{"id":556912509001,"title":"Is Pedialyte Actually Healthy? An Ingredient Review","created_at":"2022-09-03T23:53:20-04:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Is Pedialyte Actually Healthy? An Ingredient Review\",\n \"keywords\": \"pedialyte, pedialyte popsicles, pedialyte freezer pops, pedialyte flavors, is pedialyte good for you, pedialyte drink, pedialyte popsicle, pedialyte pops, pedialyte ice pops, pedialyte for dehydration, pedialyte organic\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team analyzes the ingredients in Pedialyte's most popular products based on medical studies to give our take on whether the popular hydration drinks are actually healthy. We share our questions about whether 'hydration drinks' even make sense as a product category.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-pedialyte-actually-healthy\",\n\"author\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"creator\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"Calloway Cook\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/calloway-cook\",\n \"sameAs\": \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/calloway-cook\/\",\n \"jobTitle\": \"President\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"entrepreneurship, dietary supplements, herbal supplements, eCommerce, medical research\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": \"S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University\"\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"editor\": {\n \"@type\": \"Person\",\n \"name\": \"DJ Mazzoni\",\n \"honorificSuffix\": [\n \"M.S.\",\n \"R.D.\",\n \"C.D.N.\",\n \"C.S.C.S.\"\n ],\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/dj-mazzoni\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/in\/dj-mazzoni-rd-cdn-cscs-00a33038\/\",\n \"http:\/\/djmazzoni.com\/\"\n ],\n \"jobTitle\": \"Medical Reviewer\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"food, nutrition, health, wellness, microbiome, exercise, workouts, strength and conditioning, probiotics, metabolism, obesity, weight loss, science, medical research, clinical trials, cardiovascular health, diet\",\n \"alumniOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"EducationalOrganization\",\n \"name\": [\n \"State University of New York College Oswego\",\n \"D’Youville College\"\n ]\n },\n \"memberOf\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n }\n},\n\"image\": {\n\"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n\"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Pedialyte_Thumbnail.png?v=1662348151\",\n\"width\": \"3306\",\n\"height\": \"3306\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/34578811\/\", \n\"https:\/\/www.cedars-sinai.org\/health-library\/diseases-and-conditions\/d\/dehydration.html\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6213308\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30535090\/#:~:text=Results%3A%20Individuals%20assigned%20to%20sucralose,group%20(P%3D%200.04).\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5464538\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3620743\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20036729\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.fda.gov\/media\/117402\/download\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/32031079\/\",\n\"https:\/\/www.ams.usda.gov\/sites\/default\/files\/media\/Flavors%20nonsynthetic%202%20TR.pdf\",\n\"https:\/\/fdc.nal.usda.gov\/fdc-app.html#\/food-details\/170174\/nutrients\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-gatorlyte-actually-healthy\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"dehydration\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"added sugar\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"citric acid\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"artificial food dyes\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"preservatives\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"FDA\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-09-03\",\n\"copyrightHolder\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\"\n},\n\"publisher\": {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Illuminate Labs\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/\",\n \"description\": \"Illuminate Labs is the most transparent supplement company in the U.S., and is a leading publisher of research-based health information.\",\n \"knowsAbout\": \"supplements, science, nutrition, exercise, health, medication, pharmaceutical, wellness, diet, weight loss, medical research\",\n \"publishingPrinciples\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/pages\/editorial-guidelines\",\n \"memberOf\": [\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"U.S. Chamber of Commerce\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.uschamber.com\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Certified B Corp\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.bcorporation.net\/en-us\/\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Organization\",\n \"name\": \"Natural Products Association\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/www.npanational.org\/\"\n }\n ], \n \"logo\": {\n \"@type\": \"ImageObject\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Illuminate_Labs_Favicon_48x48_7595c3cc-e27b-47b8-a4fe-edcc7ed9b29a.png?v=1666502785\", \n \"width\": 48,\n \"height\": 48\n},\n \"foundingDate\": \"2019-01-30\",\n \"sameAs\": [\n \"https:\/\/www.instagram.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/twitter.com\/illuminatelabs\",\n \"https:\/\/www.linkedin.com\/company\/illuminate-labs-supplements\",\n \"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/channel\/UCpgSJAsIPb-fZ25djtTxBEA\"\n ]\n }\n}\n\/\/ ]]\u003e\u003c\/script\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Pedialyte_Review_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1662263615\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDisclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to hydration drinks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eP\u003c\/span\u003eedialyte is a popular hydration drink brand that’s available at nearly every major grocery store and pharmacy in the U.S. The brand claims that their drinks can prevent dehydration, and many consumers use them off-label to treat hangovers.