{"id":604426862898,"title":"Is Gatorade Zero Good for You? A Registered Dietitian Answers","created_at":"2022-11-23T23:48:50-05:00","body_html":"\u003cscript type=\"application\/ld+json\"\u003e\/\/ \u003c![CDATA[\n{\n \"@context\": \"https:\/\/schema.org\",\n \"@type\": \"Article\",\n \"headline\": \"Is Gatorade Zero Good for You? A Registered Dietitian Answers\",\n \"keywords\": \"is gatorade zero good for you, is gatorade zero bad for you, gatorade zero, gatorade zero powder, gatorade zero ingredients, gatorade zero sugar, zero sugar gatorade, does gatorade zero have electrolytes, is gatorade zero healthy\",\n \"description\": \"Our research team reviews every ingredient in Gatorade Zero to give our take on whether or not it's healthy. We highlight some questionable ingredients, share a video documenting the blood sugar effect of Gatorade Zero and compare the healthiness of Gatorade Zero to regular Gatorade.\",\n \"url\": \"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/is-gatorade-zero-good-for-you\",\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\"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\": \"exercise, drugs, pharmaceutical, health, workout, strength and conditioning, nutrition, dietetics, medicine, medical research, scientific research, scientific method, healthcare, patient care, wellness\",\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\/Is_Gatorade_Zero_Good_For_You_Thumbnail.png?v=1669265959\",\n\"width\": \"4350\",\n\"height\": \"4350\"\n},\n\"citation\": [\n\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7155288\/\", \n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/34368996\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/athletic-greens-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/9841956\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/15093265\/\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\",\n\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/prime-review\",\n\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/32476245\/\"\n],\n\"mentions\": [{\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"artificial sweeteners\"\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\": \"electrolytes\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Thing\",\n \"name\": \"added sugar\"\n },\n {\n \"@type\": \"Brand\",\n \"name\": \"Blood Sugar King\"\n }\n],\n\"datePublished\": \"2022-11-23\",\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\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Is_Gatorade_Zero_Good_For_You_Article_Header_Image_Optimized.png?v=1669265145\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e\u003cspan class=\"dc\"\u003eG\u003c\/span\u003eatorade Zero is arguably the brand’s second-most popular product after regular Gatorade, and because it’s sugar-free consumers are often curious about if it’s good for you. Gatorade describes this product as “all of the electrolytes of Gatorade, with zero sugar.”\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eBut is Gatorade Zero actually good for you, or is it just healthier than regular Gatorade? Does it being sugar-free even make it healthier than regular Gatorade? Does Gatorade Zero contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how does it affect blood sugar?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eIn this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Gatorade Zero based on medical research to give our take on whether it’s good for you or not, compare it to regular Gatorade and document its effects on blood sugar with a real, unsponsored user’s review.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eIngredient Analysis\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\/Gatorade_Zero_Ingredients_Optimized_1f18178d-7519-45e3-9962-f960fde7249d.png?v=1669265637\" alt=\"Gatorade Zero 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;\"\u003eGatorade Zero has 11 ingredients, shown above. We chose the Grape flavor for our ingredient analysis, but all Gatorade Zero flavors contain a similar formulation so our comments stand for all of them.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eRather than sugar, Gatorade Zero is sweetened with two artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame potassium.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eSucralose\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e was shown to negatively impact insulin function in healthy adults in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/pmc\/articles\/PMC7155288\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\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;\"\u003eNutrition Journal\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eAcesulfame potassium\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e was found to cause intestinal injury and negative changes to gut function to animals in a 2021 \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/34368996\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eCitric acid\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is a preservative and flavor enhancer that was documented in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of patients, as we referenced in our review of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/athletic-greens-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eAthletic Greens\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eSodium citrate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is the sodium salt of citric acid, and was shown in a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/9841956\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eclinical trial\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to improve exercise performance in endurance athletes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eNatural flavor\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is an ingredient that we recommend avoiding, because although it may be safer than artificial flavors, it’s still a descriptor that fails to document the specific flavoring agents used, and some flavoring agents are shown \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/15093265\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ein clinical research\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e to have toxicity concerns.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eBlue 1\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e is an artificial food dye, and a \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003emeta-study\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;\"\u003eInternational Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/i\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e suggested that all artificial food dyes be removed from the food supply due to evidence of carcinogenicity (promotion of cancer) and genotoxicity (promotion of DNA damage).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe remaining ingredients are safe and non-toxic: \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003ewater\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003emonopotassium phosphate\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (an electrolyte), \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003emodified food starch\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (a thickener), \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eglycerol ester of rosin\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e (a thickener).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOverall we do not consider Gatorade Zero to be good for you. While it does contain some research-backed ingredients for improving exercise performance (electrolytes and sodium citrate), we don’t recommend the product due to the inclusion of a number of questionable additive ingredients including artificial sweeteners and an artificial food dye.