The summer heat can be brutal. And when it comes to staying well-hydrated, regular sports drinks aren’t always our best answer. Today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on the best & worst sports drinks on shelves, plus other electrolyte-rich beverages that help to optimize hydration for athletes and non-athletes alike.
- It’s essential to replenish electrolytes, particularly when losing large amounts of sweat, even during shorter workouts (or working in the heat)
- Sodium is the main electrolyte lost in sweat, so a higher-sodium fluid replacer may actually be more desirable for fluid replenishment and preventing muscle cramping.
- Sugar-containing sports drinks are typically only needed when exercise is longer than 60-90 minutes
Infinit Nutrition Customizable Sports Drink – Customize levels of electrolytes, carbs, sugars, protein, flavors
nuun active vitamin + electrolyte drink tabs – Add tablet to bottle of water
- Per tablet: 7 calories, 1.2 grams carbohydrates, 0 sugar, 360 mg sodium, 100 mg potassium
- No artificial sweeteners or colors (sweetened with stevia; colored with vegetable juice extracts)
Zico Coconut Water – 100% coconut water, nothing artificial
- Per 14-ounce bottle: 70 calories – 200 mg sodium – 630 mg potassium – 16 grams carbs – 15 grams sugar
- Per pack: 30 calories – 8 grams carbohydrate – 5 grams sugar – 65 mg sodium – 200 mg potassium
- No artificial sweeteners or colors – but often not enough sodium for high-intensity electrolyte replenishment
- Per TWO ounces: 6 calories, 6 grams carbs & sugar, 62 mg sodium – 47 mg potassium
- Unflavored is the only variety without artificial colors – can add to sports drink of choice (or EmergenC type of packet) to boost electrolyte content.
Pedialyte – flavored
- Per 8 ounces: 24 calories – 5.9 grams carbs & sugar – 244 mg sodium – 183 mg potassium
- Artificially sweetened (with acesulfame potassium) AND artificial colors
- Per 20-ounce bottle: 0 calories, 0 carbohydrates, 0 sugar, 250 mg sodium, 60 mg potassium
- Contains artificial colors and artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium)
Gatorade – sugar + artificial colors
- 12 ounces: 80 calories – 160 mg sodium – 45 mg potassium – 21 grams carbs/sugar
Powerade – High fructose corn syrup + artificial colors
- 12 ounces: 80 calories – 150 mg sodium – 35 mg potassium – 21 grams carbs/sugar