Is gatorade an energy drink?

In this brief article, we will address the question,”Is Gatorade an energy drink?” We will explain what electrolytes are and look into the nutritional profile of Gatorade. We will talk about some side effects of drinking too much Gatorade. We will also briefly discuss if there are any variants of Gatorade that have less sugar.

Is gatorade an energy drink?

No, gatorade is not an energy drink. Gatorade is a sports drink that contains electrolytes which help in rehydrating and providing energy to people that drink it. Gatorade helps people who exercise a lot such as athletes and as a result lose electrolytes to replace the electrolytes and carbs while also hydrating.

When exercising it is beneficial that you hydrate. Water is a great source of hydration but sports drinks also come in handy as they contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium which are usually lost when exercising.

What are electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that have electric charges and assist the body in maintaining an ionic balance which is important for nerve, muscle and brain functions. Electrolytes are important because they assist in:

  • Balancing the amount of water in the body.
  • Balancing the pH level (acid/base) in the body.
  • Help in transporting nutrients into the cells.
  • Help in moving waste out of the cells.
  • Assist in the normal functioning of the nerves, muscles, heart and the brain.

Some examples of electrolytes are:

  • Magnesium
  • calcium
  • chloride
  • Phosphate
  • sodium
  • potassium

Electrolytes and carbs assist athletes in refueling and also rehydrating. The electrolytes in the sports drink assist in regulating the fluid balance in the body and the carbohydrates on the other hand assist in provision of energy. 

What is the nutritional profile of gatorade?

Over the years, there have been changes to the ingredients, flavors and colors in gatorade as compared to the Gatorade’s Original Thirst Quencher, however the nutritional profile remains quite similar.

A 20-ounce bottle can typically provide the below nutrients:

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 270mg
  • Carbs: 36g
  • Dietary fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 34g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Potassium: 75mg

Although the calories, sugar and sodium content in Gatorade appear to be high, they can be quite beneficial more so to people who do intense exercises.

What are some side effects of too much Gatorade?

It can lead to dental problems

Gatorade and other sports drinks contain acids which have been shown to wear down the tooth enamel. Additionally, the sugars that are contained in the sports drink can lead to tooth cavities.

It can lead behavioral issues

Artificial food colors such as Red 40 and Blue 1 which are all used in the formulation of Gatorade have been linked by some studies to worsen behavioral problems in people that have Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Although the studies on this are not conclusive and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained that the food colors are safe.

It can lead to unwanted weight gain

Some studies have suggested that an increase in the Body Mass Index (BMI) can occur particularly among children that regularly consume sugar sweetened beverages.

Is there Gatorade that has less sugar?

Yes, because of high sugar content concerns, Gatorade developed Gatorade Zero which contains zero sugar and only contains 10 calories and also developed G2 which contains half the sugar and half the calories contained in the original.

To make up for the sweetness that comes with the sugar, the two products make use of an artificial sweetener known as sucralose and acesulfame potassium in replacement of the sugar.

There have been contradictory findings when it comes to artificial sweeteners with some studies suggesting that they are safe for consumption while others suggesting that they have detrimental effects to the body.

More research is required in order to be able to validate causation. However, the Food and Drug Administration at this point maintains that the ingredients are safe and are approved for use as additives.


In this brief article, we have addressed the question,”Is Gatorade an energy drink?” We have explained what electrolytes are and looked into the nutritional profile of Gatorade. We have talked about some side effects of drinking too much Gatorade. We have also briefly discussed if there are any variants of Gatorade that have less sugar.