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eIs Gatorade Zero Healthier Than Regular Gatorade?\u003c\/strong\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\/Gatorade_Ingredients_Optimized_1ecf9c94-d256-4d5a-89b2-0e9cb547fd0b.png?v=1669265668\" alt=\"Gatorade 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;\"\u003eThe ingredient label of regular Gatorade (12 ounce size) is shown above. Our main issue with regular Gatorade is the substantial amount of added sugar it contains. 48 grams (g) per bottle is almost 50% more than a Coke of the same size.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eRegular Gatorade also has many of the questionable additive ingredients that we highlighted in the ingredient analysis of Gatorade Zero, including flavoring agents, citric acid and artificial food dye.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOverall we do consider Gatorade Zero to be healthier than regular Gatorade due to its lack of added sugar\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, but we don't recommend either product.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGatorade would likely provide better performance optimization for elite athletes that need to refuel during long training sessions, but we consider both products to be unnecessary (and unhealthy) for the vast majority of regular consumers and athletes.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eDoes Gatorade Zero Increase Blood Sugar?\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eA YouTube creator named Blood Sugar King published a video testing the effects of Gatorade Zero on his blood sugar levels. While regular Gatorade caused a significant spike in blood sugar, Gatorade Zero actually caused a slight decrease in blood sugar:\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003ciframe width=\"328\" height=\"583\" src=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/embed\/IEylKjYkD1w\" title=\"Gatorade Zero Blood Sugar Test\" frameborder=\"0\" allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/iframe\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe don’t recommend regularly consuming Gatorade Zero for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic due to the reasoning described in the video, but this may suggest that it may be a safer occasional choice for patients with blood sugar issues than Gatorade.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cb\u003eIs Gatorade Zero Powder 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\/Gatorade_Zero_Powder_Ingredients_Optimized_8ddbc39b-f8de-4a88-a6ef-6189beb846e0.png?v=1669265690\" alt=\"\" style=\"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eGatorade Zero is also sold in a powder formulation. Ingredients shown above for the same flavor (Grape).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe formulation is very similar. The electrolytes, artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents are exactly the same. The powder uses \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003emodified tapioca starch\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e instead of modified food starch which isn’t a relevant difference.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eStrangely, even though both products are the same flavor, Gatorade Zero Powder contains another artificial food dye \u003c\/span\u003e\u003cb\u003eRed 40\u003c\/b\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e, which was shown in a \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/23026007\/\"\u003emedical review\u003c\/a\u003e to be contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe one benefit of the powder over the drink (if the powder is mixed into a non-plastic container) is that there is no risk of ingesting plastic chemicals, which is a legitimate health risk when consuming acidic drinks from plastic bottles, as we highlighted in our recent review of \u003c\/span\u003e\u003ca href=\"https:\/\/illuminatelabs.org\/blogs\/health\/prime-review\"\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003ePrime drink ingredients\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/a\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cb\u003eOverall we do not consider there to be any relevant differences from a health perspective between Gatorade Zero drink and Gatorade Zero powder.\u003c\/b\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cmeta charset=\"utf-8\"\u003e\n\u003ch2 style=\"text-align: center;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOur Healthy Sports Hydration Recommendation\u003c\/strong\u003e\u003c\/h2\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https:\/\/cdn.shopify.com\/s\/files\/1\/0047\/1524\/9737\/files\/Coconut_Water_Image_a75677e1-eb04-4af7-a5f3-a8f88361e249.png?v=1669186862\" alt=\"\"\u003e\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eThe healthy sports hydration drink we recommend is \u003ca rel=\"sponsored\" href=\"https:\/\/amzn.to\/3V3fbZu\"\u003eOnce Upon a Coconut Pure Coconut Water\u003c\/a\u003e.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eThis product has one single ingredient: \u003cstrong\u003ecoconut water\u003c\/strong\u003e. There are no artificial sweeteners, no added sugars and no preservatives. Coconut water is naturally rich in potassium and vitamin C so it can provide additional nutrition while exercising compared to drinking water alone.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eThis coconut water brand is also packaged in aluminum can, which we consider a much healthier option (and better for the environment) than the plastic used to package Gatorade. Plastic is definitively endrocrine-disrupting as \u003ca href=\"https:\/\/pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov\/32476245\/\"\u003edocumented\u003c\/a\u003e in medical studies, and avoiding plastic use as much as possible can benefit health (especially for men, as plasticizing chemicals are estrogenic).\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan\u003eInterested consumers can check out Once Upon a Coconut Pure Coconut Water \u003ca rel=\"sponsored\" href=\"https:\/\/amzn.to\/3V3fbZu\"\u003eat this link\u003c\/a\u003e to the product's Amazon listing. \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 Gatorade Zero to be good for you. \u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eThe drink does contain some ergogenic (exercise-enhancing) compounds, but in our opinion the vast majority of consumers (essentially anyone other than elite athletes) do not need these compounds for their workout.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWe believe the cons of Gatorade Zero such as all of the questionable additive ingredients like artificial sweeteners and artificial food dye outweigh the pros.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eWhile there are minor differences between Gatorade Zero drink and Gatorade Zero powder, we do not find these differences to be meaningful, do not find one ingredient to be healthier than the other and do not recommend either.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003eOur take is that drinking either water or whole foods drinks containing electrolytes like coconut water is a healthier option than commercial sports drinks.\u003c\/span\u003e\u003c\/p\u003e","blog_id":49281925193,"author":"Calloway Cook","user_id":26601750601,"published_at":"2022-11-23T23:56:35-05:00","updated_at":"2022-11-24T02:25:25-05:00","summary_html":"We review every ingredient in Gatorade Zero to give our take on whether or not it's healthy. We highlight some questionable ingredients, share a video documenting the blood sugar effect of Gatorade Zero and compare the healthiness of Gatorade Zero to regular Gatorade.","template_suffix":"","handle":"is-gatorade-zero-good-for-you","tags":"_related:sports-nutrition"}

