electrolytebased on beverages such as dialysate and Gatorade Designed to help you rehydrate when your body loses water. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, they have slightly different approaches to moisturizing.
Pedialyte has traditionally been used as an over-the-counter rehydration therapy to treat minor ailments in young children, while Gatorade is known for its athletic endurance properties for athletes. The best choice will vary from person to person and situation, whether you’re sick, hangover, working out hard, or just looking to get more hydrated.
This article discusses the differences between Pedialyte and Gatorade and when they can be used.
Pedialyte and Gatorade
Electrolytes are minerals that the body needs for energy and to fight dehydration. Electrolyte-enhancing beverages like Pedialyte and Gatorade help replace fluids and electrolytes lost through bodily processes like sweating and urination.
While most people get plenty of electrolytes from their daily diet, electrolyte-based beverages can provide motivation for those feeling exhausted in certain situations, including:
- With increased physical activity
- after drinking too much
- during or after an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea
Both Pedialyte and Gatorade contain water, some form of sugar, and electrolytes such as sodium and Potassium.
Both beverages come in a variety of flavors and are thought to be more effective at hydrating than regular water due to the added electrolytes.
The main difference between the two drinks is their nutritional content. The calorie, carbohydrate, and electrolyte content of these beverages may vary slightly.
Generally, Pedialyte contains less sugar and carbohydrate Compared to traditional Gatorade, although the number of Gatorade Zero and G2 versions is reduced.
Both drinks are designed to hydrate, but in slightly different ways. Ultimately, Pedialyte typically contains more electrolytes (good for conditions that cause vomiting or diarrhea), while traditional Gatorade typically contains more sugar (good for athletes who engage in vigorous exercise).
As with other foods and beverages, it’s worth checking the nutrition label before consuming any electrolyte-based beverage.
Gatorade traditionally contains higher amounts of sugar, sodium and calories because the product is aimed at athletes who benefit from these ingredients during and after prolonged exercise. But for ordinary people (especially children) who don’t engage in vigorous exercise, regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to obesity and other health problems.
Pedialyte contains a mixture of water, glucose (sugar) and electrolytes. Some versions also include the added electrolyte zinc, which aids electrolyte absorption and can reduce diarrhea.
Beverages such as Pedialyte and Gatorade are composed of electrolytes sodium and potassium, sugar, water, and other ingredients. If you’re concerned about your added sugar intake, check the nutrition label, although this may actually benefit the performance of high-endurance athletes.
Electrolytes are minerals necessary for the body to function properly. These charged minerals attract water, help the body regulate fluid levels, maintain muscle contractions, and stabilize the body’s pH balance.
The six electrolytes your body needs are:
Electrolytes are regularly lost through bodily functions such as sweat, urine, feces, and vomit, and are then replenished through food and drink. However, if more water leaves the body than enters it, dehydration can occur. This can happen with strenuous exercise, a hangover, or diarrhea.
What is an electrolyte imbalance?
That’s why some people may benefit from an extra electrolyte boost, including athletes, people who work outdoors in high heat, or those who suffer from illness or dehydration-related headaches.
Electrolyte replacement may also be useful for older adults, young children, or pregnant women with severe morning sickness (if approved by a healthcare provider).
risk of dehydration
Mild dehydration usually causes no major or noticeable symptoms other than thirst. But moderate to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances can be life-threatening. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice the following symptoms:
- laborious breathing
- increased heart rate
- weakness or unusual fatigue
Which one is the best?
Both Pedialyte and Gatorade can work well in different situations, depending on the person and the reason for rehydration. Keep in mind that an individual’s hydration needs may vary based on health conditions and activity levels.
Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine, which depletes electrolytes and leads to dehydration. That’s why it’s important to get fluids back into your body when you get a hangover after a night of drinking.
While electrolyte drinks are not hangover cures, they can help with rehydration. Since Pedialyte generally contains less sugar and extra zinc, it may be a better choice for people with hangover-induced vomiting, diarrhea, or headaches.
In general, staying hydrated is important, and some studies suggest that electrolyte drinks can help you stay hydrated for longer.
The combination of sugar, sodium, and calories in Gatorade not only hydrates, but also slows the process of emptying your stomach and urinating. This helps the body stay hydrated for longer.
Any illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea can cause a rapid loss of electrolytes.Earlier research found that Gatorade and Pedialyte is effective in treating dehydrated adults with viral digestive disorders.
However, keep in mind that the original Gatorade formula may have higher sugar levels, which often make diarrhea worse. In this case, it’s best to stick to low-sugar options like Pedialyte, especially for children and older adults who may not be able to handle the extra sugar.
Best choice for stomach
When you’re sick, any fluid is better than nothing. Perhaps the best option is to choose a drink that your stomach can tolerate.
Sports drinks not only replenish electrolytes lost through sweating, but also provide carbohydrate energy to your muscles during exercise.
Gatorade is for athletes. In adults, Gatorade’s higher carbohydrate content helps support high-endurance activity during 90-minute training sessions and reduces the chance of muscle cramps. While Gatorade is useful for physically active children, you might consider G2 or Gatorade Zero Sugar as low-sugar options.
Whether it’s a hangover, illness, core workouts, or not drinking enough throughout the day, electrolytes are key to rehydration. Ultimately, whether Pedialyte or Gatorade is the best choice for each situation is up to the individual (and possibly their healthcare provider).
Regardless of which beverage is ultimately best for you, experts agree that staying hydrated and avoiding dehydration is critical.
- Recovery from illness, especially for young children and the elderly
- Situations that require extra electrolytes instead of extra sugar and carbohydrates
Consider Gatorade when:
- You are an athlete looking to rehydrate after a heavy sweat
- You can benefit from extra sugar and carbs
Pedialyte and Gatorade help rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes, minerals necessary for the body to function properly. Some people turn to electrolyte-replenishing drinks when they have a hangover, are sick, exercise vigorously, or just want to rehydrate.
In general, if you’re looking for hydration due to illness for extra electrolyte levels, Pedialyte may be the best choice, while Gatorade may be best for exercise or similar due to added sugar and calories.
Everyone’s water and electrolyte needs depend on several factors, including your health, activity level, diet, environment, and whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have further questions or concerns about adding or removing electrolyte drinks from your diet, especially if your health may be affected by these changes, it is worth consulting your healthcare provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do electrolytes do?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that the human body depends on for survival. They help support important bodily functions such as fluid regulation, muscle contraction and pH balance.
What other beverages contain electrolytes?
If you’re looking for an electrolyte boost, there are a few different options. In addition to Pedialyte and Gatorade, you can choose from other sports drinks, alkaline ionized water, coconut water, water bottle dissolving tablets, and more.
How does Pedialyte work?
Pedialyte replenishes electrolytes that may be lost due to dehydration. Sugar helps pull electrolytes (sodium and potassium) into the body, while water helps keep you hydrated.