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eBut are the ingredients in Pedialyte actually healthy? Does the average consumer really need “hydration” products beyond water?\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll aim to answer these questions and more, by reviewing medical research on some of the ingredients in Pedialyte.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eAre Hydration Beverages Necessary?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe theory behind hydration beverages is that consumers can better retain fluid from a dehydrated state, and therefore restore optimal health, when carbohydrates and electrolytes like sodium and potassium are added to water. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/34578811\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eMedical research shows\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that electrolytes combined with carbs causes “increased fluid retention” compared to water alone.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHowever, our question is how many regular individuals achieve such a state of clinical dehydration that this type of special formulation is necessary? We understand the benefit of specific hydration formulations in the context of clinical dehydration, but we haven’t come across any medical evidence that healthy adults have any need for this type of product, or even that this type of product is necessary or superior to water in the context of mild dehydration. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eHospitals treat dehydration with IV fluids that contain electrolytes, and this \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.cedars-sinai.org\/health-library\/diseases-and-conditions\/d\/dehydration.html\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical resource page\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e from Cedars-Sinai (a top hospital) suggests that individuals in hot weather or that have sweat a lot from exercise are at increased risk of dehydration.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6213308\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eNutrients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal concluded that hydration beverages containing glucose, fructose and sodium could improve athletic performance, but Pedialyte only contains one of these ingredients (sodium).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSo perhaps individuals at an increased risk of dehydration may benefit from a product like Pedialyte, but until we come across medical research explaining what circumstances this type of product is beneficial for, or how this type of product performs better than water in the context of an everyday consumer’s life, we will remain confused about the need for “hydration” drinks given that water is inherently hydrating.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eDrinking water regularly seems like the logical way to remain hydrated, and is the way that humans evolved to remain hydrated for hundreds of thousands of years.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003ePedialyte Classic Review\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Pedialyte_Classic_Ingredients_Optimized_d385422e-e217-4f9b-8389-d2a0f7fa87f4.png?v=1662263910\" alt=\"Pedialyte Classic ingredients\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eThe original Pedialyte product is called “Pedialyte Classic” and is arguably the most popular Pedialyte drink. The ingredient label above is from the strawberry flavor, but the ingredients of all Pedialyte Classic flavors are similar so our comments stand for all flavors.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eDextrose\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is the only active ingredient other than water. This ingredient is a simple sugar that accounts for the 9 grams (g) of sugar in this drink. While sugar can help clinically dehydrated patients get back to baseline, we typically recommend avoiding added sugar. Medical research has shown that added sugar consumption is associated with body weight gain, fat gain and metabolic disease.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe’re not suggesting that Pedialyte will cause these health outcomes, but since most Americans already consume enough added sugar from their diet, we consider it to be illogical to consume a hydration beverage containing added sugar.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eCitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another ingredient in this formulation that we recommend avoiding. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC6097542\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eToxicology Reports\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal has found that this ingredient, which is typically used as a preservative and flavor enhancer, can cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of patients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePedialyte Classic strawberry flavor also contains two artificial food dyes: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eRed 40\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eBlue 1\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. An extensive \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e that we cite frequently on Illuminate Health found that Red 40 has been found to be contaminated in some cases with carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). Since there is no nutritional value to artificial food dye consumption, we recommend avoiding it entirely.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe researchers in the above-linked medical review concluded that all artificial food dyes should be removed from foods and drinks due to toxicity concerns: “The inadequacy of much of the testing and the evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity, coupled with the fact that dyes do not improve the safety or nutritional quality of foods, indicates that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eSucralose\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is an artificial sweetener which was found in a recent \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/30535090\/#:~:text=Results%3A%20Individuals%20assigned%20to%20sucralose,group%20(P%3D%200.04).