Is Powerade Good Or Bad For You? We Find Out


Touted as a sports drink, Powerade is consumed even by the average, non-sporting person. While the efficiency of Powerade in enhancing performance among sports players is ambiguous, is the consumption of it good or bad for one and all? Let’s find out.

What’s the difference between Gatorade and Powerade

Gatorade was developed as a sports drink in 1965 by Stokely-Van Camp. In 1983, the brand was acquired by Quaker Oats Company, which was later bought over by PepsiCo in 2000. Gatorade is presently the fourth-largest brand under the PepsiCo umbrella.

On the other hand, Powerade was launched as a sports beverage by The Coca-Cola Company in 1988. In the same year, it became the official sports drink of the Olympics along with another Coca-Cola product – Aquarius.

Both Powerade and Gatorade offer a slew of products such as water and freezer bars in a plethora of refreshing flavors to provide hydration and replace electrolytes lost during workouts and through sweating.

Gatorade contains 45 milligrams of potassium and 160 milligrams of sodium as opposed to 35 milligrams of potassium and 150 milligrams of sodium in Powerade. This makes Gatorade marginally more efficient in replenishing electrolytes.

While Powerade gets its sweet taste from high-fructose corn syrup, Gatorade gets it from regular sugar. Other ingredients are just about the same. Even the nutritional value of both brands is relatively similar, although Powerade is claimed to contain more micronutrients and vitamin B.

Powerade Ingredients

The brand’s product range encompasses sports drinks, zero sugar drinks, power water, and freezer bars. The products provide hydration and electrolytes such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They also provide vitamins B2 and B6.

The principal ingredients across products are

  • high fructose sugar syrup
  • water
  • salt
  • sugar
  • phenylalanine
  • malic acid
  • added colors and flavors

There is no sugar in Powerade Zero and Powerade Power Water, however.

Does Powerade give you energy?

Powerade sports drink provides the required carbohydrate supplement through sucrose and maltodextrin present in it. It contains 28.6 grams of net carbohydrates in a serving of 12 fluid ounces or 365 grams.

How many Calories in Powerade

A serving of 12 fluid ounces of Powerade contains 116.8 calories. Further, for a diet consisting of 2000 calorie intake a day, Powerade provides 10 percent of vitamin requirement encompassing B-Complex vitamins, B-3, B-6, and B-12 that increase oxygen levels in the blood.

The nutritional requirements of an athlete who does a laborious physical workout demand higher consumption of carbohydrates and calories. The nutrients help in maintaining muscle mass and are burned out during exercise.

However, if a non-sporting person consumes excess carbohydrates and calories through Powerade over and above their regular diet, it would lead to higher blood sugars, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

Does Powerade contain electrolytes?

Powerade consists of four electrolytes –

  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

These components maintain hydration levels in addition to blood volume, sweat rate, and blood flow in the muscles.

Electrolytes are chemical components that conduct electrical activity in the body. They are vital for proper nervous and muscular functions. They also keep the body hydrated.

Powerade provides quick hydration and refueling of electrolytes. Its isotonic ingredients are said to be easily ingestible and absorbable into the bloodstream. 

Excessive consumption of electrolytes and overhydration could be detrimental to health, however – even if you are an athlete. While increased electrolyte levels can cause cramps, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, coma, and cardiac arrest, overhydration can weaken electrolyte levels and cause seizures.

A non-athlete with a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t have to consume electrolyte water in everyday life. One can go natural and consider healthier options like plain water, coconut water, fruits, and lemonade. 

Does Powerade Zero have electrolytes?

Powerade Zero incorporates the ion4 advanced electrolyte system that provides sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Although the product is free of sugar, caffeine, and calories, high levels of sodium are surely not recommended even for intense workouts. Meanwhile, the artificial sweeteners and colors in Powerade Zero add to its detrimental value. These elements are known to cause insulin resistance and other health problems.

It is advisable that athletes don’t go overboard on the consumption of Powerade Zero on the excuse that it is sugar-free. For non-athletes, it is a sure no-no.

Does Powerade have caffeine?

Sports drinks are not known to contain caffeine as their purpose is to provide electrolytes, hydration, and vitamins. Powerade Fuel+ is an exception. It is formulated as a hybrid sports drink to include electrolytes and caffeine. The product contains 96 milligrams of caffeine per 300 milliliters.

