Does Gatorade hydrate you better than water?

Primarily when you turn on any type of sporting event, you will see the participants drinking one of two things. More times than not, the participant will either be drinking water or gatorade. Gatorade is a popular sports drink that was first introduced over fifty years ago. It was created for the University of Florida football team in an effort to help the players combat from the sweltering heat of the “Sunshine state” (Gatorade). Gatorade offers some upsides and downsides of consumption due to the many ingredients it adds. As a person who has played sports his whole life, and has consumed both hundreds of times during games and practices. I wanted to explore which drink is actually more beneficial for an athlete during competition, Gatorade or water?

The case for water: When participating in sports, or any physical activity you can never go wrong with drinking water. Water is essential for us to live, so obviously it helps the body during physical activity. One con of drinking gatorade is because of the sugars, flavors and ingredients that are added into the drink there are many excess calories included in the drink. According to my fitness pal, a twenty ounce cool blue flavored gatorade contains 150 calories (Fitness). This increased amount of calories can cause some weight gain over time. Drinking water before exercise is beneficial to be able to maintain solid hydration throughout the duration of the activity. Water is also best used in situations where you are exercising at a light or moderate rate (Fit Day). This is because you do not have to replenish what you are losing at a rapid pace, and can still be hydrated without the sodium and potassium that Gatorade contains.

The case for gatorade: As stated earlier gatorade does have a good amount of calories which is a downside. However, what is contained in those calories are ingredients and benefits that cannot be seen while hydrating with water. Gatorade reaches the bloodstream of an athlete quicker due to the use of dissolved minerals and carbohydrates in the making of the drink (Active). Because of this, gatorade is most effective in high pressure, hyperactive athletic situations. This way an athlete who needs a quick rush of hydration and replenishment can get it quicker through Gatorade, and continue on with the activity. Some examples of this type of activity would be a football or basketball game, where the athlete needs to continue on with the game which is going on at a rapid pace. Gatorade also replenishes what our body loses during physical activity. Your body loses electrolytes from sweating during physical activity; this could lead to dehydration and fatigue. To combat this, the drink contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, these ingredients help your body with basic functions of muscles and nerves, as well as regulating body temperature (News).

Overall, both drinks give athletes different benefits. For water, long term it is healthier due to the fact that there are no calories in water. If you are working out at a light to moderate rate, your best bet is to drink water. This is also true before and after physical activity, as it will give you a base hydration you can carry with you into the activity. As stated earlier however, Gatorade is necessary in high pressure, hyperactive activity. This way you can quickly replenish all that you lose, and continue on without missing a beat.


4 thoughts on “Does Gatorade hydrate you better than water?

  1. Madeline Elizabeth Dittrich

    I for one, prefer the taste of Gatorade while I’m participating in physical activity. I know it has a lot of sugar, but the refreshing taste of Gatorade often helps me to feel more energized. You brought up an interesting argument because I know many people feel strongly about having either Gatorade or water while exercising.

  2. Margaret Eppinger

    This is a pretty relevant post for me, since I was a cross country runner in high school and still continue to run to this day. From my own anecdotal experience (although we all know how dangerous anecdotal evidence can be), I found water to be the best drink in most cases, but sometimes after a really hard workout or a run in sweltering heat, I needed gatorade. I needed something that would replenish the electrolytes that I’d lost from sweating so much. While this is a clear benefit of gatorade, I wonder how necessary the other ingredients are. There’s actually a product called electrolyte water, which to me seems like it would eliminate the problem of gatorade having a ton of sugar and extra calories in it. This way, an athlete can restore their electrolytes without the bad effects. I think it will be interesting to see if electrolyte water would ever catch on, since gatorade is so iconic at this point. The power of branding and marketing is pretty strong.

  3. Catherine Drinker

    This is super interesting to me because on one hand you can see the nutritional facts of each product but you wonder to what effect does gatorade actually boost your energy. It seems like we might think drinking gatorade does more for us than it does.

    1. Olivia Helen DeArment

      I have always been curious about this question myself, as I always resorted to water after the gym, while my friend always drank gatorade. I asked her one day and she said it gives back electrolytes, but I always wondered if that actually hydrated her more. In the end it makes sense that both have positive effects and hydrate us mutually. However, Gatorade does contain sugars and salts that water does not, which can add on extra calories as well. Overall though, both beverages hydrate us after workouts or a long day. Here’s a video of a gatorade commercial that really does lure you in to believe it is the best drink to consume for maximum hydration and energy.

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