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Does Gatorade Have Electrolytes? Contents Reviewed

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During prolonged physical exertion, electrolytes are lost through our sweat. For critical bodily functions to be maintained in certain exercise situations, they need to be replaced through quick and convenient methods such as electrolyte drinks.

Gatorade is a popular drink brand used by recreational and high-level athletes, but does Gatorade have electrolytes? We’ve answered this question below and also explained the situations where the consumption of electrolyte drinks is warranted.

Does Gatorade Have Electrolytes? Yes. When considering how many electrolytes are in Gatorade, the amount and composition vary according to the specific drink type. Gatorade offers high concentration electrolyte formulations and low strength drinks designed mainly for recreational use and to improve drink palatability.

Does Garotade have electrolytes

Do You Really Need Electrolyte Drinks or Powders? 

While most electrolyte brands market their products as being useful for all types and durations of activity, realistically this isn’t the case. We’ve discussed different sporting situations below and whether or not the consumption of electrolytes would be warranted. 

1. If You’re an Average Gym-goer

As an average gym enthusiast, it’s likely that you won’t be training for long enough or hard enough to warrant the consumption of electrolytes. 

The only real reason why the consumption of an electrolyte drink or powder may be considered when training for under two hours as an average gym goer would be a reluctance to drink plain water due to the taste.

In this case, a low dose of an electrolyte mix may be added to plain water to improve drink palatability and maintain hydration. 

2. If Your Training Lasts Less than 2 Hours  

If your training lasts for less than 2 hours, you likely won’t sweat enough to warrant the use of electrolytes.

However, if you’re someone who trains in protective sports gear such as American football players, this needs to be considered when thinking about overall sweat losses. Heavy gear worn during practice and competition may increase sweating. 

electrolyte drinks

When performing very high intensity exercise/competition in extremely hot/humid conditions, the use of an electrolyte drink or powder may be warranted for these populations even when exercise is under 2 hours. Consider your sport demands and environmental conditions. 

3. If You Are Exercising for at Least 2 Hours And/or in a Hot/Humid Environment With Heavy Sweating

When looking at data regarding rates of sweat loss during different exercise durations and intensities, it seems that two hours or more would be the minimum recommended threshold after which electrolyte supplementation can be justified in normal environmental conditions. 

Of course, as we mentioned above this may not be the case for some sporting events that are very high intensity and/or use a lot of protective gear.

In high humidity, more sweat losses are experienced. This is because sweat doesn’t evaporate off our skin as quickly which is how sweating usually cools us. 

For exercise bouts around or over two hours in a hot/humid environment where heavy sweating is experienced, we can safely say that the use of an electrolyte drink or powder should be used under the guidance of a professional. 

4. If You Train or Compete for 4-6 Hours or More

When too much fluid is consumed during exercise (water intake exceeds sweat loss) a decrease in blood sodium concentration is seen which can then lead to a dangerous condition known as exercise-induced hyponatremia.

Hyponatremia has been mainly observed in events lasting 4-6 hours or more, making the consumption of an electrolyte drink or powder very improtant in this population. 

Do All Gatorades Have Electrolytes? 

Yes. The Gatorade drinks contain different proportions of electrolytes depending on the specific type. The endurance range contains a large amount of electrolytes specifically formulated for endurance events while the juices range contains less electrolytes and can be used to improve drink palatability. 

preparing electrolyte drink

We’ve examined some of the powders and drinks that Gatorade offers in more detail below. We’ll look at which Gatorade has the most electrolytes and the other ingredients. 

1. Ready-To-Drink Gatorade Beverages

Gatorade offers many different beverage choices which include low-sugar, zero-calorie, protein-based, and organic ingredient options. We’ve looked at some of them below. 

