Gatorade: Benefits And Side Effects Of Ultimate Hydration Drink

This replenishing sports drink is your new best friend on your fitness journey.

Medically reviewed by Rowinda Dimech, RDN Rowinda Dimech Rowinda DimechRDN facebook_icontwitter_iconinsta_icon
Written by , Senior Health & Wellness Writer Sindhu Koganti Senior Health & Wellness Writer Experience: 6 years
Edited by , Senior Editor Ravi Teja Tadimalla Senior Editor Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , Health & Wellness Writer Himanshi Mahajan Health & Wellness Writer Experience: 2 years
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Gatorade, a beverage created to help a small football team, is now the most popular sports drink worldwide. This sports drink is also said to improve athletic performance and endurance. But is Gatorade good for you? This beverage is known for its rehydrating capabilities and contains carbohydrates and electrolytes. However, its high sugar content may cause some negative effects. So, who should consume it? What are all its ingredients? Are there any side effects associated with it? This article answers all your questions about Gatorade. Keep reading.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Gatorade was invented in 1965 by a group of scientists to tackle dehydration suffered by football players at the University of Florida. The drink gets its name from the sports team of the university, Florida Gators.

Health Benefits Of Gatorade

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Gatorade helps replenish the electrolytes and energy you lose during rigorous workouts and sports. A study conducted by the University of Iowa(USA) found that Gatorade may effectively treat dehydration(1). However, it is important to note that this study was conducted on people with viral gastroenteritis.

Remember, you should do intense exercise for more than 60 to 90 minutes before you drink Gatorade (2). The drink provides the essential nutrients that you lose through sweating. It is formulated mainly to help athletes maintain their energy and alertness. Studies suggest sports drinks may improve performance by providing carbohydrates, electrolytes, and other nutrients to the body (2).

Your performance may be impaired when you lose fluids more than 2% of your bodyweight (mainly through sweat) during an activity (2). Hence, staying hydrated is important for optimal athletic performance. Consuming sports drinks can help maintain your blood glucose levels and increase your exercise capacity (3).

A review published in the Journal of Athletic Training suggests that the potassium (electrolyte) content in Gatorade may help prevent muscle cramping during exercise (4).

Is Gatorade rich in essential nutrients? What are its contents? In the next section, we discuss the nutritional profile of Gatorade. Keep scrolling!

Gatorade Nutrition Facts

Isotonic sports drinks like Gatorade contain carbohydrates that support muscle activity. They help restore the sugars, salt, and water lost during physical activity. One bottle of Gatorade (609g) contains (5):

  • Calories: 161
  • Carbohydrates: 39.9g
  • Sugars: 32.5g
  • Sodium: 242 mg
  • Potassium: 93 mg
  • Phosphorus: 62 mg
  • Calcium: 6.2 mg

Unless you are a fitness pro or a professional athlete, your body does not need sports drinks with electrolytes. If you are wondering what the important ingredients of Gatorade are, scroll down to know more.

Ingredients In Gatorade

  •  Sodium is one of the key electrolytes available in Gatorade. However, excess sodium intake is linked with high blood pressure (6). Some athletes may drink Gatorade to alleviate cramping as research has linked muscle pains to sodium losses (7).
  •  Potassium is another major electrolyte found in Gatorade. It is important for rehydrating and maintaining fluid balance (8).
  •  The sugars in Gatorade provide fast energy with their high carbohydrate content. However, this drink is most important for serious athletes who exercise with high intensity for extended periods.
  •  Gatorade also contains water, citric acid, and flavoring and coloring agents.

protip_icon Trivia
The initial batch of Gatorade tasted terrible. Mary Cade, the wife of Gatorade inventor, Robert Cade, suggested adding lemon juice to the drink to make it more palatable.

These are some important ingredients that are found in Gatorade. Is this sports drink good for everyone? Keep scrolling to find the answer.

Is Gatorade Good For You?