\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to negatively impact insulin sensitivity in healthy adults. Insulin metabolism regulates blood sugar levels, which is why we always recommend avoiding this artificial sweetener.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eAcesulfame potassium\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another artificial sweetener which was found in an \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC5464538\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eanimal study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to cause negative changes to gut function. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural flavor\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is another ingredient we recommend avoiding, but one we consider to be less questionable than artificial flavors and artificial food dye. A \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC3620743\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e published in the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eEnvironmental Health Perspectives\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e journal documented some health concerns regarding natural flavoring agents, and since this ingredient provides no nutritive or hydration benefit it seems logical to avoid it.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePedialyte also contains a blend of electrolytes including \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003esodium\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003epotassium citrate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e. While patients in a clinically dehydrated state may need supplemental electrolytes, we haven’t come across any medical evidence that the average consumer does. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we do not consider this to be a healthy formulation. It contains artificial dye, artificial flavor, added sugar, citric acid and other additive ingredients. We also cannot identify medical evidence explaining why consumers would have a need for this type of product outside of extreme dehydration conditions that seem unlikely in the modern world. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePedialyte does not share any medical citations on this product’s website page proving or suggesting that this product leads to improved health outcomes compared to drinking water alone.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003ePedialyte Popsicles Review\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Pedialyte_Freezer_Pops_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1662263669\" alt=\"Pedialyte Freezer Pops ingredients\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePedialyte sells a popsicle product called “Pedialyte Freezer Pops” which we would argue has a less healthy formulation than Pedialyte Classic. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn addition to all of the additive ingredients we reviewed in the previous section that we found questionable from a health perspective, such as artificial sweetener, artificial color and added sugar, the freezer pops also contain the preservative \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003epotassium sorbate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e which was found in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/20036729\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to be toxic to human cells \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein vitro\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe above-linked study was conducted in a test tube rather than on live subjects, so the data quality is relatively weak, but it serves as an example of why we recommend avoiding food products containing preservatives. These compounds have no nutritional value and may pose health risks, so it seems logical to avoid them.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThere is another preservative in this product called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003esodium benzoate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOur overall comments about Pedialyte Popsicles are similar to our comments about Pedialyte Classic: we find it challenging to consider a situation where a consumer in a developed country would benefit from a blend of added sugar, artificial flavors and colors and preservatives beyond just drinking plain water.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eIs Pedialyte Organic Healthier?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Pedialyte_Organic_Ingredients_Optimized.png?v=1662265130\" alt=\"Pedialyte Organic ingredients\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePedialyte has a product with an organic certification called “Pedialyte Organic,” so consumers are often curious about whether this is a healthier option.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis drink has the same sugar content (9 grams) as Pedialyte Classic. What we find to be strange about this ingredients label is that Pedialyte defines all of the sugar as “added sugar” even though the first ingredient is \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eorganic apple juice concentrate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.fda.gov\/media\/117402\/download\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concentrated fruit juice is not considered “added sugar.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn any case, we consider organic apple juice to be a healthier option than dextrose (which is also in this formulation but presumably to a lesser extent).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOrganic stevia leaf extract\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is used as a natural sweetener, and we would consider this to be a significantly healthier option than the artificial sweeteners in the other formulations. A 2020 \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/32031079\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeta-study\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e found that stevia has anti-inflammatory and hypotensive (blood-pressure-reducing) properties, which suggests that it has a favorable effect on metabolism. The same study found that stevia may have anti-fertility properties, but we still consider it to be a much healthier option than artificial sweeteners like sucralose.