Sports drinks are designed to boost your athletic performance by providing a steady supply of energy, hydration, and by replenishing essential electrolytes that are lost during exercise. Powerade and Gatorade are two of the most popular energy drinks on the sports drink market. They are affordable and readily available at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and online stores across the USA.
When it comes to Gatorade and Powerade, people often wonder which popular sports drink is one they should choose. This article will compare Powerade Vs Gatorade to establish if one is better than the other. It will also answer some of the most common questions about sports drinks.
Powerade Vs Gatorade Comparison
Origin and Ownership
Gatorade is one of the earliest sports drinks to be ever produced. It was first produced by a team of scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The Florida Gators Football head coach requested the team of scientists to develop for him a beverage that would boost the performance of his athletes by replacing fluid lost during a game or intense workout.
The earliest version of Gatorade was produced in 1965. It was made of lemon juice, water, sodium, potassium, phosphate, and sugar. It was accredited to helping the Gator Football team win against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and get their first Orange Bowl in 1967.
The sports drink then gained traction in the sports community. In 1969, Robert Cade, one of the inventors of the beverage entered into a partnership with Stokely-Van Camp, a canned packaging food company to produce and sell Gatorade commercially.
Over the years, Stokely-Van Camp continued to test and improve the Gatorade formula and settled on Lemon and orange flavor. In 1983, the Quaker Oats Company acquired Gatorade and Stokely-Van Camp, and they expanded the market and product range of this popular drink.
In 2001, PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats Company, including Gatorade. PepsiCo continued to grow the range of products and market of the beverage in over 80 countries across the globe.
The origin of Powerade is not as grand as that of Gatorade. It was first introduced to the public in 1988, by the Coca-Cola Company with the primary aim of competing with Gatorade.
In 1988, it was declared the official sports drink at the Olympics, a move that grew its popularity and market share significantly. Coca-cola continues to improve its Powerade range of products and grow its market across the globe.
Range of Products
Currently, the main Powerade line of products is available in 16 flavors, including Fruit Punch, Mountain Berry Blast, Orange, Grape, White Cherry, Kiwi-Pineapple, Lemon-Lime, Tropical Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Citrus Passion Fruit, Melon, Twisted BlackBerry, Watermelon Strawberry Wave, and Lemonade.
Coca Cola also offers:
- Powerade Zero Sugars in 8 flavors (Citrus Peach, Watermelon Berry, Mixed Berry, Fruit Punch, Grape, White Cherry, Orange, and Strawberry);
- Powerade Ultra in 3 flavors – Strawberry Lemonade, White Cherry, and Mixed Berry; and Powerade Water. The water is fortified with electrolytes and B-vitamins. It is available in 3 flavors – Lemon, Berry Cherry, and Tropical Mango.
On the other hand, Gatorade has 25 flavors including Kiwi Strawberry, Low Sugar, Orange, Low Sugar Lemon Lime, Tidal Punch, Grape, Pineapple-Mango, Frost Riptide Rush, Fruit Punch, Cherry Zero Sugar, Organic Strawberry, Organic Mixed Berry, Organic Passion Fruit, Citrus Cooler, BlackBerry Wave, Melon, Green Apple, Tropical Cooler, Fruit Punch, Frosty Glacier Freeze, Frost Cool Blue, and Lemon Lime.
In Spring 2021, PepsiCo introduced a new line of Gatorade sports drinks, the Gatorlyte. It has less sugar and more electrolytes and its target market is more athletic customers. It is available in 3 flavors – cherry lime, orange, and strawberry kiwi.
Gatorade and Powerade are quite similar in their nutritional value but there are a few notable differences as discussed below.
Sugar is an important component in sports drinks as it breaks down easily and provides an immediate energy boost. Gatorade contains 6% sugar content while Powerade contains 8%. Both are within the 4-8% range recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine.
The main difference in their sugar content is in regards to the type of sugar used. Gatorade uses dextrose and sucrose, while Powerade uses high fructose corn syrup. Dextrose and sucrose are healthier as they are simple sugars that are easily digestible in the body. On the other hand, there have been numerous concerns over the years about the health risks associated with high levels of high fructose sugars e.g. heart disease and abdominal fat.
Both contain potassium and sodium. However, Gatorade contains 10mg more potassium and sodium than Powerade.
Vitamins and Minerals
Both Powerade and Gatorade are fortified with various minerals and vitamins. However, Powerade has a broader variety of B vitamins, including B-3, B-12, and B-6 to promote better energy and mineral absorption in the body.
So, Which is Better?
There really aren’t major differences between Powerade and Gatorade. The slight differences are in terms of flavors, type of sugar, and mineral and vitamin content. If you are keen on the electrolytes levels and the type of sugar, then Gatorade is a better option. Conversely, if you are keen on the variety of vitamins, Powerade is a better option.
Ultimately, your choice between Powerade and Gatorade comes down to preference. The two sports drinks have similar benefits and efficiency. They are hydrating and provide you with energy. They also replenish the body with essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes for sustained energy and to promote post-workout recovery. Note that the various flavors may be available in certain locations and not others.
Powerade vs Gatorade FAQ
Which is Better Between Sports Drinks and Water?
Water is an essential part of healthy living and normal body functioning. Therefore, whether you are taking sports drinks or not, it is important that you take water throughout the day.
If you perform rigorous physical activity, you produce a lot of sweat which serves as a medium through which electrolytes leave the body. In this case, you need a sports drink to replace the electrolytes. However, if you only engage in light to moderate physical activities, plain water is sufficient as long as you eat a nutritious diet.
Are There Risks Associated with Sports Drinks?
Taking sports drinks regularly is not recommended if you do not engage in rigorous activities regularly. Even athletes shouldn’t take too much. The beverages contain high levels of sodium which can be a predisposing factor for high blood pressure and heart disease. You should not use the drinks if you have chronic heart diseases, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels.
Are Sports Drinks Safe for Children?
Generally, sports drinks are not suitable for kids unless they are involved in a sport or rigorous activities. Even so, they should consume only a small amount and focus on drinking water and eating nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables.
While sports drinks do not contain as much added sugar as a soda soft drink, their sugar content is significant enough to contribute to issues such as tooth decay, high blood sugar, and weight gain. The high sodium levels also pose a risk of high blood pressure over time. Furthermore, these beverages contain food dyes which are linked to increased risk of hyperactivity and cancer in children.