Is Gatorade Zero Actually Better for You? Here’s What to Know When Picking a Drink

Gatorade Zero might not have all the sugars that regular Gatorade does, it’s packed with artificial sweeteners.

Eva Hagan - Author

Feb. 19 2024, Published 1:02 p.m. ET

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Since the original Gatorade hit the shelves, many more variations have come to follow. Gatorade Zero, Gatrolyte, Gatorade Fit, Gatorade G2, Gatorade Powder, and Gatorade Organic are all made to help athletes recover properly from exercise. Each drink differs in ingredients and sugar content to fit your individual specific nutrition goals and needs.

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Gatorade Zero is popular for containing zero grams of sugar and almost no calories in comparison to many other Gatorade products, but is the sports drink actually good for you? Let's take a look at the facts and figures.

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Is Gatorade Zero good for you?

Gatorade Zero is a healthier alternative to regular Gatorade, but not necessarily good for you.

According to Health Reporter, Gatorade Zero could be seen as healthier since it contains zero grams of sugar compared to other sugar-packed sports drinks. For example, the regular Gatorade Glacier Freeze drink contains 34 grams of added sugar and 140 calories.

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the recommended limit of added sugar for women and children each day is 24 grams and 36 grams for men. This means that with one bottle of regular Gatorade, most people will be over or nearly at their recommended daily added sugar intake.

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Gatorade Zero, on the other hand, contains 0 grams of sugar, and comes out to around five calories. So for those looking to avoid added sugars or decrease their sugar intake, Gatorade Zero could be a good option.

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However, Gatorade Zero has other ingredients that some consider to be bad for you. According to Illuminate Labs, Gatorade Zero gets its sweet taste from artificial sweeteners, which include sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

Sucralose is generally considered safe. However, there is conflicting research on whether or not it can have negative effects on metabolism and insulin levels, per Healthline.

Gatorade Zero also contains citric acid, sodium citrate, natural flavor, and artificial food dyes that Illuminate Labs does not recommend.

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Is Gatorlyte good for you?

Gatorlyte is considered better for you than Gatorade, however, it is not the healthiest electrolyte drink, Illuminate Labs.

The Gatorlyte Mixed Berry drink contains 12 grams of added sugars. This equates to just under half the daily value for women and children and one-third for men, per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This drink comes out to around 50 calories, which is higher than that of Gatorade Zero, but still about five times less than regular Gatorade.

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Gatorlyte contains zero artificial sweeteners, which means its sweetness all comes from regular sugar, which in excess can contribute to health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, per Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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However, Gatorlyte also contains electrolytes such as potassium chloride and magnesium oxide. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, athletes need electrolytes to maximize performance and recovery, and sometimes supplementation is needed to achieve electrolyte balance.

The consensus is that although Gatorlyte is a better recovery drink option than regular Gatorade, there are healthier electrolyte drinks out there. It’s also important to remember at the end of the day unless you are an elite athlete or consistently sweating for long periods, water is still the best option for hydration.

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