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Powerade vs Gatorade – Which Sports Drink is Best?

​If you are reaching into the cooler at the local store on your way to the gym you may see these two sports drinks stacked beside each other.

Gatorade vs Powerade - which is better?

Gatorade and Powerade are the two leading sports drinks. You can find them in every grocery market, gas station, and convenience store. They are used by athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and people that just want to stay hydrated.

These products are both designed for the same purpose. They help fuel your body and replenish lost fluids. They also come in a wide range of flavors.

Which one should you choose? Get the answer with this direct comparison of Powerade vs Gatorade.

Some people will also consume them before a workout as a cheap pre-workout. To be honest the lack of high dose of caffeine in either drink really disqualify them from being considered as a good preworkout​. Whereas the best pre-workouts for crossfit will contain caffeine and a host of other specially selected ingredients.

Brief Overview of Gatorade

Gatorade was created by scientists at the University of Florida in 1965. It was made for the Florida Gators college football team to help keep the student-athletes hydrated and replenish body fluids lost while exercising.

The original version of the sports drink included a combination of water, sugar, sodium, phosphate, potassium, and lemon juice. While the formula has changed over the years, it still includes most of these same ingredients.

By the early 1970s, Gatorade was a popular sports drink for athletes of all levels, including professional sports. While the Gatorade brand has gone through several owners, the Pepsi company now owns the sports drink.

Gatorade has released many different flavors and products over the years. They have even tried marketing a Gatorade-branded energy bar, chewing gum, and nutrition shakes.

In 2007, they released a low-calorie version of the sports drink called G2. You can also purchase some flavors in powdered form. The powder can be mixed to the recommended consistency or adjusted to your own personal taste.

Brief Overview of Powerade

Powerade is a Coca-Cola Company product. It was first released in 1988 as a direct competitor to the Pepsi-owned Gatorade. In 2001, the formula for the sports drink was modified to include B vitamins, which help with energy metabolism, the same year that Pepsi acquired Gatorade.

The company also released a version of the sports drink with zero sugars and zero calories called Powerade Zero.

Like Gatorade, Powerade is available in a wide range of flavors. There are currently 16 different flavors of the main Powerade line of sports drinks, along with a variety of Powerade Zero flavors.

The flavor options can also vary depending on the region where you live. The US, UK, Australia, South Korea, Iceland, France, and many other countries have their own selections of Powerade drinks.

Powerade vs Gatorade – Nutritional Comparison

Powerade and Gatorade are designed to help keep people hydrated during physical activity, such as working out or playing a sport. They supply the body with sugar and electrolytes.

The sugars provide fuel while the electrolytes replace the electrolytes lost through sweating. These are the main nutritional details to consider when comparing these popular sports drinks.

Both brands provide about 21 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounces. These carbs come in different forms, depending on the beverage that you choose.

Powerade contains high fructose corn syrup and Gatorade uses sucrose and dextrose. High fructose corn syrup has been linked to higher risks of various health issues, including heart disease and diabetes. However, sucrose is common table sugar and contains no nutrition other than supplying the body with energy.

Powerade and Gatorade are evenly matched when examining the sugar content of their main products. Gatorade also provides several specialty drinks that provide different nutritional content. For example, they have low-sugar drinks with just seven grams of sugar per 12 ounces.

These sports drinks are also closely matched when comparing the electrolytes. The electrolytes promote better muscular response. They also help keep you hydrated by replacing the electrolytes lost during your workout or activity.

Potassium and sodium are the primary electrolytes that you get with either sports drink. With Gatorade, you get 45 mg of potassium and 160 mg of sodium per serving. Powerade offers 35 mg of potassium and 150 mg of sodium, which gives Gatorade a slight edge in this comparison.

While Gatorade provides few extra milligrams of potassium and sodium, Powerade includes added vitamins. You get healthy doses of several B vitamins to aid water and energy distribution. Each serving includes vitamins B-3, B-6, and B-12.

Both options also provide about the same number of calories. With Gatorade, you receive 95 calories per 12-ounce serving. Powerade includes about 115 calories per serving.

Powerade and Gatorade – Which Option Is Better for You?