Gatorade sports drink
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Not everyone needs or gets the full benefits from this high-energy electrolyte drink. Only athletes performing at a high level may need the sugar energy that Gatorade provides. Remember, only those people exercising strenuously for prolonged periods need electrolyte replenishment. Most casual drinkers of Gatorade don’t benefit from the added sugar and salt in their system.

A 2018 study reviewed the Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 2015 and found that about 31.8% of adolescents consumed 1 to 3 sports drinks in the last week, 11.9% consumed 4 to 6 sports drinks in the last week, and 3.2% consumed 4 or more sports drinks every day.

So, is Gatorade bad for you? Well, it is best for the general population to avoid sugary sports drinks since their excessive intake may have adverse side effects.

Check out the information about the expiry of Gatorade in the section below.

Does Gatorade Expire?

Yes, Gatorade does have an expiration date. The expiration date is typically printed on the bottle or packaging. While Gatorade is a non-perishable, shelf-stable beverage (as long as it’s unopened), it can go bad over time, primarily due to changes in taste, color, and the potential for bacterial growth.

The expiration date indicates the last day the product is safe to drink. Consuming Gatorade past its expiration date is generally considered safe, but the taste and quality may deteriorate. It’s essential to store Gatorade away from sunlight, in a cool, dry place, and away from extreme temperatures to maintain its quality. If you notice any signs of spoilage, such as an off-taste, unusual color, or the presence of mold, it is best to discard it and get a fresh bottle. Checking the expiry date is always advised.

Listed below are some of the recorded adverse effects of consuming too much Gatorade. Check them out.

Side Effects Of Excessive Gatorade Intake

Sports drinks like Gatorade contain high levels of sugar and sodium, which have been proven to be harmful when taken in excess amounts.

According to the American Heart Association, intake of fewer than 1,500 mg per day of sodium is recommended for individuals (9). One bottle of Gatorade contains 238 mg of sodium, which is around 11%of the daily intake value.

Excess sugar can cause health problems in people who do not exercise very often. Excess intake of both sugar and salt can also lead to blood pressure issues, diabetes, and more (10), (11). However, athletes who do intense workouts can handle the added sugars.

Other side effects of Gatorade include:

1. May Lead To Weight Gain

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The sugar in Gatorade may lead to weight gain. A bottle of Gatorade gives you roughly 32g of sugar. This is not so bad if you exercise intensely and need to refuel. But remember, regular intake of foods rich in artificial sweeteners will make you gain weight (12), (13).

2. May Cause Dental Problems

Acidic sports drinks may increase the risk of tooth erosion. The sugars in these beverages may also contribute to cavities.

A review published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health suggests that the food dyes used in sports drinks may cause cancers and hypersensitivity reactions (14).

These are some side effects of drinking Gatorade excessively. In the next section, we discuss whether drinking Gatorade is safe for children. Keep reading!

Should Kids Have Gatorade?

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Most children don’t need to drink sports drinks like Gatorade. Experts suggest that parents limit their children’s intake of such drinks due to the presence of artificial colors and high sugar content. The high levels of sugar and sodium electrolytes in sports drinks can be harmful to children if consumed excessively. Gatorade is only useful for active adults and some very active kids (15).

Water is the best source of hydration for children. Also, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help them get the required amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes and promote their overall wellness.

There are plenty of options to replace this high-sugar and calorie-rich sports drink. Scroll down to learn more about substitutes for Gatorade.

Gatorade Replacement

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Water is the best option for hydrating your body. If you are bored of drinking water, try infusing it with lemon and other fruits for refreshment. You can also drink (unsweetened) fruit juices.

Similarly, coconut water can be the best replacement drink for electrolytes (16). Gatorade contains more electrolytes than coconut water, but most people don’t need them.

Wondering if Gatorade and Powerade are the same? Find out the differences between these two beverages in the next section.

Gatorade Vs. Powerade

Both Gatorade and Powerade are designed for athletes. They share similarities as well as differences.

