individual can even tell the difference in taste between G2 and the original drinks. The G2 Gatorade tastes sweeter and yet, there is less sugar in these drinks. Gatorade is fine to drink but try to consume these sports drinks in moderation.


Powerade's nutritional facts & health analysis

In Powerade's mountain berry blast sports drink, there is 130 calories per 20 fl oz. bottle (1.25 PT), 250 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of total carbohydrates, 34 grams of sugar, and various vitamins and minerals. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, there is 50% of a person's daily value for niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Although the Gatorade drinks do not contain B vitamins, Powerade drinks do not have a lot of potassium and they are still sugary. Only 2% of a person's daily value of potassium is found in Powerade drinks. Additionally, Powerade consists of water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, salt, magnesium chloride, monopotassium phosphate, calcium chloride, natural flavors, modified food starch, calcium disodium EDTA, Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), sucrose acetate isobutyrate, vitamin B3, vitamin B12 vitamin B6 and blue 1.

Not to mention, according to CocaCola's Product Facts, the Powerade drinks even contain GMOs from genetically engineered crops. It is up to the public to research GMOs and decide for themselves on whether or not genetically modified crops and foods may bother you, if consumed on a weekly basis. Research studies at accredited universities have shown mixed results overall on genetically modified ingredients. For me personally, I love Powerade's mountain berry blast flavor. I have never had any known negative symptoms after consuming Powerade drinks. Like Gatorade drinks altogether, moderation is the key. If you're thirsty, drink them by all means. Grape, lemon lime, tropical mango and orange are other tasty flavors.


Pedialyte's nutritional facts & health analysis

From Abbott Nutrition, in the 12 fl oz. (360 mL) of Pedialyte, there is 25 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of protein, 370 milligrams of sodium, 9 grams of total carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar and 9 grams of added sugar totaling 18 grams, 280 milligrams of potassium, 2.8 milligrams of zinc and 440 milligrams of chloride. There is 1,380 milligrams of sodium in the entire 1.1 quart-size (1 liter) container! In Pedialyte, there is water, dextrose, citric acid, natural & artificial flavor, potassium citrate, salt, sodium citrate, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, zinc gluconate, and yellow 6. Pedialyte can be used as not only a sports drink, but as an excellent drink to stay hydrated when dealing with a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, heat exhaustion and other issues. I enjoyed drinking the cherry punch flavor when I was sick at home with the flu. Gatorade was still a good option at the time, but Pedialyte was like that special candy given to little kids at the doctor's office. You just had a feeling that it would work better after everything was said and done.

For infants under one year of age, it is highly recommended for consumers to first consult a doctor. Unlike Gatorade and Powerade, Pedialyte drinks contain preactive prebiotics. I personally love drinking all of the different flavors. Berry frost, strawberry and cherry are my favorite flavors. Now, the Advanced Care Pedialyte drinks contain 33% more electrolytes. The Advanced Care drinks contain 60 mEq sodium electrolytes per liter whereas the original Pedialyte drinks contain 45 mEq. One downside to Pedialyte products is that yes, they are a little bit more expensive than Powerade and Gatorade sports drinks. These drinks are special though. Again, unlike Powerade and Gatorade, Pedialyte can be found in the pharmacy of grocery stores or on the baby product aisles.


Which is the healthiest drink?

I believe Pedialyte is the best option overall. Not only are there more electrolytes in Pedialyte than Powerade and Gatorade, it is less sugary as well. I don't feel like I am drinking a sports drink that is loaded with aspartame, sugar and lots of other artificial sweeteners when I sip Pedialyte. Having said that, I'll admit that both Powerade and Gatorade are superior to plain old water on a hot summer day. Pedialyte is the superior product for better hydration and sports nutrition at the end of the day. After spending between 25 and 30 hours a week collecting carts at Wal-Mart a few years ago, as a cart pusher, I never felt better drinking Pedialyte throughout my longer 8 hour shifts on the weekends. I always felt hydrated.

Abbott Nutrition does not recommend for individuals to mix Pedialyte with water, but that is exactly what I did to help make the 1 quart containers last longer throughout my shift. Try not to think of this drink as a child's Gatorade. Football players, tennis players, bodybuilders, basketball players and other athletes can benefit from consuming this drink before, during and after exercising. Studies show that Pedialyte can better help adults to overcome a hangover instead of Gatorade, but the results will certainly vary from person to person.

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Personal Preference

© 2018 James Foglio


Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on May 07, 2020:

Thank you for sharing :) The one thing that concerns me with a lot of bottled drinks out there, not just sports drinks is the acid in them. This corrodes the teeth, causes stomach problems and acid refux. Also like you mentioned the high sugar content. The electrolyte balance is so delicate, too little hydration causes anger, fatigue, increased heart rate and muscle impairment like cramps and twitches. Too much hydration can flush out potassium and sodium. Have a wonderful week :)

Ken Christensen on September 12, 2018:

About six to seven years ago, I experienced cramping muscles from over working in an overheated grain bin(also severe cramping in my legs at night-no picnic). I asked a doctor friend what the next symptoms would be if I didn't address the cramping, and he said, "Well, your heart is a muscle and when it cramps up, your dead"!

That got my attention and I went on a serious hunt to find electrolytes/potassium. I found that all the sports drinks did not have much potassium at all. (at the time,I did not look at Pedialyte. At first glance it looks like it may not be too bad however I need to research more as it appears that possibly the %s may vary in different drinks??).

Anyhow, the one I found that had the most potassium in it by a country mile was Glaceau's Vitamin Water Revive Fruit Punch(only Revive, the other Vitamin waters do not have much if any potassium). Revive has 880mg of potassium for a 20oz bottle(that's equivalent to the potassium in two bananas). It does have 32gm of sugar, however you must keep in mind that for the potassium to do the body any good, it needs sugar as well. How much, I do not know but considering that bananas have 14mg of sugar to 422mg potassium, I'd say that Revive is pretty close to the same ratio found in nature-perhaps not a terrible guide.

Revive is around $1 per 20oz bottle. the best deals I find are at some Targets where you can usually get six-packs(not the individuals) for around $.75-.80 per 20oz bottle. It is not the most popular drink yet so sometimes it can be hard to find.

Revive does not have any sodium in it so sometimes I will eat something salty such as corn chips to add some sodium as well.

Mind you this is not a daily diet, but just when I am overexerting myself, usually working and sweating profusely on hot days, and setting myself up for dehydration and cramps.

Now, speaking of nature, besides the banana at 422mg of potassium, here are some potassium rich food alternatives that I found...

1. Sweet Potato

A medium baked sweet potato has 542 mg.

2. White Potato

Surprise, surprise: A single medium baked potato has 941 mg.

3. Tomato Sauce

This plain old pasta topper is a secret source of potassium, with 728 mg in each cup.

4. Watermelon

Chomp down two refreshing watermelon wedges and you’ll get 641 mg of potassium. It’s also a great source of lycopene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that’s been linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers.

5. Frozen Spinach

Add 1 cup of frozen spinach to your next stir-fry or pasta dish and you’ll get a respectable 540 mg.

6. Beets

A cup of cooked, sliced beets delivers 518 mg of potassium.

7. Butternut Squash

One cup of this slightly sweet fall favorite packs 582 mg of potassium.

(This list of seven foods was compiled by Caroline Praderio is the food and nutrition writer for Prevention magazine and potassium/Revive research was done by myself, Ken Christensen of Pipestone, MN)

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