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Pedialyte Vs. Gatorade: Which Sports Drink is Better for Athletes?

Pedialyte Vs. Gatorade: Which Sports Drink is Better for Athletes?

Did You Know?
Add 6 tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to a quart of water, to make a homemade drink, which can be used to treat dehydration in children over 12 years of age.

Pedialyte formulated by Abbott Laboratories and Gatorade manufactured by PepsiCo, are often used for replacement of fluids and electrolytes in the body. They are considered as better alternatives to plain water. Both the drinks are rich in electrolytes, but they are targeted at different user groups.

Athletes are often seen using both Pedialyte and Gatorade to compensate for fluid loss. Many argue that as both the drinks contain electrolytes, taking either may benefit athletes to overcome fluid loss. But the truth is that Pedialyte is more suited to kids having dehydration while Gatorade is better for athletes.
Pedialyte (8 fluid ounces) vs. Gatorade (8 fluid ounces)
Pedialyte (8 fluid ounces)  Gatorade (8 fluid ounces)
Purpose ♦Pedialyte is mainly used to prevent dehydration in sick children suffering from frequent bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. Its main purpose is to replace electrolytes and maintain fluid balance. ♦Gatorade has been formulated particularly for athletes, keeping their individual needs in mind. It not only replenishes electrolyte loss but also contains nutrients that help maximize post-workout recovery.
Sodium ♦Compared to Gatorade, the sodium content in Pedialyte is pretty high. Just an 8-ounce serving of Pedialyte gives a whopping 253 mg of sodium (11% of the daily dietary intake). Children due to excessive vomiting or diarrhea, lose sodium that is significantly more than what is lost through sweating. Hence, Pedialyte has been fortified with high amounts of sodium. ♦An 8-ounce serving of Gatorade contains around 95 mg sodium (4% of daily dietary intake).
Carbohydrates ♦Pedialyte is a low-carbohydrate drink with 8 fluid ounce containing around 6 g of carbohydrates (2% of the daily recommended intake). ♦Gatorade is a high-carbohydrate sports drink, with 8 fluid ounce providing around 16 g of carbohydrates (5% of the daily recommended intake). Muscles obtain their energy from carbs; hence having high-carb drinks is helpful to boost performance and improve muscle recovery. A majority of the carbs come from sugar. So, as compared to Pedialyte, Gatorade is higher in sugar.
Vitamins ♦This oral electrolyte solution does not contain vitamins. ♦Gatorade is infused with vitamin B, the nutrient that plays a key role in breakdown of carbohydrates into energy, which can readily be used by the muscles. So, some of the Gatorade line of products such as the ‘Carb Energy Drink’ are taken before a workout to fuel the muscles.
The Verdict
Though Pedialyte contains electrolytes, it does not mean that the sports drink has been formulated for athletes. Pedialyte only helps combat dehydration, commonly associated with sick children. An individual athlete’s requirements are unique and not restricted to thirst. Gatorade is not just fortified with electrolytes but also contains adequate amounts of vitamin B and carbohydrates that help with muscle recovery post workout.
Moreover, carbohydrates acts as a fuel for muscles during exercise. So, taking Gatorade during any athletic activity can actually help optimize performance. Indirectly, Gatorade feeds your muscles with the right amount of nutrition, which helps boost their growth. All this cannot be achieved with Pedialyte that has been formulated to mitigate dehydration. Also, frequently using Pedialyte in place of Gatorade after a rigorous activity can increase the risk of high blood pressure as it contains high amounts of sodium. So, Gatorade should always be the first choice for athletes.
Yes, Pedialyte is far better than drinking plain water to replace electrolytes lost through excessive sweating. But certainly, it cannot be a replacement for the Gatorade sports drink that has been designed to address issues that athletes face after an intense workout session.

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