Sometimes, water doesn’t seem to provide enough hydration during an event or intensive training. Many athletes turn to sports drinks, such as Gatorade, to supply much-needed lost electrolytes to the body. Most people have read or heard that it works best when split 50/50 with water, but Gatorade doesn’t see it that way.
So, mixing Gatorade with water, should you do it? According to the FAQ section on the Gatorade Australia website, no, you should not. However, many athletes and experts in the field argue with this statement and stick with the 50:50 rule. (Source)
To clear up any confusion, what we’re primarily talking about here is the Gatorade ready-to-drink product, not the powder. Naturally, the powder needs to be mixed with the right amount of liquid, and we’ll cover that at the end.
We’re going to delve deeper into this topic and find out whether it can or should be diluted. We’ll also look at Gatorade vs. water to determine which hydrates best and answer some questions on daily use.
- What Does Mixing Gatorade With Water Do?
- Is Gatorade Really More Hydrating Than Water?
- In What Ways is Gatorade Better Than Water?
- Is It Ok To Drink Gatorade Every Day?
- What Is the Ratio of Gatorade Powder to Water?
What Does Mixing Gatorade With Water Do?
The reasons Gatorade states for not adding water to its ready-to-drink product are the following. Diluting reduces its effectiveness by watering down the taste, and it also lowers the number of carbohydrates needed for muscle repair and dilutes the electrolytes required to promote rehydration.
On the surface, these sound like legitimate reasons not to add water. However, many people, including experts, prefer to dilute it; they claim it:
- Reduces the strong taste
- Lowers the glucose levels
- Limits the sodium uptake, which can cause dehydration
How Much Should I Dilute Gatorade?
Ready to drink Gatorade has a water-to-sports drink ratio of 1:2, so for 1 ounce of water, you’re consuming 2 ounces of Gatorade.
Those concerned with the high sodium and sugar levels should consider diluting it to at least this level.
Is Gatorade Really More Hydrating Than Water?
Gatorade funded a study to prove that drinking its product would provide more hydration than drinking water alone. Naturally, as it paid for the testing, the results would come back in Gatorade’s favor. And they did, kind of.
People who drank Gatorade appeared to be more hydrated, but that’s because they drank more fluids. If the group had consumed the same amount of water, they’d be equally hydrated.
Many people comment that the taste of water is the leading reason that they don’t drink enough of it — I can relate! So, in Gatorade’s case, it’s the added flavor that encouraged the participants of the study to consume more significant quantities of overall fluid.
Does Gatorade Hydrate You Quickly?
It can take up to an hour to experience the benefits of Gatorade. The key to hydration is that if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, and it’s going to take longer to rehydrate. You can reduce the risk of dehydration by keeping your fluids up via sports drinks or water continuously throughout the exercise.
In What Ways is Gatorade Better Than Water?
When a person exercises, they lose electrolytes — potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium — through their sweat. Water doesn’t contain many of these, so a sports drink like Gatorade can provide them more efficiently.
During a workout, you burn energy in the form of carbohydrates. To continue exercising, you need to replace these. Gatorade and other sports drinks contain these, whereas water doesn’t.
Also, check out “Why Do Cyclists and Triathletes Drink Coke? Why Not Do It!“
Is It Ok To Drink Gatorade Every Day?
Sports drinks, like Gatorade, contain additional amounts of sodium and sugar that many people don’t need. Drinking Gatorade every day could cause more harm than good for people who lead sedentary lives. These drinks are better for athletes who want quick access to electrolytes to continue exercising. (Source)
Other health risk factors from drinking too much Gatorade are tooth enamel erosion, kidney damage, and diabetes (from high sugar levels). A 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 21 grams of sugar, that’s the same as half a can of non-diet soda.
Gatorade was designed for athletes to be consumed an hour into a workout, not as a daily electrolyte replacement drink. The average person doesn’t need the added sodium or sugar present in sports drinks.
How Much Is Too Much Gatorade A Day?
The challenge with any sports drink is the high levels of sodium. The average recommended daily intake (RDI) of sodium per adult per day is 1,500 mg, and one bottle of Gatorade contains 270 mg, which is 11% of the RDI.
Gatorade has a glycemic index of 89, which means rapid absorption. The immediate impact is fluctuating blood sugar levels. For people with diabetes, this could pose an issue. On top of the other levels of sugar and sodium consumed in a day from multiple sources, even one bottle could be too much.
What Is the Ratio of Gatorade Powder to Water?
Finally, for those who want to mix their own, Gatorade recommends adding 1 2/3 Tbsp (23g) of powder to 12 fl oz of water. That’s roughly a cup and a half of diluted energy drink. These figures provide what the company believes to be the right amount of product to water.
A bottle of Gatorade can provide a short-term fix for runners, triathletes, and other sports people who exert themselves for over an hour and need to replace electrolytes. Diluting it with water is often a personal preference, but it can reduce its effectiveness.
Ok, so I’m the first to admit that I, too, find the taste of water a bit meh. During the day, I’ll drink anything else, coffee, diet soda, and flower drink, before touching water. When training or competing in an event, I will consume loads of water and mix it up with energy drinks along the way. A combination of the two works for me and many of my friends. What about you?