  •  Gatorade uses dextrose as the main sweetener while Powerade uses high-fructose corn syrup.
  •  Gatorade contains two electrolytes – sodium and potassium. Powerade uses the ION4 System, which provides magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
  •  These drinks contain the same amount of sugar per serving and have low-sugar and sugar-free versions in their product lineup.
protip_icon Fun Fact
Famous basketball player Michael Jordan was the first celebrity endorser of Gatorade.

Infographic: A Guide On The Side Effects Of Excess Gatorade

Gatorade is a popular sports beverage that helps improve athletic performance and endurance. Though it offers many health benefits, its negative side effects can’t be ignored. Check out the infographic below to know about its negative effects on the body, its recommended dosage, and more to help you make an informed decision.

a guide on the side effects of gatorade (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

The Final Takeaway

Gatorade energy drink is a sports drink that can instantly boost your energy. It contains carbs and electrolytes with rehydrating capabilities. Drinking Gatorade benefits your health in many ways. It may help treat dehydration, offer vital nutrients that you lose through sweating, improve performance, maintain blood glucose levels, increase exercise capacity, and help prevent muscle cramping during exercise. However, the high sodium and sugar levels in the Gatorade drink may cause side effects if you consume it in excess amounts. The drink may also lead to weight gain and dental problems. Hence, consume it in moderation to enjoy its maximum benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to drink Gatorade daily?

Drink Gatorade only if you are doing intensive exercise daily.

Is Gatorade good for your kidneys?

No. Excessive use of Gatorade may lead to kidney issues. People with chronic kidney diseases should also avoid taking it.

Is Gatorade healthier than soda?

Though it contains more sugar, Gatorade is healthier than soda as it contains more electrolytes to rehydrate the body.

Do athletes actually drink Gatorade?

Yes, Gatorade is one of the leading sports drinks in the US that helps enhance performance and build stamina.

Key Takeaways

  • Gatorade is a high-energy electrolyte drink that replenishes the electrolytes and energy lost during rigorous workouts and sports.
  • It is suitable to drink Gatorade after an intense exercise session of more than 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Gatorade, like other sports drinks, is high in sugar and sodium, which can be harmful when taken in excess amounts and may lead to side effects like weight gain and dental erosion.
is gatorade good for you

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Uncover the truth about Gatorade in this revealing video. Explore its purpose, benefits, and whether it lives up to the hype. Don’t miss out on this informative journey—watch now and quench your curiosity!

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Oral rehydration for viral gastroenteritis in adults: a randomized controlled trial of 3 solutions
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16931613/
  2. Role of Functional Beverages on Sport Performance and Recovery
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6213308/
  3. Fluids and hydration
    https://www.usada.org/athletes/substances/nutrition/fluids-and-hydration/
  4. Influence of Hydration and Electrolyte Supplementation on Incidence and Time to Onset of Exercise-Associated Muscle Cramps
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1150229/
  5. Sports drink (Gatorade G)
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2346347/nutrients
  6. Sodium Intake and Hypertension
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770596/
  7. Sodium Replacement and Plasma Sodium Drop During Exercise in the Heat When Fluid Intake Matches Fluid Loss
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657026/
  8. Factors influencing the restoration of fluid and electrolyte balance after exercise in the heat
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9298549/
  9. Sodium and health—concordance and controversy
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7318881/
  10. Controversies about sugars: results from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on obesity cardiometabolic disease and diabetes
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5174149/
  11. Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/
  12. Effects of artificial sweeteners on body weight food and drink intake
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49665151_Effects_of_artificial_sweeteners_on_body_weight_food_and_drink_intake
  13. Association of sports drinks with weight gain among adolescents and young adults
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4180814/
  14. Toxicology of food dyes
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/1077352512Z.00000000034?journalCode=yjoh20
  15. Energy and sports drinks in children and adolescents
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5823002/
  16. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293068/
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