Figuring out what to drink when you want to lose weight is confusing. Between conflicting advice from various diet experts, plus the multibillion dollar diet drink industry hard at work – who’s telling the truth?
Since there’s a ton of diet drinks to choose from, let’s focus on a popular low calorie sports drink, Gatorade Zero Sugar. When you come across one of these colorful bottles, you may wonder – is Gatorade Zero good for you?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this diet Gatorade drink, including whether the ingredients, nutrition facts, and electrolytes add up to a healthy drink, plus if zero sugar Gatorade helps or hurts your weight loss efforts.
What Is Gatorade Zero?
Gatorade Zero, also referred to as zero sugar Gatorade or zero Gatorade, is a sugar-free, caffeine-free sports drink that some people use to replenish electrolytes. It’s marketed as being similar to regular Gatorade thirst quencher, but it helps diminish thirst without any sugar or carbs.
There are several Gatorade Zero flavors, including:
- Glacier Cherry
- Glacier Freeze
- Lemon Lime
- Lime Cucumber
- Fruit Punch
- Cool Blue
- Strawberry Kiwi
Is Gatorade Zero Healthy?
Gatorade Zero is marketed as a healthy sports drink since it contains zero sugar, zero carbs, and zero calories. Plus, Gatorade’s marketing team claims the added electrolytes keep you hydrated with a sugar-free drink.
Still, many consumers are catching on and asking the question – is Gatorade Zero bad for you?
So which is it? Do sugar-free sports drinks help or hurt your quest for better health?
To get to the bottom of this, let’s look at the nutrition facts and ingredients. Please note, there were zero marketing dollars paid towards the writing of this article. This means you’ll actually learn the truth about Gatorade Zero.
Gatorade Zero Nutrition Facts
While the nutrition facts vary slightly per flavor, most flavors are in the same range when it comes to calories and carbs.
Most Gatorade Zero flavors fall between:
- 5-10 calories per bottle
- 1-2 grams of carbs per bottle
- 0 grams of fat and protein per bottle
All flavors also contain 0 sugars, 270 mg sodium, and 75 mg potassium.
Based on the nutrition facts alone, most people would conclude this low-calorie alternative is a healthy option. Since the ingredients are also important, let’s take a look at what’s added to this sugar-free quick energy drink.
Gatorade Zero Ingredients
Just as the nutrition varies slightly per flavor, so do the ingredients. While you should check the product label for the variety you choose, here are some of the common ingredients used in most flavors:
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Citrate
- Monopotassium Phosphate
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Glycerol Ester of Rosin
- Artificial Colors
Most flavors also use a thickener, such as gum arabic or modified food starch. Natural flavor and sucrose acetate isobutyrate are used in addition to sucralose and acesulfame potassium to sweeten some flavors.
Nearly all of the flavors contain food dyes, including Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5 and 6. The only flavors that are free from food dyes are the Berry (sweetened with vegetable juice concentrates) and Glacier Cherry (clear) flavors.
Many of the ingredients used in Gatorade Zero are controversial when it comes to contributing to common health problems, which makes the question is Gatorade Zero sugar good for you appropriate.
The most contentious ingredients include artificial sweeteners and artificial colors. But since the low calories and electrolytes are touted so heavily as health benefits – do the pluses outweigh the negatives with this popular sports drink?
Where’s The Electrolytes?
Does Gatorade Zero have electrolytes in it?
Gatorade’s marketing team is sure to let you know that sugar-free Gatorade contains the same electrolytes as regular Gatorade. But what does that really mean?
With 270 mg of sodium and 75 mg of potassium in each bottle, there are electrolytes in Gatorade Zero. However, with a nutrient daily value of only 2% of potassium and 11% of sodium, you’d have to drink quite a few bottles to get the necessary electrolytes for proper hydration.
Furthermore, the sodium in Gatorade Zero isn’t the high quality sea salt most experts talk about when it comes to electrolytes. Most of the sodium used in these types of drinks is regular old table salt, which most people already get too much of through processed foods, frozen dinners, and soups.
If you drink a zero sugar Gatorade while following the Standard American Diet, or a diet that’s high in processed foods, the excess sodium isn’t a great thing. This is especially true if you already deal with high blood pressure, or other health problems that are common with a S.A.D. diet.
Does Gatorade Zero have artificial sweeteners?
It sure does! In fact, at least two ingredients in Gatorade Zero combine to make up the sweetness of this no-sugar drink: Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium.
