When beginning a ketogenic diet, keeping an electrolyte drink with no added sugar close by is a no brainer – right?
After all, you did your research. You already know that the most important thing on a keto diet is to keep net carbs low. Even beyond that, you gotta have electrolytes in order to steer clear of the dreaded keto flu.
Social media message board after social media message board have all warned you of the dangers of dehydration on a keto diet. This means sports drinks like Gatorade Zero, with all of the different flavors, are not only a luxury on keto – but they are a must!
But is Gatorade Zero keto friendly? And should you include this highly sweetened energy drink as part of your weight loss plan?
Gatorade Zero Nutrition and Ingredients:
Let’s start answering this question based on the nutrient profile and ingredients found in this common workout drink. Since what’s truly considered keto always comes back to the nutrition facts plus ingredients used, let’s see how this low-carb sports drink measures up.
Drinking this great tasting sports drink as part of your low carb diet looks favorable, at least on the surface. After glancing at the nutrition labels for Glacier Cherry, Glacier Freeze, and Orange flavors, this looks to be a good choice since each flavor contains:
- 5 calories
- 0 carbs
- 0 sugars
Those nutrition stats seem like the makings of the perfect drink while following a keto diet! Each bottle even contains 70 mg of potassium, plus 230 mg of sodium. That right there – the very electrolytes you need on keto, right? Score one for the little guy!
Mmmm, not so much.
While proper hydration is important on a keto diet, even the best sports drink around that boasts zero sugar carbs isn’t really the best way to do it. With only 70 mg of potassium per bottle, you’ll need to drink more than two full cases of this stuff daily in order to get the 3,000 – 4,000 mg of potassium recommended on a ketogenic diet.
Also, the sodium listed on a bottle of Gatorade Zero Sugar Thirst Quencher doesn’t quite quench the vital electrolytes you need from a high quality sea salt, which is not the same thing as the low quality sodium found in most processed foods.
Simply put, the sodium you get in a 20 oz bottle of Gatorade Zero aren’t the high quality electrolytes you need to thrive on a keto diet. This drink maybe provides a good taste, but it won’t give you the performance boost it promises.
Even with it’s low calories and zero grams of carbs, so far Gatorade Zero doesn’t look like a keto friendly drink. Let’s see if the ingredients make this no sugar sports drink a good idea on a low-carb diet.
While it’s difficult to find an ingredients label online, the ingredients found in a bottle of Gatorade Zero include:
- Citric Acid
- Sodium Citrate
- Monopotassium Phosphate
- Modified food starch
- Natural flavor
- Acesulfame Potassium
- Glycerol Ester of Rosin
- Blue 1
I’m not sure if any of those ingredients are setting off alarm bells for you, but after researching the good, the bad and the ugly of nutrition for a long time, the ringing in my ears won’t stop! (Although that could be from the mercury I’m currently detoxing from).
There are so many ingredient offenders to a healthy lifestyle on this list, that I’m not even sure where to start.
Modified Food Starch:
Let’s go with modified food starch. Why the heck does a low carb diet drink add modified food starch to a sports drink? Modified food starch is a thickener that’s typically made up of corn, tapioca, potato, or wheat. Nary a modifier on that list is a good option for a keto friendly product.
Want to know what drink doesn’t contain modified food starch? Plain water … but we’ll talk more about some of the better options in a minute.
What about the artificial sweeteners found in these low sugar keto drinks? (And no, I’m not actually calling these keto drinks – but I’ve read other keto blogs praising the benefits of these famous sports drinks with none of the sugar and all of the flavor!)
Even though the label boasts zero grams of sugar, you’ll still feel like you’re getting a sugar rush because this drink contains Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, and natural flavors.
First off, natural flavors – what does that even mean? I don’t know, and quite frankly, neither do you.
When food manufacturers add the term natural flavors to a label, that can mean anything from flavorings derived from a spice, all the way to a food additive known as castoreum, aka flavors extracted from a beaver’s butt.
Since no one really understands what natural flavors means, it’s best to steer clear when you can.
Other Non Keto-Friendly Sweeteners:
When it comes to the other sweeteners listed, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium, all I have to say is these artificial sweeteners are Bad News Bears on a keto diet … or really any diet. Pretty much zero humans should be ingesting these substances.
While it’s true these sweeteners contain zero calories, there have been plenty of studies pointing to health problems and other negative health impacts caused by these sugar-free drink additives.
I personally used these sweeteners on a regular basis for decades. Not only did they result in a yo-yo of never ending weight gain, no matter how much calorie restriction or physical activity I added to my routine, but I dealt with plenty of health side effects such as daily headaches, migraines, hypoglycemia, high blood sugar, and more while consuming drinks with these sweeteners.
While it’s true I changed many other habits in order to lose 100 pounds with a low carb diet, getting rid of the bad sweeteners is the biggest change I made to keep me on the right track to improved health and permanent weight loss.
While several keto sweeteners are a much better option, read this blog to learn why I quit all sweeteners for good … or at least heavily moderate them for optimal success on a low carb diet.
