Prime Drink Review: Healthier Than Gatorade?

Prime Drink Review: Healthier Than Gatorade?


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Logan Paul and KSI recently launched a hydration and sports nutrition drink called Prime. The drinks are wildly popular, available in many Walmart locations throughout the U.S., and are positioned as a healthier alternative to sugary sports nutrition products like Gatorade and Liquid IV. 

But is Prime actually healthier than Gatorade? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? How do real users rate its taste? And are Prime Hydration Sticks a better option than Prime beverage?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Prime based on medical studies to give our take on whether it's actually as healthy as the brand claims.

We'll compare the ingredients in Prime Hydration to the ingredients in Gatorade, try Prime ourselves, give our take on whether Prime Hydration Sticks are a healthier option than the Prime drink, and feature some real, unsponsored Prime user reviews on YouTube.

We'll also share a cost breakdown highlighting which retailer currently sells Prime for the best price.

Ingredient Analysis: Is Prime Actually Healthy?

Prime ingredients

The ingredients in Prime Hydration are shown above.

Filtered water is the first ingredient, and is a good choice for a sports nutrition drink. Water is the most hydrating ingredient in any drink.

Coconut water is a good option for a hydration drink as it’s rich in electrolytes and minerals according to the USDA.

L-isoleucinel-valine and l-leucine are branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). This category of amino acid is used to support muscle recovery, but a meta-study on BCAAs published in the Nutrients journal shows that most clinical trials use a BCAA dose of at minimum 5,000 milligrams (mg).

Prime fails to publish the individual ingredient dose for each BCAA, but we can deduce that BCAA ingredient in Prime is dosed at less than 123.9 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.

This suggests that the BCAA dose in Prime is around 40x less than the medically-established minimum effective dose.

Prime also contains a host of inactive ingredients that we consider questionable from a health perspective.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer typically manufactured from a fungus and shown in medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammation in some individuals.

Sucralose is an artificial sweetener shown to negatively impact insulin function in healthy adults in a clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal.

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

Natural flavor is a broad categorical term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used. There are documented toxicity concerns related to some flavoring agents.

Prime also contains a number of added vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and vitamin B12. We recommend avoiding "fortified" products with synthetic vitamins and mineral additives entirely unless otherwise instructed by a doctor.

As we documented in our review of the popular Celsius energy drink, in early 2022 a popular wellness brand had to recall some of their products from the market because all of the added vitamins were causing toxicity in some consumers.

We consider it illogical to consume foods or health supplements with added vitamins and minerals without any proof of a deficiency in those vitamins and minerals.

Overall we do not consider Prime to be healthy, and we do not recommend the drink due to its additive ingredients.

We're surprised that in 2022 a popular "wellness" brand with significant funding and (presumably) significant profit margins is using older-generation artificial sweeteners like sucralose instead of newer-generation sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit which may have superior health and safety profiles (in our opinion).

But is Prime healthier than Gatorade? We'll review in the next section.

Prime vs. Gatorade

Gatorade ingredients

The ingredients in Gatorade are shown above.

Our main issue with this formulation is the considerable added sugar. A standard 12 ounce Gatorade contains 48 grams (g) of added sugar.

It’s well-established in medical research that added sugar in excess is harmful to human health, and while it may help optimize performance for elite athletes, for the average person biking a few miles or lifting some weights on the weekend, we consider added sugar to have more cons than pros.

Red 40 is an artificial dye, and this type of ingredient is likely harmful to human health based on a medical review published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. The study authors found that Red 40 can be contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).

Overall we believe that Prime is a healthier option than Gatorade because it's free of added sugar and artificial food dye.

Popular YouTube Takedown of Prime

One of the most popular YouTube videos on Prime is published by a channel called "More Plates More Dates," has over 2 million views, and is a scientific "takedown" of the claims made by Logan Paul and Prime:

We Tried Prime – Our Experience

Prime UGC

As the author of this article, I wanted to try Prime myself in an athletic setting to give my take on its taste and effects.

I regularly play full-court pickup basketball for several hours, and typically only hydrate with water. This day I used Prime to rehydrate between games instead.

I purchased the Lemon Lime flavor and it tasted better to me than Gatorade. It still tasted somewhat too "artificial" for me but it wasn't overpowering.

As far as the effects of the drink, I did feel like it gave me more energy than drinking water alone, but that could be a placebo effect.

I wouldn't purchase this product again because I don't consider it healthy and prefer regular water, but if I was fueling up for some sort of extremely long-lasting athletic event I'd probably pick this over Gatorade and maybe drink this and water.

Where to Buy Prime for the Best Price

Prime Hydration drinks are sold at a variety of online retailers. Here's a price breakdown for a 12-pack at the time of updating this article:

Walmart: $37 (link)

GNC: $32.99 (plus shipping, link)

Brand website: $29.99 (currently sold out, link)

Amazon: $29.98 (free shipping -- link to official Amazon listing)

Amazon currently has the best prices for online orders, costing 46% less than Walmart.

Prime is available in-store at some retailers like Target for cheaper per-bottle prices than those available online.

Real, Unsponsored Prime User Reviews

One of the most popular Prime reviews comes from a YouTube channel called "The TRY Channel." It features Irish people trying Prime for the first time and has over 100,000 views:

YouTube influencers Jarvis and Kay also reviewed the taste of each flavor individually and then rated them in order from best-to-worst:

Are Prime's Hydration Sticks Any Healthier?

Prime has recently started selling hydration sticks, which are powdered electrolyte blends similar in function to what Liquid IV and other electrolyte brands sell.

Prime Hydration Sticks have an almost identical Nutrition Facts label to Prime drinks, so we do not consider them to be any healthier. They contain artificial sweeteners, citric acid, flavoring agents and added vitamins just like Prime's drink.

The only potential benefit of the hydration sticks over the drinks is that because it's a powder formulation there's less risk of plastic contamination from leaching (which is more of an issue with liquids than solids).

Prime Hydration sticks are also slightly cheaper per-serving than Prime Hydration beverage ($2.33 vs. $2.50).

Our Clean Electrolyte Picks

Vitacup Hydration Coffee Instant Sticks is our top electrolyte pick.

This product provides a modest amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium (electrolytes), and contains 100 mg of caffeine for an energy boost during workouts.

Most importantly, it's formulated with whole food ingredients like coconut water and himalayan pink mineral salt. There are no additive ingredients in this product that we consider questionable from a health perspective.

LMNT Unflavored Electrolyte Powder Packets is our top caffeine-free electrolyte pick.

The only ingredients in LMNT Unflavored are electrolytes: sodium, potassium and magnesium, making it a clean and simple formulation.

Pros and Cons of Prime

Here are the pros and cons of Prime in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Formulated mainly with filtered water and coconut water
  • No added sugar
  • Healthier than Gatorade
  • Tastes better than commercial sports drinks

Cons:

  • Contains two artificial sweeteners
  • Contains citric acid
  • Contains flavoring agents
  • Contains vitamin and mineral blend
  • "Artificial" taste
  • BCAAs may be underdosed
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

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

That being said, we do not recommend Prime overall because it has a large number of additive ingredients like artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents that we consider questionable from a health perspective. We're disappointed in Prime's formulation to be honest.

Prime also sells Hydration Sticks which we do not recommend either because they contain essentially the same formulation as Prime drinks, although they are slightly cheaper so they may be a better option for consumers on a budget.

For consumers intent on purchasing Prime, Amazon currently has the best prices for online orders and Target currently has the best prices for in-store orders.