Physical activity, like exercise, increases your heart rate and dehydrates you. Staying hydrated is essential to performing at your best, whether you're in the gym or a professional soccer player. But which of the many "replenishing" sports drinks on the market today should you reach for?
When you stroll down the sports drink aisle in your supermarket, you'll quickly realize that there's a wide range of products to choose from. However, there are two brands in particular that have emerged as the most popular sports drinks for preventing dehydration: Powerade and Gatorade. Each of the two mineral-rich drinks promises to provide you with electrolytes and other valuable nutrients, but of course the big question is: which sports drink is better? Let's find out!
What is a sports drink?
Before we dive into the two popular sports drinks in more detail, let's first get the basics down - what exactly is a sports drink anyway?
Sports drinks are characterized by the following main components: carbohydrates and electrolytes, usually with a high percentage of water. Each of these key ingredients are important for their own reasons, but all are linked to the effects of physical activity.
For example, carbohydrates are burned during activity. The Federal Ministry of Health says you should eat carbohydrates before any exercise that lasts longer than an hour. In addition, it is recommended to consume carbohydrates during exercise if you train intensively. This is the case, for example, when you hike up a mountain, run a marathon, or play a very active sport like basketball. The recommendation for sports drink consumption is 150 to 200 milliliters per 15 to 20 minutes of activity after the first hour. It should be noted here that you do not consume more than 100 g of carbohydrates per hour. Otherwise your body will no longer be able to hydrate effectively.
Electrolytes, on the other hand, are essential minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electrical charge. They play an important role in various bodily processes, e.g. B. in muscle function, regulation of pH and hydration in the body.
You lose electrolytes naturally through your sweat, so physical activity is incredibly taxing. The most common electrolytes in the body include:
Gatorade was created to solve a problem. The assistant coach to the University of Florida football team found his players suffering in the blistering heat of the Florida sun. Sluggishness, exhaustion and dehydration plagued his players. So in 1965, the coach asked a university research team if they could help. The researchers found that the players lost important minerals with their sweat that were not replaced. In addition, players burned all their carbohydrate stores and lost energy. To counteract this, they developed a drink called Gatorade (like "Gator-Aid" after the team name "The Gators"). This potent drink helped the Gators defeat their opponents and win the Orange Bowl for the first time. From then on, other teams began asking for the Gators' secret formula, which led to private sales, and the rest is history!
Powerade doesn't exactly have the same motivational origins as its competitor, but it was created by Coca-Cola in 1988 to compete with Gatorade. Coca-Cola promised that Powerade would have the same hydration benefits and was named the Official Sports Drink of the Olympics that same year. The Powerade catapulted into stores and into the hands of athletes around the world.
The difference between Gatorade and Powerade
Although Gatorade and Powerade are very similar, there are some important differences. Let's take a look at the individual nutritional components of these popular drinks and find out where the key differences lie.
We will use the following three categories for comparison:
- vitamins and minerals
Both Gatorade and Powerade contain about 25 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounce beverage. However, the ingredients that provide these carbohydrates are different. While Gatorade contains glucose and sucrose - simple sugars that are easily digested by the body - the carbohydrates in Powerade come from high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup has been used as a sweetener in processed foods for decades. However, over the years it has been demonized by medical professionals and nutritionists for its association with many health risks, including increased belly fat - and who wants that?
Bottom line, carbohydrates are good for athletic performance. You just have to make sure you're getting them from the right sources. However, if you're on a low-carb diet like the keto diet, both sports drinks aren't ideal because of the high carb content. Opt for an electrolyte supplement drink like our Yuzu Low Carb, which is highly potent, fast-acting, and easily absorbed by the body - with no carbs.
While Powerade and Gatorade contain similar amounts of electrolytes, Gatorade contains 10 mg more potassium and 10 mg more than its competitor, making it a little better suited to replacing the electrolytes you lose through exercise.
vitamins and minerals
Gatorade may have beaten Powerade in the carbohydrate and electrolyte categories, but Powerade wins when it comes to vitamins and minerals. Both sports drinks contain small amounts of about a dozen different vitamins and minerals, but Powerade added much larger amounts of vitamins like B-3, B-6, and B-12 to its formula to improve energy production in the body.
Now you know the nutritional value of each drink in detail - but what does all this have to do with the thirst you feel after a hard workout?
Basically, the loss of electrolytes causes dehydration. That's why the sports drink that replaces all the important electrolytes is best for controlling thirst and dehydration of the body.
So what's the best sports drink, you might be wondering?
The answer is: Gatorade. Electrolytes are important. Plain and simple. Because Gatorade has a higher electrolyte concentrate than Powerade, it's easy to see why it's the best sports drink.
Whether you're using Gatorade, Powerade, or a powerful electrolyte blend like our le melo sports drinks, dehydration doesn't feel good. Make sure you're always replenishing electrolytes to support your active lifestyle and keep you in peak condition!