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Love it, Like it, Hate it: sports drinks + electrolyte replenishing drinks

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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

 

 

LOVE IT!

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 Water100% coconut water, nothing artificial

  • Per 14-ounce bottle: 70 calories – 200 mg sodium – 630 mg potassium – 16 grams carbs – 15 grams sugar

 

 

LIKE IT!

Emergen-C

  • 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

 

Pedialyte - Unflavored

  • 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.

 

 

HATE IT!

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

 

Powerade Zero:

  • 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