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Is Powerade Zero a Healthy Option for Hydration?
Nutrition

Is Powerade Zero a Healthy Option for Hydration?

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Fact checked by Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Last update: March 28, 2023
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7 min

The sports drinks category is now more popular than ever due to new sugar-free options. But are sports drinks with artificial sweeteners safe? We explore the health benefits, concerns, and potential risks of Powerade Zero.

is powerade zero healthy
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Powerade is a brand of sports drinks made by the Coca-Cola Company. The brand has various sports drinks, depending on the product line. Most Powerade products contain water, electrolytes, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.

Due to innovations in the sports drink industry, the company came up with sugar-free and zero-calorie variations such as Powerade Zero sugar mixed berries for people who want a healthier option.

The sports drinks are specially formulated to help you stay hydrated and energized quickly and to replenish the electrolytes lost through sweat during intense exercise.

In this article, we answer all your questions about Powerade Zero and explore its nutrition profile to determine whether it qualifies as a healthy option for hydration.

Is Powerade Zero Healthy?

The straightforward answer is yes and no. Powerade Zero is a healthier alternative to regular sports drinks that contain sugar. It provides a sugar-free and zero-calorie hydration option and may be ideal for people on a low-carb or keto diet. However, you should drink Powerade Zero in moderation because it contains artificial sweeteners, which may have long-term health risks.

What is Powerade Zero?

Powerade Zero is a sugar-free and zero-calorie variation of the Powerade with six different flavors: orange, mixed berry, watermelon berry, grape, white cherry, and fruit punch. It helps athletes to stay hydrated and replenishes electrolytes during intense exercise

Powerade Zero Ingredients Label

Let’s explore the ingredients of Powerade Zero, including artificial sweeteners, vitamins, trace minerals, and more. Please note that the ingredients vary depending on the flavor of the product. In this review, we look at the main ingredients of Powerade Zero Mixed Berry. 

Powerade Zero nutrition facts

#1 Water

The main ingredient is water which is the source of hydration and carries the other ingredients. Drinking Powerade improves hydration.

#2 Four key electrolytes

Powerade Zero contains sodium, magnesium, calcium chlorides, and mono-potassium phosphate to compensate for the key electrolytes lost through sweat during high-intensity workouts. 

It is helpful for people who sweat a lot during intense workouts. However, since it contains sodium, it can increase blood pressure, especially for people who don’t need electrolyte replacement or those already with hypertension.

#3 B group vitamins

It contains niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, and cyanocobalamin, which are vitamins B3, B6, and B12, respectively. These vitamins as essential for energy metabolism, nervous function, and overall health.

#4 Sucralose

It is a zero-calorie artificial sweetener that does not affect blood sugar levels or increase calorie intake, unlike sugar. It is commonly referred to as Splenda, and it is approved for use by the FDA. There is conflicting information about the side effects of sweeteners and whether they can cause weight gain. Studies reveal that replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener does not have any significant change in weight.

#5 Contains acesulfame potassium

It is an artificial sweetener that is sweeter than sugar but has no calories and does not affect blood sugar. Thus, it may be a safer bet for the Keto diet and people who want to reduce their sugar intake.

#6 Flavors

These have no nutritional value to the sports drink, but they add flavor and make the drink more enticing to most people.

#7 Citric acid

The ingredient increases acidity, enhances the flavor,  retains the color, preserves the ingredients, and makes the drink shelf stable for a longer period.

#8 Ascorbic acid

Contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C), an artificial antioxidant food additive used to preserve taste, maintain the sports drinks’ colour, and increase acidity to prevent microbial growth.

#9 Contains calcium disodium EDTA

It is a preservative that maintains the color and flavor and increases the shelf life of processed foods and drinks.

5 Health Benefits of Powerade Zero

#1 Restores electrolyte balance

Powerade Zero contains healthy electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to compensate for the lost electrolytes through sweat during strenuous workouts. Electrolyte imbalance can cause dehydration and low performance during physical activity. 

According to Harvard Health, sports drinks may be helpful during vigorous training that lasts more than an hour. 

#2 Boost energy

Drinking Powerade Zero provides a quick energy boost during strenuous physical activity and improves physical endurance. It contains B vitamins such as B3, B6, and B12 that support energy metabolism and helps the body to absorb food as fuel.

#3 Supports hydration

The main ingredient of the sports drink is water and electrolytes. The drink hydrates the body, restore the electrolytes lost through sweat, and balances body fluid levels.

#4 Good for muscle recovery

Powerade Zero has minimal net carbs and components that boost muscle strength during the workout. You can drink it to prevent muscle fatigue and aid muscle recovery after the workout.

#5 It is sugar-free

The zero calories sports drink has no added sugar and maybe a healthier option for people on the Keto diet. It also has zero calories and does not contribute to weight gain.

Long-term Side Effects of Powerade Zero

Just like other sports drinks, excessive consumption of Powerade Zero may have potential health risks. Here are some of the long term side effects of Powerade Zero.

May cause insulin resistance:  Although Powerade Zero is sugar-free, it contains artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame that may be more harmful than natural sugar. They are much sweeter than sugar and may still increase your sugar cravings. 