Is Gatorade Zero Good for You? A Registered Dietitian Answers

Is Gatorade Zero Good for You? A Registered Dietitian Answers


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Gatorade Zero is arguably the brand’s second-most popular product after regular Gatorade, and because it’s sugar-free consumers are often curious about if it’s good for you. Gatorade describes this product as “all of the electrolytes of Gatorade, with zero sugar.”

But is Gatorade Zero actually good for you, or is it just healthier than regular Gatorade? Does it being sugar-free even make it healthier than regular Gatorade? Does Gatorade Zero contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how does it affect blood sugar?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Gatorade Zero based on medical research to give our take on whether it’s good for you or not, compare it to regular Gatorade and document its effects on blood sugar with a real, unsponsored user’s review.

Ingredient Analysis

Gatorade Zero ingredients

Gatorade Zero has 11 ingredients, shown above. We chose the Grape flavor for our ingredient analysis, but all Gatorade Zero flavors contain a similar formulation so our comments stand for all of them.

Rather than sugar, Gatorade Zero is sweetened with two artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame potassium.

Sucralose was shown to negatively impact insulin function in healthy adults in a clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal.

Acesulfame potassium was found to cause intestinal injury and negative changes to gut function to animals in a 2021 clinical trial.

Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that was documented in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammation in a small subset of patients, as we referenced in our review of Athletic Greens.

Sodium citrate is the sodium salt of citric acid, and was shown in a clinical trial to improve exercise performance in endurance athletes.

Natural flavor is an ingredient that we recommend avoiding, because although it may be safer than artificial flavors, it’s still a descriptor that fails to document the specific flavoring agents used, and some flavoring agents are shown in clinical research to have toxicity concerns.

