Powerade Zero Isn't As Good for You As It Seems

Just because it contains zero calories and sugar does not mean that Powerade Zero is healthy.

Eva Hagan - Author

Feb. 29 2024, Published 12:34 p.m. ET

Making sure you are properly hydrated as an athlete is incredibly important for performance and overall health. This is why when it comes to sports drinks, people can have a lot of different opinions. Similar to Gatorade, Powerade is one of the sports drinks dominating the market.

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Powerade Zero is Powerade’s zero-calorie and zero-sugar drink, which comes in all the popular flavors like Fruit Punch, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Smash, and more. However, zero calories and sugar do not always mean healthier. So, is Powerade Zero good for you? Read on for our analysis.

A woman wearing a gray tank top drinks a blue sports drink outside.
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Is Powerade Zero good for you?

Powerade Zero contains artificial colors and sweeteners that are generally not considered good for you. Despite being a source of electrolytes, sodium, and potassium, the additives outweigh the benefits, per an Illuminate Labs article medically reviewed by registered dietitian DJ Mazzoni, RD, MS.

However, when choosing between Gatorade Zero and Powerade Zero, Illuminate Labs recommends Powerade Zero because it contains more electrolytes than Gatorade Zero.

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What are Powerade Zero's ingredients?

The Fruit Punch flavor of Powerade Zero contains water, citric acid, electrolytes, vitamin B12, vitamin C, natural flavors, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, calcium disodium EDTA, and red 40. The drink contains zero calories and added sugar.

According to Health Reporter, the research on the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners like acesulfame potassium and sucralose has been mixed. Despite being calorie-free, these artificial sweeteners are also known to be much sweeter than regular sugar, and could potentially increase sugar cravings.

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The Fruit Punch Powerade Zero also has red 40, an artificial color that contains known carcinogen benzene, per Cleveland Clinic.

Another ingredient listed in most Powerade Zero bottles is citric acid, a common food additive used to enhance the sour flavor of foods and drinks. Although citric acid is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a toxicology report from 2018 found that the additive caused inflammation in some people after consumption.

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Is Powerade good for you?

Regular Powerade is not good to consume every day because of its high sugar content and artificial ingredients. According to Healthline, the amount of added sugar and sodium in each drink will likely only benefit those who are engaging in high levels of exercise.

Powerade is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and in a 28-ounce bottle of Fruit Punch Powerade, there are 21 grams of added sugar. High fructose corn syrup has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, a negative effects on insulin levels and appetite, and more, per Healthline.

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A man sits on a weight bench with a towel over his shoulder while drinking an orange sports drink.
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The recommended maximum daily intake of sugar for women and children (ages 12-18) is 24 grams and 36 grams for men, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This means a bottle of Powerade could easily surpass half of your recommended daily sugar intake.

According to Global Sport Matters, for drinks that contain high levels of sodium like Powerade, there is a risk of sodium overconsumption. Too much sodium in your diet can lead to some serious health issues, such as high blood pressure, kidney damage, heart attack, and heart disease. Therefore, unless you know you are losing a lot of sodium in hard workouts throughout the day, you likely do not need to replenish them with drinks like Powerade.

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