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Is Gatorade Good for Diabetes? A Closer Look
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Is Gatorade Good for Diabetes? A Closer Look

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on November 8, 2022
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3 min

Staying hydrated is important, and while water provides sufficient hydration, sometimes people prefer sweetened drinks. Is Gatorade good or bad for you when you have diabetes?

Is Gatorade good for diabetes
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When you have diabetes, you need to be very careful about what you consume. This means avoiding high-glycemic foods and drinks. People who are active in their daily life turn to sports drinks like Gatorade to help maintain their hydration levels as they work out. As one of the most popular sports drinks, is Gatorade good for diabetes?

In this article, we will look at whether those with diabetes can consume Gatorade and what the possible effects of consumption are.

Is Gatorade Good for Diabetes?

No, Gatorade is not good for diabetes. Those with diabetes should consume low-sugar drinks, and Gatorade is anything but. The carbohydrate content in the form of simple sugar and electrolytes in the sports drink is meant to keep the body hydrated and nourished by replenishing water lost during exercises. However, these ingredients cause spikes in blood glucose.

Despite being available in both standard and low-calorie versions, the drink is not suitable for people with diabetes because it has a high glycemic index and contains unhealthy additives.

Does Gatorade Raise Blood Sugar?

Regular Gatorade will raise your blood sugar level. The beverage was formulated to help build endurance, especially during strenuous activities. The drink keeps you hydrated through its combination of minerals, electrolytes, sugar, and more. It is highly discouraged for people with diabetes because the drink causes a blood sugar spike.

The presence of additives in Gatorade also makes the drink unhealthy. These ingredients prompt the body to absorb the glucose from the drink instantly and release a burst of energy that will raise blood glucose levels. These rapid raises can be very dangerous for those with diabetes.

Gatorade Nutritional Value per 100g

Gatorade is a mix of water, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes like salt and monopotassium phosphate. These ingredients are blended to create recovery sports drinks that help people replenish their bodies after prolonged exercise.

Due to its carbs and moderately high sugar content, Gatorade is not a safe or healthy food for people with diabetes. The additives in the drink could also cause other health problems. Here is the Gatorade nutritional value per 100g:

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
6.43g6.43g0g0g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
260g5.24g89

Gatorade Glycemic Index

Gatorade has a glycemic index of 89. Any foods or drinks with a glycemic index of 70 and higher are considered high. This means that the consumption of Gatorade will raise your blood sugar levels instantly. Drinks with high glycemic index are bad for blood sugar management.

For those with diabetes, high-glycemic foods should be avoided. Gatorade contains fructose that leads to excess glucose in the blood. Artificial sugars, unhealthy additives, food dyes, and preservatives contribute to this high index. Consuming this beverage for people with diabetes could also lead to other health issues like obesity and cancer.

Which Gatorade Is Good for Diabetes?

The low-calorie version, Gatorade Zero, is the best choice for those with diabetes. However, it is better to avoid such drinks altogether. The high sugar content in Gatorade adds more calories to your blood than you may realize, which can complicate your blood glucose control.

To regulate insulin production and keep your blood sugar under control, this sugar-rich beverage should be on your no-go list.

Why Is It Best to Avoid Gatorade for Those With Diabetes?

Many factors play a role in blood glucose balance. People with diabetes need to limit their intake of refined carbohydrates, and Gatorade is a sugar-rich beverage that will cause sugar spikes in your blood. Therefore, you need to avoid drinking regular Gatorade at all costs. 

High glycemic index and unhealthy additives, combined with the difficulty in controlling your portion, mean that Gatorade is not the drink of choice for people with diabetes.

#1 High glycemic index

Gatorade is a popular sports drink. It’s a high-calorie, high-carb drink that gives your body an energy boost, but it is unhealthy and should not be consumed by people with diabetes.

Studies have shown a link between the consumption of high-GI foods and increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Gatorade is no exception to this trend; it has a high carbohydrate content and contains unhealthy additives. 

#2 Contains unhealthy additives

Gatorade contains unhealthy additives that those with diabetes should steer clear of. While the beverage does contain electrolytes and hydrating properties, the unhealthy pigment and additives might lead to hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia. 

#3 It is difficult to control your portion

When you are dehydrated, you want to reach for that refreshing water, but it is hard to resist the temptation of a sweetened drink. Gatorade is a sweet drink that will help boost your energy, but it is hard to control your portion once you get a taste of it. This could cause your blood sugar level to spike.

A Word From Our MD

Diabetes requires people to live a healthy lifestyle. High-glycemic foods are a health risk. If consumed, Gatorade can lead to high blood sugar levels and other medical complications.

Since it is advertised as a hydrating drink that helps people replenish energy after exercise or hydration, most people assume that Gatorade is safe for everyone. Medical professionals and dietitians strongly warn against consuming Gatorade when you have diabetes.

Even though the American Diabetes Association says that drinks with zero calories pose a lesser risk to people with diabetes, Gatorade Zero is still not entirely safe. You should consult a physician before consuming any sports drink or making any dietary changes.

Conclusion

There is a variety of sweetened sports drinks in the market, but do you really need Gatorade to stay hydrated? There are better and safer hydrating drinks like water that will not pose any risks to your health.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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