To really drive this point home, let’s talk about one of the most toxic ingredients listed on the Gatorade Zero label, Blue 1. While the toxic effects of artificial colors isn’t limited to Blue 1, adding any artificial colors to foods can lead to several health consequences. For Blue 1 specifically, the toxic side effects may include:
And those side effects are only if you’re not allergic to the dye. They get much worse when an allergy does exist.
I personally experienced 4 of the 5 symptoms listed while including flavored low calorie drinks in my diet plan. Can I say all of the symptoms came from the food dyes that are commonly found in diet products? No – I was eating a lot of other crap too.
Can I conclude that the majority of these symptoms vanished once I cleaned my diet up and avoided products like these? YEP – these days I feel pretty good. (Beyond the mercury detox, but that’s a tale for a different day).
While food dyes are a controversial topic, it’s always best to avoid these highly toxic ingredients due to both long term side effects, as well as the short term symptoms listed above.
Hunger and Cravings:
While it’s important to get enough electrolytes in order to avoid common symptoms of keto flu, hopefully by now you can see artificially flavored drinks like Gatorade Zero don’t rank among your best options. In fact, the only time I’d ever recommend keeping these drinks in your plan is if you’re following a dirty keto plan.
Wait, scratch that – I don’t even recommend low sugar sports drinks for dirty keto since keeping highly sweetened drinks in a weight loss plan will only lead to hunger and cravings. When following dirty keto, you’re already at a higher risk for hunger spikes, as well as carb cravings, since many of the foods you eat are so close to the very foods you’re supposed to avoid. Don’t make the process even harder by adding highly sweetened sports drinks to your plan.
One tip that helps Keto Challengers finally lose weight with keto when pretty much no other plan has worked is they cut back on all sweeteners. While they definitely eat less keto-friendly sweeteners like Stevia and Swerve, many challengers completely get rid of the really bad sweeteners, like ACE-K and Sucralose, by the first week. This makes sticking to a properly formulated keto plan so much easier to stick with … which means you actually get results!
Better Alternatives on a Keto Diet:
While Gatorade Zero is a slightly better alternative to original Gatorade, I still don’t recommend it while following keto. Technically Gatorade Zero is a low carb product, and some even say it has zero glycemic index, which means you should be able to enjoy as much as you’d like.
Listen – I’m not here to tell you what to do in order to stick with your keto diet. Ain’t no Keto Police up in this blog. I can tell you that there have been many studies conducted that show drinking zero calorie sweetened beverages actually leads to weight gain. This is even more true if you’ve struggled with dieting in the past.
I prefer to write about the obstacles that kept me stuck in non-stop yo-yo dieting for more than 20 years in order to help others learn from my mistakes. I once wrote a video about the biggest mistake I made over my decades long struggle with weight loss, followed by weight regain. That video was all about keeping diet soda in my plan.
While people like to put Gatorade Zero in a different category because – ooh, ahh, look at all of those electrolytes – it’s really made from a lot of the same junk ingredients found in diet soda.
So what are the best products to drink after an intense workout? What should you bring with you on a long hike? How about if you just want to stay hydrated on a keto diet? What should you drink?
That’s simple – plain water.
While perhaps that’s not the answer you want to hear, it is the answer that will help you get the best results on a keto diet.
If you find plain water boring, the good news is you can jazz water up with bubbles, aka sparkling water. While you can add some fresh lemon or lime juice to sparkling water, I also recommend you stay away from any forms of water that have added sweeteners. I mean, are you even paying attention? 😂
If you’re dealing with an electrolyte imbalance as so many keto dieters do, simply add more high quality sea salt and magnesium to your day. It’s easy to add the salt right into your water, or even slip it under your tongue when you feel the effects of dehydration.
Since potassium is also an issue on a keto diet, be sure to eat plenty of potassium rich foods. Some keto-friendly examples include avocados, meat, and green leafy vegetables.
Of course it’s also important that you’re able to properly digest these foods in order to actually pull the potassium out. Take the free Keto Digestion course if you think you may be struggling to digest fat or protein. (Hint – most people coming from years of yo-yo dieting struggle with digesting protein and fat BIG TIME).
Is Gatorade Zero Keto? The Conclusion:
While many internet sources sing the praises of artificially sweetened drinks, especially since they’re low calorie and low carb, you won’t have the easiest time when you keep these products in your weight loss plan.
You can throw all of the keto expert opinions you’d like at me, but you still wont’ change my mind. Highly sweetened drinks like Gatorade Zero only lead to cravings, which in turn leads to another failed dieting attempt.
Get Better Results with Keto:
While getting rid of diet drinks is a great start to better results on a low carb diet, sticking with keto long enough to reach your goal means improving more than just this one habit.
You can learn all of the habits I improved in order to lose more than 100 pounds. Get into the Keto Quick Start Course. This is the same course Keto Challengers use to lose between 10 – 25 pounds in only 3 weeks … and this is after other keto plans failed them time and again.
With features like the Mix and Match Meal Plan, plus the Flip the Fat Loss Switch bonus, you’ll save the time, money, and frustration that comes with following a plan that isn’t customized for you!
Is Gatorade Zero Keto Friendly?
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