Is Gatorade Zero Good for You? Breaking Down the Facts

As more people seek healthier hydration options, this question of whether Gatorade Zero is a healthy choice has gained interest among fitness enthusiasts and everyday Americans alike. This article explores the difference between Gatorade Zero and other popular drink options, its ingredients, and its potential benefits and drawbacks.

What is Gatorade Zero?

Gatorade Zero is an electrolyte drink free from sugar that may help keep you hydrated during exercise.

ADVERTISEMENT

Electrolytes are charged minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium that are vital for many bodily functions, such as:

  • Balancing fluid levels and blood pH
  • Nerve and muscle function
  • Repairing tissues

Electrolytes are often lost through sweat during exercise, and thus, it is important to replace them during or immediately after exercise to maintain these functions.

How does Gatorade Zero compare to Gatorade?

Gatorade is a sports drink that contains electrolytes and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in Gatorade are intended to act as a quick energy source during exercise.

Essentially, Gatorade Zero is a low-calorie alternative to Gatorade created particularly for athletes seeking a lower-calorie option that is free from sugar compared to traditional Gatorade, which has 36 grams of sugar per serving.

Is Gatorade Zero good for you?

Gatorade Zero is typically okay when consumed in moderation. However, it is intended as an electrolyte replacement option, not as an everyday drink.

ADVERTISEMENT

For instance, Gatorade Zero might be best used during intense exercise. The amount of electrolyte replacement varies on individual sweat loss but, roughly, 300–600 mg of sodium per hour of exercise is needed.

Further, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a customized fluid replacement plan (including electrolytes), which is ideal for determining your needs. Working with a sports dietitian can help you find your unique requirements.

Alternatively, this drink can be used to replace lost electrolytes during vomiting or diarrhea and might help prevent dehydration. Since the loss of electrolytes is significant and quick, individuals experiencing these conditions may feel dizzy and unwell. This can be dangerous if left untreated. Thus, replenishing electrolytes during illness to maintain muscle and nerve function is essential.

Lastly, following a balanced diet and maintaining adequate hydration can help you meet your electrolyte needs. Gatorade Zero may be used as an addition if needed and is not intended as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.

Gatorade Zero key ingredients

Here are the nutrition facts of Gatorade Zero Sugar (lemon lime flavor) per 1 bottle (20 fl oz):
Calories
0 kcal
Fat
0 g
Sodium
158 mg
Potassium
50.4 mg
Carbohydrates
1 g
Sugars
0 g
Protein
0 g

Salt

An electrolyte drink that contains around 230–690 mg of sodium per 33 oz (1 l) may help replenish salt losses from sweat.

Gatorade Zero contains about 450 mg of sodium per 33 oz (1 l), which is within the recommended range to help maintain adequate sodium levels and promote rehydration during exercise.

Glycerol ester of rosin

ADVERTISEMENT

Glycerol ester of rosin, an ingredient in Gatorade Zero, is an emulsifying agent derived from a product of trees through refining and esterification (a type of chemical reaction) with food-grade glycerol.

The FDA approves glycerol ester of rosin as a food additive when used in doses of 100 ppm (parts per million) or less in food beverages.

Monopotassium phosphate

Monopotassium phosphate is a potassium salt commonly used in electrolyte drinks to help replenish electrolytes. It is also approved as a food additive in the U.S.

Artificial sweeteners

As a replacement for sugar, Gatorade Zero contains two artificial sweeteners — acesulfame potassium and sucralose.

Acesulfame potassium is a zero-calorie sweetener about 200 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA approved it after reviewing over 90 studies to determine its safety.

Sucralose is also a calorie-free sweetener derived from sugar. It is about 385–650 times sweeter than sugar. The FDA has approved it as a safe food additive.

New research on artificial sweeteners like sucralose indicates they may impact blood sugar levels and gut hormones. However, some studies have found no change. Thus, research on the impacts of acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners is inconclusive. Research in these areas is ongoing, and more long-term studies are needed.

Current clinical guidelines from the American Diabetes Association guidelines still recommend artificial sweeteners as an acceptable replacement for sugar for those with type 2 diabetes, however, they recognize that research on artificial sweeteners is evolving.

ADVERTISEMENT

Potential side effects of Gatorade Zero

No potential side effects of Gatorade Zero have been reported to the FDA in recent years, and it is a safe electrolyte drink option. However, the general recommendation is to drink this beverage in standard serving sizes and for its intended purpose — as an electrolyte replacement beverage.

Gatorade Zero lawsuit

In 2023, there was one case brought forth to the FDA of a 42-year-old female who reported the following symptoms after consuming Gatorade Zero:

  • Hypersensitivity
  • Joint stiffness
  • Rash
  • Swelling

However, once the case was reviewed, it was determined that her symptoms were due to an unrelated medical issue and not from Gatorade Zero consumption.

Gatorade Zero vs. Celsius — which is better?

As discussed, Gatorade Zero is an electrolyte drink that replenishes electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, losses.

Celsius, on the other hand, is not considered an electrolyte drink but rather an energy drink that claims to promote energy, accelerate metabolism, and burn body fat.

Let’s review the differences between these two drinks.

Gatorade ZeroCelsius
IngredientsWater, citric acid, sodium citrate, salt, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, natural flavor, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, sucrose acetate isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosin, and food dye.
Carbonated filtered water, citric acid, taurine, guarana seed extract, caffeine, green tea extract, sucralose, calcium carbonate, ascorbic acid, glucuronolactone, ginger root extract, calcium pantothenate, niacinamide, natural flavor, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, chromium chelate, biotin, beta-carotene (color), and cyanocobalamin.
Potential benefits Contains electrolytes, which may be helpful to replenish during exercise or after excessive vomiting or diarrhea. High in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, B complex vitamins, and chromium.
Potential drawbacks Contains added sodium, which is not necessary for everyday activities. It also contains artificial sweeteners and food dyes.Is high in caffeine and thus not recommended for kids. Also, it is a carbonated beverage and may cause more gas buildup, particularly for those with digestive health issues.
Caffeine contentNo caffeine.200 mg per 12 fl oz.

Finally, choosing between Gatorade Zero and Celsius depends on your specific needs and preferences. Gatorade Zero is a better option if you are looking for an electrolyte drink, whereas Celsius is more appropriate if you are looking for an energy drink.

Both drinks are low-calorie, but energy drinks should be consumed in moderation due to their high caffeine content.

FAQ

Key takeaways:

ADVERTISEMENT

Leave a reply

Your email will not be published. All fields are required.