Blue 1 is an artificial food dye, and a meta-study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health suggested that all artificial food dyes be removed from the food supply due to evidence of carcinogenicity (promotion of cancer) and genotoxicity (promotion of DNA damage).

The remaining ingredients are safe and non-toxic: water, monopotassium phosphate (an electrolyte), modified food starch (a thickener), glycerol ester of rosin (a thickener).

Overall we do not consider Gatorade Zero to be good for you. While it does contain some research-backed ingredients for improving exercise performance (electrolytes and sodium citrate), we don’t recommend the product due to the inclusion of a number of questionable additive ingredients including artificial sweeteners and an artificial food dye.

Is Gatorade Zero Healthier Than Regular Gatorade?

Gatorade ingredients

The ingredient label of regular Gatorade (12 ounce size) is shown above. Our main issue with regular Gatorade is the substantial amount of added sugar it contains. 48 grams (g) per bottle is almost 50% more than a Coke of the same size.

Regular Gatorade also has many of the questionable additive ingredients that we highlighted in the ingredient analysis of Gatorade Zero, including flavoring agents, citric acid and artificial food dye.

Overall we do consider Gatorade Zero to be healthier than regular Gatorade due to its lack of added sugar, but we don't recommend either product.

Gatorade would likely provide better performance optimization for elite athletes that need to refuel during long training sessions, but we consider both products to be unnecessary (and unhealthy) for the vast majority of regular consumers and athletes.

Does Gatorade Zero Increase Blood Sugar?

A YouTube creator named Blood Sugar King published a video testing the effects of Gatorade Zero on his blood sugar levels. While regular Gatorade caused a significant spike in blood sugar, Gatorade Zero actually caused a slight decrease in blood sugar:

We don’t recommend regularly consuming Gatorade Zero for those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic due to the reasoning described in the video, but this may suggest that it may be a safer occasional choice for patients with blood sugar issues than Gatorade.

Is Gatorade Zero Powder Healthier?

Gatorade Zero is also sold in a powder formulation. Ingredients shown above for the same flavor (Grape).

The formulation is very similar. The electrolytes, artificial sweeteners and flavoring agents are exactly the same. The powder uses modified tapioca starch instead of modified food starch which isn’t a relevant difference.

Strangely, even though both products are the same flavor, Gatorade Zero Powder contains another artificial food dye Red 40, which was shown in a medical review to be contaminated with carcinogens (cancer-causing compounds).

The one benefit of the powder over the drink (if the powder is mixed into a non-plastic container) is that there is no risk of ingesting plastic chemicals, which is a legitimate health risk when consuming acidic drinks from plastic bottles, as we highlighted in our recent review of Prime drink ingredients.

Overall we do not consider there to be any relevant differences from a health perspective between Gatorade Zero drink and Gatorade Zero powder.

Our Healthy Sports Hydration Recommendation

The healthy sports hydration drink we recommend is Once Upon a Coconut Pure Coconut Water.

This product has one single ingredient: coconut water. There are no artificial sweeteners, no added sugars and no preservatives. Coconut water is naturally rich in potassium and vitamin C so it can provide additional nutrition while exercising compared to drinking water alone.

This coconut water brand is also packaged in aluminum can, which we consider a much healthier option (and better for the environment) than the plastic used to package Gatorade. Plastic is definitively endrocrine-disrupting as documented in medical studies, and avoiding plastic use as much as possible can benefit health (especially for men, as plasticizing chemicals are estrogenic).

Interested consumers can check out Once Upon a Coconut Pure Coconut Water at this link to the product's Amazon listing. 

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Conclusion

We do not consider Gatorade Zero to be good for you. 

The drink does contain some ergogenic (exercise-enhancing) compounds, but in our opinion the vast majority of consumers (essentially anyone other than elite athletes) do not need these compounds for their workout.

We believe the cons of Gatorade Zero such as all of the questionable additive ingredients like artificial sweeteners and artificial food dye outweigh the pros.

While there are minor differences between Gatorade Zero drink and Gatorade Zero powder, we do not find these differences to be meaningful, do not find one ingredient to be healthier than the other and do not recommend either.

Our take is that drinking either water or whole foods drinks containing electrolytes like coconut water is a healthier option than commercial sports drinks.




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