  • The Gatorade Endurance drink is specifically designed for performance events where large sweat losses are experienced, containing a high amount of both carbohydrates and electrolytes. It contains 44 grams of carbs and 620 mg of sodium.
  • The Gatorade Juiced drink is more of a sport-type beverage designed for normal duration, recreational activity where profuse sweating isn’t experienced. This would also be a great choice to improve drink palatability. Each serving contains 9 grams of carbs and 160 mg of sodium. 
  • The Gatorade Original Thirst Quencher is more of a middle-ground option designed to offer a moderate amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes. This may be best suited to long-duration performance events where the sweat loss experienced isn’t very heavy or sporting events less than two hours like American football as we discussed earlier. Each serving contains 51 grams of carbs and 380 mg of sodium.
Gatorade BeverageCaloriesCarbohydratesSodiumPotassium
Endurance180 kcal44 grams620 mg280 mg
Juiced40 kcal9 grams160 mg60 mg
Thirst Quencher190 kcal51 grams380 mg110 mg

2. Gatorade Powders

Powders offer convenient options for those who prefer non-liquid hydration options that they can carry around and mix with liquids as and when they need. These are two of Gatorade’s most popular offerings: 

  • The Endurance Gatorlytes powder is specifically formulated for sporting events and exercise where profuse sweat loss is seen. Each serving contains zero carbohydrates and 780 mg of sodium. Think of ultra-endurance events in hot and/or humid conditions when using this powder.
  • The Gatorade Propel powder would work great for recreational training or gym enthusiasts who are looking to improve drink palatability without any influences on performance. Each serving contains 210 mg of sodium and zero carbohydrates.
Gatorade PowderCaloriesCarbohydratesSodiumPotassium
Endurance Gatorlytes0 kcal0 grams780 mg400 mg
Propel Powder0 kcal0 grams210 mg70 mg

For most average gym goers, it’s hard to understand the differences between electrolyte supplements and sports drinks. Most brands use generalized marketing without specific guidelines which makes it difficult to know which one is best to use for specific sporting events.

athlete drinks electrolytes

Electrolyte powders contain a high concentration of electrolytes with little to no carbohydrates making them specifically formulated for events where large sweat losses are experienced. Sports drinks contain a lower concentration of electrolytes with a larger amount of carbohydrates to help maintain or improve performance with some rehydration offered

Is It Okay to Drink Gatorade Like Water?

Electrolyte supplements and sports drinks such as Gatorade are not meant for this purpose. They have electrolytes and carbohydrates which are meant to replenish energy and electrolytes lost in sweat during activity. Gatorade is appropriate to consume during/after vigorous, long duration exercise, especially in hot/humid conditions.

While most companies market their sports drinks and electrolyte supplements as being needed for all sporting events, in reality, they should only really be considered in the situations listed above, and summarized below. 

For these reasons, stick to drinking water and only consider using Gatorade in the specific situations listed below:

  1. Events around or over 1-2 hours where heavy gear is worn such as American football or hockey
  2. Events lasting more than 1-2 hours in hot and/or humid conditions where profound sweating is experienced 
  3. Ultra-endurance events lasting 4+ hours such as triathlons and ultra-marathons

*Make sure to use the advice of an experienced sports nutritionist when considering the use of electrolyte supplements for any sporting events. They will be able to help you formulate a personalized nutrition plan for your specific hydration needs.

Our Recommended Sports Drink

Gatorade G2 Thirst Quencher

garotade electrolyte drink
  • Serving Size: 16.9fl oz ready-to-drink bottle
  • Ideal for: Pre, during, or post workouts
  • Sodium per serving: 230mg
  • Value of vitamins per serving: 100% daily value of vitamins A, C, B3, B5, B6

The Gatorade G2 Thirst Quenchers contain a lower amount of carbohydrates and sodium, making them well-suited to average gym goers and fitness enthusiasts looking for a well-balanced sports drink when sweat losses are experienced as described above. 

Each 360 ml bottle contains 30 calories, 8 grams of carbs, and 160 mg sodium which is half the sugar of the original thirst quencher drinks. The drinks come in five different flavors and can be purchased in a mix-and-match variety pack.

Our Recommended Ready-to-use Electrolyte Powder

Transparent Labs Hydrate

transparent labs hydrate
  • Form: Powder
  • Flavors: Tropical Punch, Peach Mango
  • Key Ingredients: Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium
  • Additional Ingredients: Coconut Water Powder, Taurine
  • Package Information: 304g
  • Servings: 40
  • Price Per Serving: ~$0.75
  • Company Founded: 2012
  • Recommended by athletes: Paul Sklar, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson

Transparent Labs Hydrate is a zero-carb, high-sodium Electrolyte Powder designed for high-intensity, long-duration sporting events in hot/humid conditions where large sweat losses are experienced. 

transparent labs Hydrate

While this means the Hydrate powder isn’t suitable for recreational fitness enthusiasts, the concentration of electrolytes can be adjusted by dividing the serving size and diluting it into a larger volume of plain water. 