Sports drinks are only beneficial when you need to fuel your body. Sodium is commonly known as table salt and the average person consumes more than the recommended amount.

In small amounts, the salt can help you maintain water distribution and slow your rate of dehydration. When you consume excess amounts of sodium, you increase your risk of high blood pressure.

The recommended daily sodium intake for the typical adult is 2,300 mg while the average adult consumes over 3,400 mg of salt. People with chronic heart conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, are recommended to limit their salt intake to 1,500 mg per day.

While both brands sell products in various sizes, the 32-ounce bottles are the ones most commonly sold. A single bottle of Gatorade or Powerade could provide about 400 mg of sodium.

You may also consume more sugar than you intend to when drinking an entire bottle of Powerade or Gatorade. As each option provides 21 grams of sugar per serving, you can get 56 grams of sugar from a 32-ounce container.

Nutritionists that follow the food pyramid recommend that you consume about 225 to 325 grams of carbs per day for a 2,000-calorie diet. If you plan to lose weight, you may need to limit your carb consumption to 50 to 150 grams of sugar per day.

The bottom line is that 32 ounces of Powerade or Gatorade can supply your body with sodium and sugar. These nutrients are beneficial in low doses, but may create health risks if you consume too much.

In a direct comparison, neither option is better compared to the other. They offer close to the same nutritional value.

These sports drinks are not considered the healthiest choices for regular consumption, especially for children that should get most of their sodium and sugar from healthier sources. However, they can supply your body with energy and electrolytes to help you power through workouts and other physical activities.

Powerade vs. Gatorade – Variety of Flavors and Products

Besides the nutritional content of these sports drinks, you may want to compare their flavors and products.

The main line of products from either brand includes over a dozen flavors. The original Gatorade flavor is lemon lime, which is still one of their most popular products. Both brands also regularly introduce and discontinue flavors, creating a revolving door of options.

The next time you visit a grocery store or gas station, you should not be surprised if you see a new flavor of Gatorade or Powerade in the cooler.

While the main product line of Gatorade and Powerade drinks contain quite a bit of sugar and salt, Gatorade offers a few low-sugar options. Powerade also provides a couple of healthier alternatives.

The Powerade Zero line of products contains no sugar or calories. You just get flavored water with electrolytes from salt.

The Gatorade low-sugar option is called G2. It is not a zero sugar sports drink, but it does contain less sugar compared to the main line of Gatorade drinks. It also contains more sodium and potassium, giving you an extra boost of electrolytes.

Powerade and Gatorade are also available in both powdered form and ready-made containers. The ready-made containers are what you see in every cooler.

The powdered form is more cost effective when buying large quantities of Powerade or Gatorade and allows you to adjust the ratio of water to sugar.

The variety of flavors and products is another close match between Gatorade and Powerade. The currently available flavors also tend to change over time. The winner of this category is whichever brand currently has a flavor that you enjoy.

Conclusion – What Sports Drink Should You Choose?

There is not much difference between drinking Powerade or Gatorade. Both products supply your body with electrolytes to help replenish body fluids that you lose from physical exertion. You also get the sugar to give you a little extra energy.

When you compare the nutritional details of the main Gatorade and Powerade products, you will see that they are evenly matched. You get about the same amounts of calories, potassium, sodium, and sugar from either sports drink.

While you may get a few extra milligrams of electrolytes from Gatorade, Powerade includes extra B vitamins.

There is one difference in the nutritional content that is worth discussing. Gatorade contains sucrose and dextrose while Powerade contains high fructose corn syrup.

The table sugar used in Gatorade is easier for your body to breakdown and digest. You can convert it into energy quicker compared to corn syrup, which may make it a better option for athletes and fitness buffs.

If you want to enjoy one of these sports drinks outside of a workout or physical activity, Powerade may have the best options. The Powerade Zero line includes no calories and no sugars.

For those that want extra electrolytes, the Gatorade G2 sports drinks may be the better choice. They are packed with more potassium and sodium while containing fewer sugars.

There is no clear winner between Powerade and Gatorade. Their main products share many features and they each offer specialty drinks that may appeal to different consumers.