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Is Gatorade the Best Sports Drink Afterall?

Summer activities often include a lot of outside time and a lot of sweating. Whether it’s playing sports, sitting on the bleachers, tanning, or hiking we expend a lot of electrolytes in the summer. But what are electrolytes and why do they matter?

Electrolytes are electrically charged minerals and compounds that help your body do much of its work — producing energy and contracting your muscles, for example. Sodium, chloride, potassium, and calcium are all types of electrolytes.

Not eating and drinking enough can cause an Electrolyte imbalance as can sweating profusely. Electrolyte imbalances can be scary as the symptoms range from dizziness, headaches, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, frequent urination, constipation, increased heart rate, and muscle cramps. Definitely not something any of us want to deal with while trying to enjoy our summer.

But when most of us think of recharging electrolytes we automatically jump to Gatorade as the solution…however, recent studies are showing that this go-to sports drink may not be the best option.

When consumed often, the sugar content of Gatorade can also contribute to tooth decay, especially in children.
For people who are less active, getting extra sugar and sodium throughout the day isn’t necessary or recommended. The extra calories from a sports drink could contribute to weight gain. The extra sodium could increase the risk of high blood pressure over time.
Also of importance to note is that Gatorade contains food dyes, such as Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5. These artificial dyes are derived from petroleum and may increase the risk of hyperactivity in children. They’ve also been linked to cancer.

Gatorade contains twice the amount of sodium as other sports drinks, such as Powerade and Allsport Sports Drinks which each contain 55 mg of sodium per cup, according to Livestrong.

And according to the official Gatorade website, a 20-ounce serving of Gatorade contains 140 calories and 36 grams of carbohydrates, with 34 grams of carbohydrates coming straight from sugar.

Perhaps this popular beverage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The dyes alone are enough to raise concern, even though articles say the drinks are good for intense athletes. But what about the long-term health effects? What about the petroleum-derived dyes and other questionable ingredients?

So, what are your options for recharging electrolytes? What do you drink instead? Well, we’re glad you asked!

The healthier options are to make your own (we will include a recipe below) or for those of you with a busy schedule, you can buy healthier alternatives such as R. W. Knudsen Recharge Drinks. Those can be a bit pricey, especially if you are using them often, so making your own and pouring them into recycled glass bottles is definitely the best way to go. This recipe is quick and easy and only takes a second, you can also double or triple it to make larger quantities if you know you’re going to have a busy week.

DIY Options:

Easy Coconut Electrolyte Drink:

Simply a bottle of unsweetened coconut water and a Tru Time lemonade packet. That simple. Coconut water naturally replenishes your electrolyte levels, and the lemonade packet makes it taste great. Especially if you’re not a fan of coconut water alone.

Electrolyte Drink:

Mix it together and adjust the sweetness level if desired. It keeps for a week in the fridge. You can half the liquid base, to make it more concentrated, and freeze the mixture as ice cubes as well adding them to your water when you need them.


Keep in mind if you are exercising for less than an hour, water should be your drink of choice as you won’t be expending many electrolytes.

If you want to add any of these for your athletes, there are lots of foods rich in electrolytes, including spinach, potatoes, beans, avocados, oranges, strawberries, bananas, and turkey.

Enjoy your Happy Healthy Summer!


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