Research suggests that the body may still detect them as sugars and release insulin. In the long run, it may cause insulin resistance and lead to type 2 diabetes.

May affect the nervous system:  Sports drinks contain artificial colors, which, when consumed in excess, can cause significant damage to the nervous system. The artificial colors may also have carcinogenic effects

It may disrupt the healthy balance of the gut microbiota: sucralose is not absorbed in the intestines, unlike regular sugar. It may move to the colon and disrupt the microbial flora. Research suggests that artificial sweeteners can interfere with the gut bacteria balance, leading to a higher risk of illness.

Nutrition Facts of Powerade Zero (Mixed Berry)

Let’s look at the nutrition facts of Powerade Zero mixed berries.

Nutritional value (per 100g)

Calories/ Nutrient (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)0 kcal
Net Carbs (g)0.14 g
Fiber (g)0 g
Sugar (g)0 g
Fats (Total)0 g
Protein (g)0 g
Sodium (mg)42 mg

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174113/nutrients 

Low in calories

Powerade Zero provides hydration with no extra calories. It contains 0 calories per 3.5 ounces (100g) serving because the manufacturer uses zero-calorie sweeteners instead of high fructose corn syrup or dextrose.

Low in proteins

Powerade Zero contains 0g of protein per 3.5 ounces (100g) serving. You may need to seek alternative protein sources in the diet to meet the daily requirement that you need for muscle growth. 

Low in fats

Powerade Zero is fat-free and contains no saturated fat, Trans fats, or cholesterol.

Low in net carbs

Powerade Zero contains a paltry 0.14g of carbs per 3.5 ounces (100g) serving. It has zero fiber and is sugar-free. However, the nutrition labels on the bottle indicate that the 12 oz. serving has 0 carbs, indicating that the amount is very minimal.

Powerade vs Gatorade

These are both popular sports drinks, but which is healthier? The table below compares Powerade sugar free fruit punch with Gatorade lower sugar fruit punch.

ProductPoweradeGatorade
BenefitsImproves hydration

Provides energy and improves performance in prolonged exercise

Restores electrolytes
Provides hydration

Restores electrolytes

Enhances physical performance for longer workouts
ProsContains all the important electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium

Contains B vitamins (niacin, B6 and B 12)

Has no added sugars

It is a caffeine free sports drink
Contains electrolytes (only sodium and potassium)

No caffeine
Cons Has zero protein and fats

Contains artificial color (RED 40) which may have long term health risks
Contains added sugars

Has zero protein and fats

Does not contain B vitamins and magnesium

Contains artificial color (RED 40)

Source: Powerade vs. Gatorade

FAQs

What flavors of Powerade Zero exist?

Powerade Zero is available in six different flavors, namely citrus peach, watermelon berry, fruit punch, mixed berry, grape and orange.

Does Powerade Zero have electrolytes?

Powerade Zero sugar contains an advanced electrolyte system formulated with sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium to replace the healthy electrolytes lost in sweat during physical activity.

Does Powerade Zero have caffeine?

Unlike other sports drinks that contain caffeine,  zero does not.

Is Powerade Zero good for weight loss?

Powerade Zero is safe for people on a Keto diet because it contains zero calories and sugar and does not cause weight gain. It may not help to lose weight on its own unless on a calorie deficit diet.

Does Powerade Zero have aspartame?

Powerade Zero products do not have aspartame. They contain sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which are also FDA-approved artificial sweeteners that have the same function as aspartame.

Is Powerade good for people with diabetes?

Powerade Zero is sugar free and contains artificial sweeteners that do not raise blood sugar. However, some studies claim sucralose can still trigger insulin release, just like simple sugars. Therefore, people with diabetes should drink Powerade Zero in moderation as they monitor the changes to their blood sugar levels.

A Word from Nutritionist

Although sugar free sports drinks contain no added sugar, they contain artificial sweeteners that may have potential long term health consequences such as insulin resistance, imbalance of the gut microbiota, high blood pressure and nerve problems.

Overall, sports drinks help to replenish key electrolytes such as sodium and potassium lost during intense exercise, boost energy and enhance endurance during strenuous activity. However, it is necessary to consume sports drinks in moderation and only when necessary because without losing electrolytes in high-intensity workouts, the electrolytes can add up quickly and affect the fluid balance in the body.

Eating a healthy diet helps with muscle recovery after workout. You should also drink adequate water and other natural fluids, such as coconut water, to enhance your physical and mental performance without overreliance on sports drinks. If you work out for less than an hour, choose other hydration options, such as plain water, coconut water or water infused with lime.

Conclusion

Powerade Zero is a sugar-free sports drink that contains four key electrolytes, vitamins B3, B6 and B12, and provides hydration during long hours of workout with no added calories.

However, it contains artificial sweeteners, which have potential side effects such as insulin resistance and an imbalance of the gut bacteria. 

Drink Powerade Zero in moderation and only when necessary as part of a healthy diet in combination with other natural sources of hydration, such as coconut water.

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.
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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