Is Gatorade Good for Dehydration? Here’s What You Need to Know

A man and a woman standing next to each other drinking a bottled sports drink after a workout.

Gatorade has been a popular sports drink since 1965, when a group of scientists at the University of Florida was on the hunt for a way to restore hydration in college athletes after an assistant football coach became concerned with the effects of the heat on his team.

Its taste wasn’t widely loved in the beginning stages, causing many athletes to feel nauseous or vomit. After some changes to the formulation, it became a national bestseller and continues to quench the thirst of athletes young and old across the globe, boasting sales of nearly $1.6 billion each year.

While popular on the sports fields and in the locker rooms, not many people know whether or not Gatorade is actually a good cure for dehydration.

Although it may help restore lost electrolytes and boost overall hydration, there are some things to consider before you decide to swap out your water bottle for your favorite flavor of Gatorade for good.

Let’s dive deeper into understanding the effects of Gatorade on dehydration.

First, what is dehydration?

Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. The lack of water and fluids in your body halts it from effectively carrying out normal functions. If fluids are not replaced quickly, you may be subject to various symptoms and health conditions.

What causes it?

Dehydration can occur due to not drinking enough fluids throughout the day due to lack of access, forgetfulness or overexertion without replenishment.

Other causes of dehydration include

  • Excessive sweating
  • Medicine side effects
  • Severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Fever

Dehydration symptoms

Whatever is causing your dehydration typically manifests itself as specific symptoms.

The most common symptoms of dehydration include

  • Lethargy
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

In addition to those symptoms, people with more severe cases of dehydration may experience

  • Low blood pressure
  • Sunken eyes
  • Reduced perspiration
  • Dry, shriveled skin
  • Increased heart rate
  • Fever

Drinking fluids is usually enough to reverse mild dehydration. However, intravenous fluid is necessary to rehydrate your body and avoid further health complications in more severe cases.

What is Gatorade made of?

Gatorade is a great way to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes but should be consumed in limited amounts.

It is made up of  water, sugar, dextrose, citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, glycerol ester of rosin and flavorings.

Does Gatorade really prevent dehydration?

The short answer is yes. Gatorade was designed to prevent dehydration. It is a good rule of thumb to sip on Gatorade and water throughout your workout to maintain a healthy hydration level with sweat loss. Immediately following your activity, you should consume at least 8 ounces of Gatorade to avoid dehydration.

If you are sick and experiencing symptoms of dehydration, consider taking a few sips of Gatorade an hour to assess your body’s tolerance and help with hydration.

Alternatives to Gatorade

Although not considered completely unhealthy, Gatorade should not be consumed regularly, as it contains high levels of salt and sugar. This can be especially detrimental to those living with certain health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

Alternatives to Gatorade include:

  • Plain water
  • Coconut water
  • Water infused with electrolytes
  • Pedialyte
  • Electrolyte tablets

Treatment for dehydration in Oxford

If you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of dehydration, we encourage you to stop into Oxford Urgent Care for further evaluation and treatment today. For some, rehydrating is not enough to treat your dehydration.

Medical care is required for those who experience severe dehydration symptoms and who

  • Have had diarrhea for 24 hours or longer
  • Are irritable or disoriented
  • Are extremely exhausted
  • Can’t keep fluids down
  • Have bloody or black stool.

We are open seven days a week with no appointments required. Get the care you need now.