Trying to switch to healthier alternatives while exercising and wondering if Gatorade Zero is a good option for you? Gatorade is one of the biggest brands in the sports drink industry. But is it actually healthy for you? Let’s find out.
If you are looking for a quick answer to the question of whether Gatorade Zero is good or bad for you, here you go –
Gatorade Zero is mostly recommended for athletes or for people who love to exercise every day. If you are someone who regularly drinks zero sugar beverages, and are okay with the sweetener combination here, Gatorade might be the perfect drink for you. For people who aren’t exercising for at least one hour, five days a week, water is the best drink to stay hydrated.
But there is more to it than this. Please read on to know more.
In April of 2018, PepsiCo launched its sugar-free version of Gatorade. Gatorade Zero, or G Zero, claims to have no sugar while offering athletes the same levels of hydration and energy boost as the regular Gatorade. It is specifically developed for a performance boost, and not a sugar rush. It however contains 5-10 calories per serving, so you might want to limit yourself according to your needs.
ALSO READ: Is Powerade bad for you?
Gatorade offers five different flavors with serving sizes of 12 fl oz, 16.9 fl oz, 28 fl oz, and 32 fl oz:
- Glacier Cherry
- Lemon Lime
- Glacier Freeze
It is made with the following ingredients
- Citric acid
- Sodium citrate
- Monopotassium phosphate
- Gum Arabic
- Natural flavor
- Acesulfame potassium
- Sucrose acetate isobutyrate
- Glycerol ester of rosin and food colors
G Zero does use artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
Gatorade Zero is a no-sugar product, whereas G2 is a slightly low-sugar product.
Though both contain the same amount of electrolytes as in regular Gatorade, Gatorade Zero is sweetened with only sucralose and has zero calories while G2 is sweetened with a sugar and sucralose blend and contains half the calories of the original Gatorade. Sucralose is sweeter than sugar but has no calories. Gatorade Zero is meant for athletes who want to maintain a low-carb diet.
Your body loses a lot of water and minerals while working out, or at play. These minerals are critical in maintaining the pH level of your body, and thus your overall well-being.
Gatorade Zero, like the other Gatorade drinks, helps replenish these electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. However, it does not contain sugar which is present in the other Gatorade drinks.
Experts are of the opinion that sports drinks like Gatorade have electrolytes and carbohydrates that make them a better choice for hydration than water, especially for athletes who engage in prolonged, vigorous physical activity.
Electrolytes help regulate the body’s fluid balance while carbs provide energy.
Gatorade Zero has no sugar – on paper. But it does contain an artificial sugar called Sucralose that is 400-700 times sweeter than sugar but without calories.
That does not mean it’s okay to consume large quantities of it.
Sucralose is known to interfere with the glucose and insulin levels in your body. This makes you prone to diabetes.
You also put yourself at higher risk for certain types of cancer, like Leukemia.
Finally, sucralose interferes with the gut bacteria that is responsible for digestion and ingestion. Upsetting the microbiome in your intestines can cause stomach illnesses.
Good or Bad?
Unlike Gatorade, G Zero won’t be offsetting the calorie-burning benefits of your workouts by flooding your system with a deluge of sugar. That does not make Gatorade Zero healthy. While you can notice benefits while consuming Gatorade Zero after your workouts, drinking them during other times can be detrimental to your health.
If your body is not expelling the amount of sweat it should be while consuming Gatorade Zero, the salt build-up from the electrolytes will probably make you thirstier, causing you to drink even more fluids. This results in more frequent trips to the bathroom. It’s also likely to spike your blood pressure.
In the long term, high sodium intake can contribute to many health problems. It is okay to consume Gatorade Zero in moderate quantities during or after workouts. But consuming it during other times can cause heart and stomach-related problems, diabetes, or worse, even cancer.
Just like any other energy or sports drink, Gatorade Zero is supposed to be consumed while exercising or in physical training. In such cases, G Zero might be a better alternative to water in terms of hydration.
Speaking of electrolytes, Gatorade Zero does claim to have crucial electrolytes that can help athletes in regaining what’s lost during the sweaty hours of training. Gatorade Zero has no sugar while maintaining the same proven hydration and fuelling benefits as regular Gatorade.
