Powerade

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Sports drink: sodium, potassium and carbohydrates

Athletes need salt. When you exercise, your body needs to have its electrolytes replaced. Products such as Powerade are effective in replacing electrolytes. Is Powerade good for you? And is there a healthier alternative?

Research

To answer my question, I looked at the nutrition information of Powerade and its ingredients list. Powerade contains sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates in the form of sugars. Powerade may contain high-fructose corn syrup.

Tip:This depends on the country where you live. In other countries, it may contain other forms of sugar instead.

Nutrition facts for Powerade

Serving size  8 fl oz (about 1 cup)
Fat           0
Sodium        100 mg  4%
Potassium     24 mg   1%
Carbohydrates 19 g    6%

Good for you?

Muscular male athlete in training

As a personal trainer, I consider Powerade a good product for athletes who replacing electrolytes due to strenuous or vigorous exercise. It is not a healthy drink to consume all the time.

However:For athletes, who are in critical need of salt replacement, Powerade and similar products are useful.

When engaging in vigorous exercise, your need for electrolytes is far more critical than reducing your sugar intake. In most other situations, reducing your sugar intake is more important.

High-fructose corn syrup

Caution: exclamation mark

High-fructose corn syrup causes health problems. It is unclear how much worse than sugar it is. One drink I like to buy is Powerade. I wondered if Powerade contains high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Note:Powerade often contains high-fructose corn syrup. Written in February, 2012.

I visited my local store and bought a bottle of Fruit Punch flavored Powerade. It was the regular kind: not the zero-calorie kind. It lists high-fructose corn syrup on its ingredient list. I live in the western United States.

Steps

Other countries. I researched Powerade's sugar contents further. I found it contains no high-fructose corn syrup in Australia, New Zealand and New Guinea. Ingredients also vary by country.

Powerade: Wikipedia

I found that Powerade likely contains high-fructose corn syrup if you live in the United States. My test showed that it does. It does not contain high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in Australia.

Tip:Powerade is only useful if you are an athlete needing to replace your electrolytes due to vigorous exercise.

But:It is an unhealthy drink in other situations due to its HFCS content. It is best to avoid excess HFCS.

Needed?

Man with muscular back wearing tank top

In terms of physical fitness, drinks like Powerade are a low priority. I exercise nearly every day, but my workouts are fairly short—less than an hour. This means that I do not need to carefully replace my electrolytes.

For those of us who are not endurance athletes and who do not exercise outdoors, drinks like Powerade are not necessary. They instead add excess calories to your diet in the form of sugar.

But:For endurance athletes, marathon runners and people who exercise outdoors in hot weather, this sort of beverage is more useful.

Water is important for physical health: H2O

One article in The New York Times provides guidance about sports drinks like Powerade and Gatorade. The author states that sports drinks are only needed for top athletes and during very long periods of exercise.

Sports drinks serve a purpose among elite athletes and those who exercise for long periods. But for those who exercise at a moderate intensity for an hour or less, water is probably the better choice.

The Claim: For Better Hydration

Diet soda

Question

Should diet soda, or even no-calorie sweetened sports drinks, be used by bodybuilders? Medical research finds that the more of these artificially sweetened drinks, like diet soda, we drink, the more fat we gain.

Diet Soda, Bodybuilding

Summary

Powerade is effective only for the purpose it is intended. If you exercising, it is useful for replacing electrolytes. In other times in your life, I would skip it. Powerade would be no better than sugary sodas.

Also:Certain other beverages, such as orange juice, can be used as sports supplements. This has been studied in medical research.

Orange Juice, Exercise
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