Caffeine is beneficial in sports performance, alertness, and brain functions, but too much of it can cause increased heart and breathing rate, restlessness, stomach upset, headaches, and frequent urination. 

Does Powerade have a lot of sugar?

Powerade contains a whopping 21 grams of sugar in a serving of 12 fluid ounces. With most people consuming much over 12 ounces every day, the sugar being ingested through Powerade alone is astonishingly high.

The ill-effects of sugar consumption are well established. It is known to increase inflammation, disease risk, obesity, and heart disease, only to name a few.

The sugar levels in Powerade are excessive even for athletes. With an increasing number of athletes and fitness aficionados suffering from sudden death syndrome and sudden cardiac arrests, it is wise to avoid Powerade for its undue sugar content. Non-athletes should also abstain from such alarming sugar consumption and switch to naturally occurring sugar sources like fruits and milk.

Does Powerade Zero have sugar in it?

Is Powerade Zero actually sugar-free? Actually not. It contains artificial sweeteners, sucralose, and acesulfame K.

Although the use of artificial sweeteners is tested and regulated, it is best to avoid them as they are linked to weight gain, seizures, headaches, and dizziness. Sucralose is known to increase inflammation in the body, while acesulfame K which contains carcinogen methylene chloride can cause kidney, visual, and liver issues, cancer, mental disorder, and depression.

Does Powerade contain gluten?

All Powerade products and their flavors are gluten-free. None of the ingredients are derived from grains or flour.

A big yes for celiacs as the product is gluten-free.

Does Powerade contain Magnesium?

A bottle of Powerade contains 1.2 milligrams of magnesium. This electrolyte element along with calcium is what sets Powerade apart from Gatorade.

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that regulates several bodily functions besides maintaining blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It also helps in the composition of bone, protein, and DNA.

The magnesium content in Powerade is safe as it is much below the daily recommended value of 400-420 milligrams.

Does Powerade contain Aspartame

Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener that is used in place of sugar in foods and beverages. It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose. It can cause cell damage in various body organs and lead to several serious health problems. However, Powerade does not contain aspartame.

However, Powerade does include other artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame K. They are highly toxic and are linked to the risk of cancer, besides increasing sweet cravings and addiction.

Does Powerade contain Phosphorus

Powerade consists of phosphorus in the form of mono-potassium phosphate and potassium citrate. The composition is 3.7 milligrams for a serving of 365 grams.

The relevance of phosphorus to the human body is in its role in the formation of bones and teeth. It is also required in the repair and maintenance of cells and tissues. A deficiency of phosphorus can cause fragile bones, fatigue, and irregular breathing. This makes it a vital nutrient for athletes whose performance depends on strong bone and muscle mass, and quick recovery from exertions.

Does Powerade contain Iron

Powerade contains an insignificant amount of iron. The portion of iron in a serving of 12 fluid ounces of Powerade is only 0.3 milligram.

Iron is an important mineral for the human body. It is required for the making of hemoglobin and for the transmission of oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body.

For efficient working of the muscles during workouts, a high level of oxygen in the bloodstream is imperative. Iron deficiency causes anemia and fatigue. Therefore, it can be inferred that the amount of iron provided by Powerade is meager. 

Does Powerade contain dairy?

The ingredients list on Powerade products does not indicate the presence of any dairy substance. Nevertheless, the absence of dairy and animal products in Powerade makes it palatable for vegans.

Does Powerade contain fruit juices?

Powerade is a synthetically prepared sports drink. It does not contain any fruit. It is however available in fruit flavors such as grape, strawberry, mango, lemon, and orange.

It surely isn’t a killer idea to opt for Powerade if you are looking for a fruit drink. Not only does Powerade fail on the naturality value, it also contains artificial flavoring agents that can cause allergic reactions and other health risks.

How much creatine is in Powerade Ultra?

Powerade Ultra is one of the products in the Powerade line-up. It contains 50 percent more additional electrolytes than the classic Powerade. The product also includes creatine and amino acids.

As per the product label of Powerade Ultra, the composition of creatine is less than one percent in a serving of 20 fluid ounces. This would translate to five to eight milligrams.

Creatine is helpful in improving strength and maintaining muscle mass, which makes it a good compound for athletes. As per medical recommendation, consuming up to 10 grams of creatine for about five years is safe. Overconsumption could lead to muscle cramps, dehydration, and weight gain. 

