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Prime Review: Is It Healthier Than Gatorade?

Prime Review: Is It Healthier Than Gatorade?

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Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Read our Editorial Guidelines to learn more about what makes our site the premier resource for online health information.

Logan Paul and KSI recently launched a hydration and sports nutrition drink called Prime. The launch has been successful with all products sold out of their online store at the time of writing, and a huge amount of press. 

The duo has claimed in interviews that their drink is essentially a healthier Gatorade because it’s better-formulated with less added sugar. 

In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Prime to determine if it’s healthier than Gatorade, and if we would recommend it as a sports nutrition drink.

Ingredient Review

Prime ingredients

Filtered water is the first ingredient, and is a good choice for a sports nutrition drink. No matter what electrolyte brands like Liquid IV hydration claim, water is the most hydrating ingredient in any drink.

Citric acid is a flavor enhancer and preservative used in many packaged food products. While it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are some concerns based on medical research about its potential for causing inflammation in the body. We generally recommend avoiding synthetic preservatives and additives as much as possible.

The third ingredient in Prime is coconut water, which is a good option for a hydration drink as it’s both rich in electrolytes and nutritious.

Prime contains two artificial sweeteners. Sucralose is the first, and it’s been shown in a medical study to negatively impact insulin function in healthy adults. 

Acesulfame potassium is the second artificial sweetener in Prime, and it’s been found to have both negative effects on the gut and negative effects on the brain based on animal studies.

We’re surprised that a company as well-funded as Prime chose cheap first-generation sweeteners rather than compounds like stevia, monk fruit extract or erythritol which seem to be healthier based on early research.

Prime also contains natural flavor, which is an essentially unregulated term. There are thousands of chemical compounds which can be used for flavoring drinks, and without listing the actual compound used it’s impossible for consumers or researchers to determine if the product is safe. This is why we generally recommend avoiding products with “natural flavor” as a listed ingredient.

Prime contains branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) l-isoleucine, l-valine and l-leucine but they’re almost certainly at a dose so low as to be totally pointless. The BCAA dosage in medical studies is usually in the range of 5-10 grams (g) a day. 

Even though Prime doesn’t list it, we know the dose of each BCAA is less than 123.9 milligrams (mg), because the ingredients on a Nutrition Facts label are required to be listed in order of relative weight, and magnesium (which is listed before any of the BCAAs) only has a dosage of 123.9 mg on their label.

The remaining ingredients in Prime are a vitamin and mineral blend. We haven’t come across any medical data suggesting that random blends of vitamins and minerals enhance hydration or athletic performance, so we figure these additions are useless. Healthy adults get their vitamins and minerals from whole foods, which is why research has conclusively shown that vitamin and mineral supplements don’t provide any benefit at the population level.

Brands typically add random blends of vitamins and minerals to their products to make their Nutrition Facts label look more impressive, which we believe to be the case here.

Prime Vs. Gatorade

The main issue with Gatorade is that it has considerable added sugar. A standard 12 ounce (oz) Gatorade contains 48 g added sugar. It’s well-established in medical research that added sugar is harmful to human health, and while it may help optimize performance for endurance athletes or those performing at the highest intensities, we believe the vast majority of athletes would be better without any added sugar at all.

Gatorade also contains citric acid and natural flavoring; ingredients we highlighted as non-ideal in Prime.

Further, Gatorade contains artificial food colorings such as Red 40 which are likely harmful to human health based on a medical review published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health.

Overall we believe that Prime is a healthier option for general hydration and sports performance because it has fewer potentially harmful ingredients.

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We believe that Prime is healthier than Gatorade, because it has no added sugars and fewer harmful ingredients like artificial food dye.

That being said, we would still recommend filtered water instead of Prime. We find it strange that Prime is marketed as a sports nutrition drink, when it doesn’t even contain adequate levels of basic electrolytes like sodium or calcium.

For most people, even most athletes, drinking water for hydration will be optimal. For athletes at the highest level training in intense conditions, a more targeted electrolyte drink may optimize performance compared with water alone, but Prime is not formulated to meet that need.

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