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOrganic citric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is likely derived from citrus fruits like lemon (though we wish Pedialyte would clarify this) which would make it a healthier option than conventional citric acid which is often manufactured from a fungus called \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ci\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAspergillus niger\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (potentially explaining its inflammatory effects in some consumers).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe consider \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eorganic flavor\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to be a higher standard of ingredient safety and purity than natural flavor based on \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ams.usda.gov\/sites\/default\/files\/media\/Flavors%20nonsynthetic%202%20TR.pdf\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eUSDA guidelines\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThis product is free of artificial coloring agents and preservatives.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe consider Pedialyte Organic to be a significantly healthier option than Pedialyte Classic or Pedialyte Freezer Pops. While we don’t recommend any health products containing added sugar, we would definitely recommend this product over other Pedialyte products to consumers who are set on purchasing from this brand.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eWhole Foods Electrolyte Drinks\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Natural_Electrolyte_Drink_Optimized.png?v=1662266131\" alt=\"\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eOur general belief is that consuming nutrients from whole foods is a healthier option than consuming commercially manufactured food products.\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eSince we already established that the combination of electrolytes and sugar is optimal for rehydration, it seems logical to consume whole foods that contain both of these criteria.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eCoconut water\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a healthy, whole-food beverage that serves as a natural electrolyte drink.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/fdc.nal.usda.gov\/fdc-app.html#\/food-details\/170174\/nutrients\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAccording to\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), coconut water provides 250 milligrams (mg) of potassium, 105 mg sodium, 25 mg magnesium and 24 mg calcium per serving. It provides 2.61 g sugar. 100 g is a relatively small serving, and this amount could be increased based on need.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eFor those willing to take the time, we believe consumers can make a healthy electrolyte smoothie at home prior to working out if they believe they’re likely to become dehydrated. As we referenced in our review of the \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-gatorlyte-actually-healthy\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGatorlyte drink\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, a smoothie containing watermelon, spinach, celery and banana could be a healthy, natural electrolyte smoothie.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eWatermelon\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is rich in magnesium, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003espinach\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is rich in calcium, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ecelery\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e contains naturally high levels of sodium and \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ebananas\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e are high in potassium.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn our opinion, a homemade smoothie containing the ingredients above would be much healthier than any commercially-available hydration drinks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eConclusion\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe do not consider Pedialyte healthy overall due to the additive ingredients in the brand’s formulations. Pedialyte contains added sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives and other ingredients we recommend avoiding.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIf patients are at a higher risk of dehydration due to a medical condition, we would recommend they speak with their doctor about whether Pedialyte could help them. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe do believe that Pedialyte is likely to be more effective for hydration from a state of dehydration than water alone, because its combination of simple carbohydrates and electrolytes can enhance fluid retention. We just don’t understand how many consumers would be in a circumstance where this is necessary.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA homemade smoothie containing watermelon, spinach, celery and bananas would provide a significant amount of electrolytes and natural sugar, and would be free of any questionable additive ingredients.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-09-03T23:58:43-04:00","updated_at":"2022-10-23T02:23:26-04:00","summary_html":"We analyze the ingredients in Pedialyte's most popular products based on medical studies to give our take on whether the popular hydration drinks are actually healthy. We share our questions about whether \"hydration drinks\" even make sense as a product category.","template_suffix":"","handle":"is-pedialyte-actually-healthy","tags":"_related:hydration, _related:nutrition, _related:sports-nutrition"}