Even though both sweeteners are FDA approved and part of the generally recognized as safe category, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding both.
Some of the possible health problems associated with these sweeteners include:
- Migraine trigger
- Could contribute to insulin resistance
- Neurological side effects like dizziness, anxiety, depression, brain fog, nerve damage and tinnitus
- Weight gain
- Negative shifts in gut microbiome
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Damage to thyroid
Keep in mind, for as many studies as there are to show these sweeteners are safe (typically paid for by the companies that sell the products), there are also studies showing the negative side effects. It’s up to you to determine the accurate information since both arguments can be made.
The way I look at it is that the human population didn’t have many diseases that are so prevalent today when simple sugar was used to sweeten drinks.
Speaking of which, there are plenty of studies that show obese people who consume artificially sweetened drinks actually gain weight, even when weight loss is the goal.
Among the long list of Gatorade Zero ingredients, the artificial colors are the next most controversial. And for good reason.
Beyond some of the food dyes used being possible carcinogens, there are several other health problems tied to artificial colors.
The dyes used in various diet Gatorade flavors include Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5 and 6. Each color has its own possible risks, including:
- Red Dye #40: commonly associated with aggressive behavior in children, including tantrums, hitting, kicking and swearing.
- Blue Dye #1: linked to ADHD, allergies, and asthma. Could result in blue-tinged skin, urine, and feces. Possible links to hypertension and death.
- Yellow Dye #5: associated with allergic reactions, such as hives, itching, coughing, vomiting, and swelling. Could lead to tumor formation and hyperactivity in children.
- Yellow Dye #6: animal studies show this dye resulted in the formation of kidney and adrenal tumors. Contains small amounts of the carcinogenic contaminants benzidine and 4-amino-biphenyl.
Is It Healthy?
Now that we have the facts, let’s get back to our original question – is Gatorade Zero sugar good for you?
Even though controversy surrounds the use of both the artificial sweeteners and the artificial colors used in Gatorade Zero, you have to look at who’s taking sides in the arguments.
On one side you have scientists who’ve performed independent research studies with no ties to the outcome. On the other side you have product marketing teams backed by a multibillion dollar diet drink industry. Who has more to lose with negative studies?
In the event that’s not enough, I’ve personally had 20 years of negative side effects while consuming diet drinks. Once I quit the artificial sweeteners and food dyes for good, I no longer experienced anxiety, depression, chronic migraines, and more.
While it’s true I made several other diet changes, I count swapping out diet drinks for plain water as one of the most helpful strategies in my quest for better health. I also lost 100 pounds on top of feeling better, so win-win.
What About the Weight Loss Benefits?
But wait – is Gatorade Zero Good for Weight Loss?
If that’s the reason you made the swap from regular sugar drinks to diet Gatorade, the weight loss effects you experience are likely only temporary.
Of course drinking liquid sugar, as is the case with regular Gatorade, isn’t a good idea when weight loss is your goal. Still, the sweeteners used in diet sports drinks tend to promote weight gain, rather than help with weight loss.
While there are different reasons this might occur, two of the biggest reasons are the changes that happen in your gut microbiome, plus the cravings that occur with frequent use of artificial sweeteners.
Whenever weight loss is your goal, your best bet is to drink more plain water. And if you don’t love regular old water, just drink more! Eventually your palate will adjust and you’ll wonder how you ever drank the sweet stuff in the first place!
These are not the same. Gatorade G2 is a low sugar product, while Gatorade Zero includes zero sugar since its sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead.
The total carbohydrate amount of most flavors of Gatorade Zero falls between 1-2 grams.
Even though it’s technically a low carb beverage, I would not consider Gatorade Zero keto-friendly due to the sweeteners used.
Most flavors of Gatorade Zero contain between 5-10 calories per bottle. The company is allowed to call it zero calories since the amount per serving is so low.
Conclusion: Is Gatorade Zero Better For You?
While you’ll need to come to your own conclusion as to which risks you’re willing to take, I wouldn’t advise drinking Gatorade Zero as part of a weight loss plan. The possible side effects, including weight gain, aren’t worth the quick sweet fix you get.
While ditching flavored sports drinks in favor of water is a great first step, why not learn all of the tricks I used to lose 100 pounds? Hundreds of other women finally lost weight with the Keto Quick Start Course – even after other low carb diets failed.
Gatorade Zero Sugar
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