Gatorade vs. Powerade: Which Is Better for Hydration?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Are you considering Gatorade vs. Powerade to replenish your electrolytes? Without enough electrolytes, physical activity can be daunting and difficult. You may feel fatigued, dizzy, and dehydrated without the proper electrical power for your nerves, muscles, and cells.

Isotonic sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade are thought to be the best beverages to restore your body fluids and electrolytes during physical activity—but which is the better drink?

Unfortunately, both Gatorade and Powerade are loaded with sugar and contain few electrolytes. Learn more about the nutritional value of these sports drinks and how to choose healthier alternatives for hydration. 

Powerade and Gatorade on shelf

Are sports drinks healthy?

Walk into any gas station or convenience store, and you’ll notice a case full of sports drinks in an array of different colors and flavors. Gatorade and Powerade are the go-to sports drinks to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise and physical activity–but are they healthy? 

The truth is, these two sports drinks are full of sugar. Many people expect Powerade and Gatorade to support their athletic performance and endurance, but they may reduce endurance because of excess sugar.

Sports drinks and energy drinks with large amounts of sugar can make you feel tired instead of energized. The high amounts of sugar spike insulin, which lowers your blood sugar, causing fatigue and drowsiness.

sports drink bottle

Gatorade vs. Powerade 

Let’s take a look at Powerade vs. Gatorade to see how they stack up. 

Gatorade is owned by Coca-Cola, and Powerade is owned by Pepsi-Cola. Both drinks are marketed towards athletes and physically active people to replace lost fluids after exercise.

Powerade and Gatorade only contain two electrolytes—potassium and sodium. One 12-ounce drink contains a whopping 21 grams of sugar! 

Gatorade contains high fructose corn syrup, which comes from GMO crops that may contain glyphosate residue

Powerade contains sucrose (table sugar), which likely comes from beet sugar. Beet sugar is also derived from GMO crops and may contain glyphosate residue. Sucrose contributes more to insulin resistance than high fructose corn syrup.

Gatorade contains 45 milligrams of potassium, and Powerade contains 35 milligrams. This is a very small amount compared to the 4700 milligrams of potassium we need each day.

Gatorade nutrition facts

  • 80 calories

  • 21 g sugar

  • 160 mg sodium

  • 45 mg potassium

Gatorade contains dextrose, which is a synthetic sweetener derived from modified food starch that contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer.

This study published in the Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte even connects Gatorade to tooth enamel damage. According to the group of dentists who conducted the study, “The low pH of sports drinks may cause tooth enamel demineralization.”

Powerade nutrition facts

  • 80 calories

  • 21 g sugar

  • 150 mg sodium

  • 35 mg potassium

Powerade also contains synthetic B3, B6, and B12.

Both Gatorade and Powerade contain citric acid.

Watch this video for a side-by-side comparison of Powerade and Gatorade.

Does sugar help with exercise?

Popular sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade are essentially sugar water with an insignificant amount of vitamins and minerals.

Some may suggest replacing the sugar that you’ve burned during a workout. However, if you constantly replace your glycogen reserve, you’ll stop your body from tapping into your fat reserve, hindering your body’s ability to burn fat. 

If you’re working out to burn fat, replenishing your glycogen with sports drinks is counterproductive.

How to choose a healthier electrolyte sports drink

The five main electrolytes that your body needs to prevent dehydration are sodium, potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. These electrolytes can come out in your sweat, so it’s essential to replenish them. 

If you’re losing electrolytes or you’re low on electrolytes, you’ll feel tired and weak. 

There are also more serious health risks associated with low electrolytes, like arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and shock. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your healthcare provider immediately to determine the underlying cause. 

You need to replenish electrolytes lost in exercise to maintain your health, energy levels, and athletic performance. The best way to do this is to look for a sports drink without sugar, a sugar-free electrolyte powder, or a DIY electrolyte drink. 

Check out this quick and easy electrolyte drink recipe. 

Electrolyte sports drink recipe

Here’s how to make a delicious electrolyte drink with far more micronutrients than Powerade and Gatorade, without all of the excess sugar.


1 ripe avocado

1 cup berries

1/2 cup lemon juice 

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

5 cups water

Stevia to taste (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

  2. To increase sweetness, slowly add stevia to taste

DIY drink to rival Gatorade

Key takeaways

The nutritional content of both Gatorade and Powerade is not adequate for someone who wants to stay hydrated and energized throughout a workout. 

A better choice would be a sports drink made without sugar or a homemade electrolyte beverage instead of Gatorade vs. Powerade to properly replenish lost electrolytes without spiking insulin.


1. Which is better for hydration: Gatorade or Powerade?

Both Gatorade and Powerade contain very high amounts of sugar with very little electrolytes. Neither drink is a good option for hydration. 

2. Is Powerade or Gatorade better for exercise?

Look for a drink that has more potassium and less sugar. Gatorade and Powerade may actually lower physical endurance because of their high sugar content. 

3. Which sports drink is the healthiest?

Sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade market themselves as healthy but are actually full of carbs and sugar. Look for electrolyte drinks and powders that have no added sugars. You can also make your own electrolyte smoothie like the one above!

4. Does Powerade or Gatorade have less sugar? 

Powerade and Gatorade contain the same amount of sugar, but they contain different types. Powerade contains sucrose, and Gatorade contains high fructose corn syrup. Sucrose causes a more significant insulin spike than high fructose corn syrup. 

5. Does Powerade or Gatorade actually hydrate you?

In order to be properly hydrated, you need adequate fluids and electrolytes. Powerade and Gatorade contain a lot of sodium but do not contain significant amounts of the other four electrolytes important for hydration: potassium, magnesium, chloride, and calcium. 

6. How much sugar is in Powerade and Gatorade?

Both Powerade and Gatorade contain 21 grams of sugar. 

7. Can I have Powerade or Gatorade on keto?

No. One drink of Powerade or Gatorade may knock you out of ketosis. They contain too much sugar for a ketogenic diet. 

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