Each serving contains 500 mg sodium, 500 mg coconut water, and 1 gram of taurine as the main ingredients. No artificial flavors, colorings, or preservatives have been used. Each tub contains 40 servings and comes in three different flavors.

FAQ

Does Gatorade Actually Give You Electrolytes?

Gatorade is an electrolyte-containing drink that helps to replace electrolytes lost during high-intensity, long-duration exercise. It contains key electrolytes such as sodium and potassium which are lost through sweat and urine that are needed to maintain bodily functions. 

Is Gatorade Better Than Water for Electrolytes?

Gatorade is a drink supplement designed to be consumed when water alone cant replenish the electrolytes lost during exercise 

Gatorade should be drunk as and when needed according to the type and length of activity being undertaken. This would mainly include high-intensity, long-duration exercise in hot and humid conditions. For general, short-duration exercise, water would be a better option. 

Is Gatorade Healthy?

Gatorade is not considered to be unhealthy, but it does contain high amounts of sugar and salt. If you regularly consume Gatorade without actually losing electrolytes, this may be considered unhealthy due to the excess amount on top of what your body actually needs for that situation.

What Electrolytes Are in Gatorade?

The two main electrolytes in Gatorade are sodium and potassium. These are two of the most important ones lost in sweat which need to be replaced due to their roles in muscle function and hydration.

Conclusion

Gatorade offers a wide range of beverages and powders that have been specifically formulated for different sporting events and uses. They offer several product ranges containing different proportions of carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Some of their products contain large amounts of electrolytes specifically formulated for high-intensity, long-duration events where large sweat losses are experienced. Others contain little to no electrolytes with some carbohydrates which can be used to improve drink palatability or for recreational exercise. 
Do you drink Gatorade? Is Gatorade a good source of electrolytes? Let us know your experiences from using the different product ranges below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Isha Shrimanker, Sandeep Bhattarai. Electrolytes. PubMed. Published 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/#:~:text=Electrolytes%20are%20essential%20for%20basic
  2. Gatorade. Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatorade (Accessed January 16, 2024)
  3. Kelly A. Barnes, Melissa Anderson, John R. Stofan, Kourtney J Dalrymple, Adam J. Reimel, Timothy J. Roberts, “Normative data for sweating rate, sweat sodium concentration, and sweat sodium loss in athletes: An update and analysis by sport,” Journal of Sports Sciences 37, no.20 (2019):2356-2366. doi:10.1080/02640414.2019.1633159
  4. Susan M. Shirreffs, Michael N. Sawka, “Fluid and electrolyte needs for training, competition, and recovery,” Journal of Sports Sciences 29 (2011):S39-S46. doi:10.1080/02640414.2011.614269
  5. Ahmad Munir Che Muhamed, Kerry Atkins,  Stephen R. Stannard, Toby Mündel, Martin W.Thompson, “The effects of a systematic increase in relative humidity on thermoregulatory and circulatory responses during prolonged running exercise in the heat,” Temperature 3, no.3 (2016):455-464. doi:10.1080/23328940.2016.1182669
  6. Beat Knechtle, Daniela Chlíbková, Sousana Papadopoulou, Maria Mantzorou, Thomas Rosemann, Pantelis T. Nikolaidis, “Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia in Endurance and Ultra-Endurance Performance-Aspects of Sex, Race Location, Ambient Temperature, Sports Discipline, and Length of Performance: A Narrative Review,” Medicine 55, no.9 (2019):537. doi:10.3390/medicina55090537

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David Sasha Schulz avatar

Author: David Sasha Schulz
Doctor of Chiropractic, BSc Human Biology, CSCS

Chiropractor – 4 years
Strength coach (CSCS) – 10 years

Sasha is a Chiropractor and Kinesiologist practicing in Kelowna, BC, Canada. He has been practicing Chiropractic since 2019, integrating manual therapy, strength training and programming principles, and nutritional strategies to get his patients optimal results. He currently scratches the competitive itch in fitness, and the occasional endurance race, and plays golf and snowboards for fun. He has an interest in all strength and fitness-related sports.

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