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 do Prime Hydration Sticks contain different ingredients?

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 it to Gatorade, compare the formulation of Prime drinks and Prime Hydration Sticks, and share some YouTube reviews of Prime including a popular takedown of the brand and a taste test.

Ingredient Breakdown

Prime ingredients

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 both rich in electrolytes and nutritious.

Aside from these two ingredients, Prime contains a host of questionable additive ingredients that we recommend avoiding.

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 a small subset of patients.

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 loosely regulated term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used. There are documented toxicity concerns related to some flavoring agents.

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 effectively pointless. The BCAA dosage in medical studies is usually in the range of 5,000 to 10,000 milligrams (mg) per day.

Even though Prime doesn’t list it, we know the dose of each BCAA is 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 on Prime's label. 

Prime also contains a number of added vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and vitamin B12. We recommend avoiding products with added, synthetic vitamins and minerals 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 the inclusion of a wide variety of questionable 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 with superior health and safety profiles (in our opinion).

Is Prime Healthier Than Gatorade?

Gatorade ingredients

Our main issue with Gatorade (ingredients shown above) is that it has 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.

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. 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 1 million views in a month, and is a scientific "takedown" of the claims made by Logan Paul and Prime:

Unsponsored Prime Taste Test

One of the most popular videos reviewing the taste of different Prime flavors comes from a channel called "Jarvis & Kay." They review the taste of each flavor individually and then rate them in order of best-to-worst:

Our Healthy Sports Hydration Drink 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 Prime and 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. 

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.

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).

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

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 do not recommend Prime overall because it has a large number of questionable additive ingredients. 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.

We believe that drinking water or drinking whole-foods-based beverages like 100% coconut water is a much healthier option than commercialized, processed sports nutrition beverages with industrial additives. LeBron James might need significant electrolytes and added sugar to fuel and optimize endurance at the highest level. 99.9% of everyday athletes likely do not.




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