Is Pedialyte Actually Healthy? An Ingredient Review

Is Pedialyte Actually Healthy? An Ingredient Review


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s) and published for informational purposes only. We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to hydration drinks.

Pedialyte is a popular hydration drink brand that’s available at nearly every major grocery store and pharmacy in the U.S. The brand claims that their drinks can prevent dehydration, and many consumers use them off-label to treat hangovers.

But are the ingredients in Pedialyte actually healthy? Does the average consumer really need “hydration” products beyond water?

In this article we’ll aim to answer these questions and more, by reviewing medical research on some of the ingredients in Pedialyte.

Are Hydration Beverages Necessary?

The theory behind hydration beverages is that consumers can better retain fluid from a dehydrated state, and therefore restore optimal health, when carbohydrates and electrolytes like sodium and potassium are added to water. Medical research shows that electrolytes combined with carbs causes “increased fluid retention” compared to water alone.

However, our question is how many regular individuals achieve such a state of clinical dehydration that this type of special formulation is necessary? We understand the benefit of specific hydration formulations in the context of clinical dehydration, but we haven’t come across any medical evidence that healthy adults have any need for this type of product, or even that this type of product is necessary or superior to water in the context of mild dehydration. 

Hospitals treat dehydration with IV fluids that contain electrolytes, and this medical resource page from Cedars-Sinai (a top hospital) suggests that individuals in hot weather or that have sweat a lot from exercise are at increased risk of dehydration.

A medical review published in the Nutrients journal concluded that hydration beverages containing glucose, fructose and sodium could improve athletic performance, but Pedialyte only contains one of these ingredients (sodium).

So perhaps individuals at an increased risk of dehydration may benefit from a product like Pedialyte, but until we come across medical research explaining what circumstances this type of product is beneficial for, or how this type of product performs better than water in the context of an everyday consumer’s life, we will remain confused about the need for “hydration” drinks given that water is inherently hydrating.

Drinking water regularly seems like the logical way to remain hydrated, and is the way that humans evolved to remain hydrated for hundreds of thousands of years.

Pedialyte Classic Review

Pedialyte Classic ingredients

The original Pedialyte product is called “Pedialyte Classic” and is arguably the most popular Pedialyte drink. The ingredient label above is from the strawberry flavor, but the ingredients of all Pedialyte Classic flavors are similar so our comments stand for all flavors.

Dextrose is the only active ingredient other than water. This ingredient is a simple sugar that accounts for the 9 grams (g) of sugar in this drink. While sugar can help clinically dehydrated patients get back to baseline, we typically recommend avoiding added sugar. Medical research has shown that added sugar consumption is associated with body weight gain, fat gain and metabolic disease.

We’re not suggesting that Pedialyte will cause these health outcomes, but since most Americans already consume enough added sugar from their diet, we consider it to be illogical to consume a hydration beverage containing added sugar.

Citric acid is another ingredient in this formulation that we recommend avoiding. A medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal has found that this ingredient, which is typically used as a preservative and flavor enhancer, can cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of patients.

Pedialyte Classic strawberry flavor also contains two artificial food dyes: Red 40 and Blue 1. An extensive medical review that we cite frequently on Illuminate Health found that Red 40 has been found to be contaminated in some cases with carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). Since there is no nutritional value to artificial food dye consumption, we recommend avoiding it entirely.

The researchers in the above-linked medical review concluded that all artificial food dyes should be removed from foods and drinks due to toxicity concerns: “The inadequacy of much of the testing and the evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity, coupled with the fact that dyes do not improve the safety or nutritional quality of foods, indicates that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply.”

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener which was found in a recent clinical trial to negatively impact insulin sensitivity in healthy adults. Insulin metabolism regulates blood sugar levels, which is why we always recommend avoiding this artificial sweetener.

Acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener which was found in an animal study to cause negative changes to gut function. 

Natural flavor is another ingredient we recommend avoiding, but one we consider to be less questionable than artificial flavors and artificial food dye. A medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal documented some health concerns regarding natural flavoring agents, and since this ingredient provides no nutritive or hydration benefit it seems logical to avoid it.

Pedialyte also contains a blend of electrolytes including sodium and potassium citrate. While patients in a clinically dehydrated state may need supplemental electrolytes, we haven’t come across any medical evidence that the average consumer does. 

Overall we do not consider this to be a healthy formulation. It contains artificial dye, artificial flavor, added sugar, citric acid and other additive ingredients. We also cannot identify medical evidence explaining why consumers would have a need for this type of product outside of extreme dehydration conditions that seem unlikely in the modern world. 

Pedialyte does not share any medical citations on this product’s website page proving or suggesting that this product leads to improved health outcomes compared to drinking water alone.

Pedialyte Popsicles Review

Pedialyte Freezer Pops ingredients

Pedialyte sells a popsicle product called “Pedialyte Freezer Pops” which we would argue has a less healthy formulation than Pedialyte Classic. 

In addition to all of the additive ingredients we reviewed in the previous section that we found questionable from a health perspective, such as artificial sweetener, artificial color and added sugar, the freezer pops also contain the preservative potassium sorbate which was found in a clinical trial to be toxic to human cells in vitro.

