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Pros & Cons of Water & Gatorade

author image Paula Quinene
Paula Quinene is an Expert/Talent, Writer and Content Evaluator for Demand Media, with more than 1,500 articles published primarily in health, fitness and nutrition. She has been an avid weight trainer and runner since 1988. She has worked in the fitness industry since 1990. She graduated with a Bachelor's in exercise science from the University of Oregon and continues to train clients as an ACSM-Certified Health Fitness Specialist.
Pros & Cons of Water & Gatorade
Choose Gatorade over water if your workout lasts more than 60 minutes. Photo Credit Jason Verschoor/iStock/Getty Images


Drink the right amounts of water and sports drinks like Gatorade to improve your performance, enhance your weight-loss and reduce your risk of low blood sodium. If you are guzzling gallons of plain water every day, you are diluting the sodium in your blood, endangering your brain and its functions. Inadequate fluid intake, especially if you are active in extreme climates, increases your risk of dehydration and reduces your body's capacity to regulate your body temperature.

Hydration and Calories

Both water and Gatorade may be consumed throughout your day as part of your recommended daily intake of fluids. If you are a sedentary woman you must consume a minimum of 2.7 liters or 11 cups of fluid per day, and if you are a sedentary man you need 3.7 liters or 16 cups per day. This recommendation includes the water you drink, the water in high-water content foods such as cantaloupe, oranges and apples, sports beverages and coffee. If you are counting calories, drink plenty of water and limit your Gatorade consumption because water has no calories while Gatorade increases your daily caloric intake. Gatorade can help you reach a high level of daily calories without having to consume a tremendous amount of food if your goal is to increase your weight. A 16 oz. serving of Gatorade Perform has 100 calories. If you are an active individual, you must drink even more water and Gatorade to maintain hydration.

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Temperature Control

Water makes up 50 to 70 percent of your body. Ninety-three percent of your blood is water, 73 percent of your muscle mass is water and 10 percent of your stored body fat is water. You must maintain this level of water in your body so your cells can effectively perform all the functions which keep you alive, including regulating your body temperature. If you are exercising in the extreme heat or the extreme cold, and you are dehydrated, you increase your risk of a heat or cold related emergency. If your exercise bout lasts longer than one hour, drink Gatorade to enhance temperature regulation. Gatorade is tasty to drink compared to water, increasing the likelihood you will drink a sufficient amount of fluids. The electrolytes and sugar in Gatorade encourage you to drink more Gatorade. Drink water if your exercise session is under an hour and your goal is to lose weight, maintaining your blood volume and dissipating heat effectively to maintain an adequate body temperature.


Gatorade trumps water when it comes to replacing the electrolytes and sugar in your body. Gatorade is particularly essential if you exercise for more than an hour, because it provides glucose to your muscles and spares the glycogen stored within your muscles. Glucose is your body's source of energy in your blood while glycogen is the stored form of glucose in your muscles and liver. If you drink Gatorade throughout most of your workout, you can reserve the glycogen for when you need energy more quickly such as the sprint at the end of a road race. If all you drink is during your long workouts, you will use up your glycogen, decreasing your performance at the end of your session or race. Gatorade can also help you maintain your blood glucose levels during and after your workout if you have diabetes.

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  • “ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal”; Nutrition for the Athlete with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus; Stella Lucia Volpe, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N.; May/June 2008
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