This can cause issues with oral hygiene though – Gatorade Zero contains phosphorus and citric acid that can eventually wear away the enamel of teeth. It can therefore weaken the enamel, but does not cause cavities.
For weight loss
Well, not exactly. People often tend to forget what energy drinks are supposed to do. They’re intended to have some amounts of sugar because your muscles need it. It is an essential nutrient to supplement to maintain the optimal performance levels of athletes.
Gatorade Zero is not associated with weight gain either. It does seem likely that it won’t entirely help you in your weight loss journey, but it won’t cause any weight gain either, or at least not hinder you in staying at the same weight. Unless you’re an athlete or exercise on a daily basis, you won’t need Gatorade Zero every day.
While it does not contain sugars, it still uses artificial sweeteners that can be harmful to your health. There is no such evidence that shows that Gatorade has any significant impact on blood pressure and resting heart rate. But here is the thing: Gatorade Zero contains 270 milligrams of sodium per serving. So, consuming a lot of the drink while you are not actually losing minerals to workouts or running could be harmful to your blood pressure in the long run.
Gatorade Zero Vs Water
Gatorade Zero is meant to be consumed by people working out and those indulging in intense athletics. The Carbohydrates and electrolytes in G Zero are essential to help these people refuel and rehydrate. Electrolytes help regulate the body’s fluid balance while carbs provide energy. From this perspective, Gatorade Zero has better hydration than water.
The Sucralose in Gatorade Zero can however trigger diarrhea in individuals with a history of bowel disorders (including Crohn’s disease, IBD, or other autoimmune disorders). Since sucralose also tends to impact the gut bacterial ecosystem in your intestines, Gatorade Zero could exacerbate diarrhea in cases when you are already suffering from related ailments.
The artificial sweeteners in Gatorade Zero are 400-700 times sweeter than sugar. This packs a lot of energy into your drink and the heightened sugar levels in your body can keep you awake for a while. Gatorade Zero does not contain caffeine, however.
Experts do not recommend Gatorade Zero, or any other sports drink, to kids. These sports drinks can cause the risk of weight gain since they will eventually boost a child’s intake of sodium and refined sugar.
In a newly born or infant, kidney function is still developing and if the child drinks a large amount of fluid that is not electrolyte-balanced, he/she could develop electrolyte imbalances.
Kids that indulge in high-energy athletic activities are encouraged to drink lots of water.
There are a lot of reasons why people with diabetes should avoid sports drinks (not just Gatorade Zero):
- Not able to keep a track of the portion
People with diabetes need to have a defined amount of nutrients like carbohydrates in their diet each day. This becomes difficult to track with Gatorade Zero.
This is not to mention the effects that G Zero has on your blood sugar levels, creating a scenario for you to become dehydrated while hydrating.
- Artificial sweeteners
Gatorade Zero uses artificial sweeteners like Sucralose in their drink. Artificial sweeteners can upset insulin levels in the body and worsen diabetic conditions.
- High Glycemic Index (GI)
Fluctuations in blood glucose can start a chain reaction within the cells that lead to frequent urination and ultimately, dehydration. So although it seems like you are hydrating your body with G Zero, these drinks might actually push you toward dehydration.
To sum it up, Gatorade Zero might not be the best option for people with diabetes. Rather, they should choose organic, real, and unprocessed drinks in order to maintain their sugar levels.
Gatorade Zero contains zero calories and is hence keto-friendly. However, it does contain artificial sweeteners. Strict ketogenic dieters may thus want to avoid G Zero.
Generally speaking, Gatorade Zero is alright for those on a low-carb diet, or practicing ‘dirty keto’. But it may not be a good option for strict keto.
A lot of Gatorade Zero consumers feel that Sucralose tends to overwhelm the flavor. One may not really be able to tell the difference between regular Gatorade and Gatorade Zero.
People who like to work out daily say they need extra electrolytes, and therefore, Gatorade Zero has been a go-to for them.
Therefore, it is highly recommended to anyone seeking to cut back on sugar but still want to enjoy the flavor. Consuming Gatorade Zero while not exercising can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and also upset your stomach.
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