For this reason, athletes should exercise caution if they are consuming Powerade Ultra regularly. Non-athletes do not require creatine supplementation. One can acquire it through natural food sources like red meat and fish.

Can you drink Powerade when you are pregnant?

Powerade contains electrolytes and essential nutrients that may help pregnant women in managing morning sickness and leg cramps. It would also maintain hydration levels, which is crucial for pregnant women.

However, the abundance of sugar in Powerade can cause gestational diabetes. Further, the artificial flavors and colors can cause chromosomal damage to the fetus’ DNA in addition to other birth defects. Pregnant women can choose natural products like dairy, fruits, vegetables, and water for their electrolyte and nutrient requirements.

Can babies and toddlers drink Powerade? 

There is no reason for babies and toddlers to consume a sports drink. Powerade contains considerable amounts of electrolytes that are not good for the kids. Besides, the overwhelming amount of sugar can cause tooth decay and obesity. The caffeine and artificial elements too can disrupt sleep and trigger hyperactive behavior.

It is sensible to keep it simple and natural for babies and toddlers. Water, milk, coconut water, and fruit juice are the best options.

Can you drink Powerade while breastfeeding?

Electrolytes in Powerade could help to breastfeed women by improving lactation and hydration. However, it may cause sugar spikes and higher insulin resistance during postpartum. Artificial flavors and coloring can also hinder recovery after childbirth.

Breastfeeding women can consume natural grains, fruits, and vegetables for carbohydrates and vitamins, and stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water.

Can dogs drink Powerade?

The only element in Powerade that dogs would need is electrolytes. But allowing dogs to drink Powerade when they are dehydrated would be a blunder.

Sugar in Powerade can lead to weight gain in dogs, while caffeine consumption could be fatal. While a few sips of Powerade are safe, water is perfect to hydrate dogs. In serious cases of rehydration, pet-specific hydrating drinks should be chosen. 

How many Powerades is it safe to consume?

It is important to be aware that Powerade is a sports drink intended to be used by athletes during intense physical activity. It is recommended that athletes get most of their nutritional requirements and hydration from a natural diet and water.

There are a few reasons why daily or frequent consumption of Powerade is not advisable.

  • Ingesting electrolytes on a daily basis through supplementation can cause an imbalance, leading to shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat and dizziness.
  • Increased vitamin B intake above recommended levels leads to kidney problems.
  • High sugar consumption causes depression, obesity, diabetes, increased cellular ageing and risk of cancer and heart diseases.
  • Overconsumption of sodium can cause kidney damage and high blood pressure.

An athlete can safely opt for Powerade only during intense and laborious workouts, or for rehydration. Moderation is the key. On a daily basis, an athlete can maintain hydration through the deluge of natural options available. For optimum energy levels, one can follow a natural diet rich in minerals, proteins, and vitamins.

Powerade consumption should not become an addiction or abuse. The product is not meant for a non-athlete at all. So, if you are a non-athlete, explore nature’s basket!

Powerade – Effects on Health

The benefits and adverse effects of the different components of Powerade for athletic and non-athletic people have been discussed.

Well, holistically, is Powerade good or bad for your health?

According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overconsumption of Powerade can lead to higher salt levels in the body, which in turn can cause high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.

Let’s now examine Powerade’s effects on health through the following classification.


If not consumed in moderation, a higher intake of electrolytes can cause vomiting and diarrhea.


Powerade is not known to cause constipation. In fact, the electrolytes in it maintain hydration levels and enable smooth muscle functions that alleviate constipation.


High levels of sugar and sodium cause inflammation and increase gout risk in users.

High blood pressure

A spike in blood pressure is one of the chief risks of consuming Powerade owing to the high presence of sodium and other electrolytes.


A common side effect of drinking Powerade is frequent urination, which leads to urinary tract infections.

Stomach cramps

Powerade does not cause stomach cramps. Overconsumption would result in electrolyte imbalance, which may cause stomach cramps.

Kidney stones

A high composition of calcium, potassium, and sodium in Powerade could cause the formation of kidney stones.

Acid reflux

Powerade can cause an imbalance of acid in the stomach by easing the esophagus. Further, the pH of Powerade is only 2.77 as compared to the pH of water which is 7.

Heart palpitation

When electrolytes in the body are not in optimal balance, they can cause irregular heartbeat. Also, taurine – a type of amino acid in Powerade can cause heart palpitation, arrhythmia, and cardiac complications.


Anand Srinivasan
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