The above-linked study was conducted in a test tube rather than on live subjects, so the data quality is relatively weak, but it serves as an example of why we recommend avoiding food products containing preservatives. These compounds have no nutritional value and may pose health risks, so it seems logical to avoid them.

There is another preservative in this product called sodium benzoate.

Our overall comments about Pedialyte Popsicles are similar to our comments about Pedialyte Classic: we find it challenging to consider a situation where a consumer in a developed country would benefit from a blend of added sugar, artificial flavors and colors and preservatives beyond just drinking plain water.

Is Pedialyte Organic Healthier?

Pedialyte Organic ingredients

Pedialyte has a product with an organic certification called “Pedialyte Organic,” so consumers are often curious about whether this is a healthier option.

This drink has the same sugar content (9 grams) as Pedialyte Classic. What we find to be strange about this ingredients label is that Pedialyte defines all of the sugar as “added sugar” even though the first ingredient is organic apple juice concentrate.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), concentrated fruit juice is not considered “added sugar.”

In any case, we consider organic apple juice to be a healthier option than dextrose (which is also in this formulation but presumably to a lesser extent).

Organic stevia leaf extract is used as a natural sweetener, and we would consider this to be a significantly healthier option than the artificial sweeteners in the other formulations. A 2020 meta-study found that stevia has anti-inflammatory and hypotensive (blood-pressure-reducing) properties, which suggests that it has a favorable effect on metabolism. The same study found that stevia may have anti-fertility properties, but we still consider it to be a much healthier option than artificial sweeteners like sucralose.

Organic citric acid is likely derived from citrus fruits like lemon (though we wish Pedialyte would clarify this) which would make it a healthier option than conventional citric acid which is often manufactured from a fungus called Aspergillus niger (potentially explaining its inflammatory effects in some consumers).

We consider organic flavor to be a higher standard of ingredient safety and purity than natural flavor based on USDA guidelines.

This product is free of artificial coloring agents and preservatives.

We consider Pedialyte Organic to be a significantly healthier option than Pedialyte Classic or Pedialyte Freezer Pops. While we don’t recommend any health products containing added sugar, we would definitely recommend this product over other Pedialyte products to consumers who are set on purchasing from this brand.

Whole Foods Electrolyte Drinks

Our general belief is that consuming nutrients from whole foods is a healthier option than consuming commercially manufactured food products.

Since we already established that the combination of electrolytes and sugar is optimal for rehydration, it seems logical to consume whole foods that contain both of these criteria.

Coconut water is a healthy, whole-food beverage that serves as a natural electrolyte drink.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), coconut water provides 250 milligrams (mg) of potassium, 105 mg sodium, 25 mg magnesium and 24 mg calcium per serving. It provides 2.61 g sugar. 100 g is a relatively small serving, and this amount could be increased based on need.

For those willing to take the time, we believe consumers can make a healthy electrolyte smoothie at home prior to working out if they believe they’re likely to become dehydrated. As we referenced in our review of the Gatorlyte drink, a smoothie containing watermelon, spinach, celery and banana could be a healthy, natural electrolyte smoothie.

Watermelon is rich in magnesium, spinach is rich in calcium, celery contains naturally high levels of sodium and bananas are high in potassium.

In our opinion, a homemade smoothie containing the ingredients above would be much healthier than any commercially-available hydration drinks.

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Conclusion

We do not consider Pedialyte healthy overall due to the additive ingredients in the brand’s formulations. Pedialyte contains added sugar, artificial flavors, artificial colors, preservatives and other ingredients we recommend avoiding.

If patients are at a higher risk of dehydration due to a medical condition, we would recommend they speak with their doctor about whether Pedialyte could help them. 

We do believe that Pedialyte is likely to be more effective for hydration from a state of dehydration than water alone, because its combination of simple carbohydrates and electrolytes can enhance fluid retention. We just don’t understand how many consumers would be in a circumstance where this is necessary.

A homemade smoothie containing watermelon, spinach, celery and bananas would provide a significant amount of electrolytes and natural sugar, and would be free of any questionable additive ingredients.




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