Is Powerade Zero Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis

Is Powerade Zero Bad for You? An Ingredient Analysis

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Powerade Zero is the zero-calorie version of the popular sports nutrition drink Powerade. The brand describes this product as containing "50% more electrolytes vs the leading sports drink."

But what electrolytes are in Powerade Zero and can they enhance performance? Are there any unhealthy additive ingredients that make Powerade Zero bad for you? How does Powerade Zero compare to other zero-calorie sports drinks in terms of healthiness? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of Powerade Zero?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Powerade Zero based on clinical studies to give our take on whether or not the popular sports drink is bad for you.

We'll feature unsponsored customer reviews and compare Powerade Zero to other popular sports drinks to give our pick on which is healthier.

Ingredient Analysis

Powerade Zero Fruit Punch ingredients

The ingredients in the Fruit Punch flavor of Powerade Zero are shown above.

Sodium and potassium are the only ingredients listed on the Nutrition Facts label, at respective doses of 250 milligrams (mg) and 80 mg per serving.

Electrolyte-enhanced drinks can optimize athletic performance according to a medical review published in the Nutrients journal, because they sustain endurance and may enhance recovery.

But the inactive ingredients make Powerade Zero not worth the potential benefits from the electrolytes in our opinion.

Citric acid is shown to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals according to a series of case reports published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical term that fails to document the specific flavoring agents used, and as we discussed in our article on is Vitamin Water good for you, some flavoring ingredients and their metabolites may be harmful to human health according to at least one medical review.

Sucralose and acesulfame potassium are artificial sweeteners, the former of which is clinically shown to have negative effects on insulin levels.

Red 40 is an artificial colorant shown in a 2012 medical review to be contaminated with cancer-causing compounds in some cases.

Overall, we consider Powerade Zero to be bad for you based on these additive ingredients. 

But how does it compare to other zero-calorie sports nutrition drinks? We'll discuss that in the next section of this article.

Powerade Zero vs. the Competition

BodyArmor Lyte and Gatorade Zero are two of the most popular zero-calorie sports drinks on the market.

Here's how they stack up to Powerade Zero in terms of healthiness in our opinion:

BodyArmor Lyte

Contains citric acid and synthetic vitamins, but is free of artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors.

Provides a higher per-serving dose of magnesium and potassium, both minerals that we consider Americans more likely to be deficient in than sodium (which is included in many processed foods)

Winner: BodyArmor Lyte

Gatorade Zero

Very similar formulation to Powerade Zero. Contains citric acid, artificial sweeteners and artificial color.

However, as we documented in our article on does Gatorade Zero have electrolytes, the electrolyte dose in Gatorade Zero per-serving is lower than that in Powerade Zero.

Winner: Powerade Zero

Is Gatorade or Powerade Better for Dehydration?

A YouTube creator named Dr. Eric Berg has a video discussing whether Gatorade or Powerade is a better option for dehydration:

Our Clean Electrolyte Pick

Promix Electrolyte Drink Mix is our top electrolyte pick.

This product contains the electrolytes sodium (from Himalayan pink salt), potassium and magnesium.

Most importantly, there are no unhealthy additives or flavorings, making this the one of the cleanest electrolyte formulations that we've reviewed to date.

Interested consumers can check out Promix Electrolyte Drink Mix at this link to the product page on the brand's official website, where it's retailing for under $0.75 per serving at the time of updating this article.

Real People Try Powerade Zero

A YouTube creator named "JasonDunna" has a video testing the Fruit Punch flavor of Powerade Zero:

A YouTube creator named Jadon W has a video testing how Powerade Zero affects blood glucose levels:

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews


Powerade Zero is not good for you in our opinion.

This sports drink does contain electrolytes, and the fact that it's zero-sugar may make it a better option for diabetics than regular Powerade, but it also contains a host of questionable additives like artificial color and artificial sweeteners.

We consider BodyArmor Lyte to have a healthier formulation than Powerade Zero, but Powerade Zero to have a slightly superior formulation to Gatorade Zero due to its increase electrolyte levels.

In this article, we featured a video that discusses whether Powerade or Gatorade is a better option for dehydration, and two real user reviews of Powerade Zero.

While electrolytes can enhance athletic performance, just drinking water during exercise seems like it would be sufficient for the average American who is not training in extreme conditions or to extreme intensity.