Powerade is one of dozens of sports drinks on the market promising to rehydrate you better than water. Children and adults guzzle down sports drinks at the gym and on the field but also drink them when no exercise is involved. There are some differences between Powerade vs water.
Water is often sufficient hydration during exercise. However, for workouts lasting more than 60 minutes, Powerade helps replenish important eletrolytes and provides carbohydrate.
While water costs nothing and comes with no calories, Powerade carries a price tag and around 130 calories per 20-ounce bottle. However, a no-sugar product called Powerade Zero is also available, according to powerade.com.
For heavy exercisers, Powerade may offer some benefit, but for the vast majority of people choosing between sports drinks vs water, water is sufficient.
Read more: Powerade Vs. Gatorade
Powerade vs Water
When you exercise at an intense level, you lose fluids and minerals known as electrolytes through sweat. Electrolytes support muscle function and water balance — when you are deficient in electrolytes, you might become weak or experience muscle cramps.
According to their website, Powerade sports drinks ingredients feature a combination of four electrolytes along with a 6 percent carbohydrate solution that the company says will improve your athletic performance by providing energy.
When you exercise, you want to be able to recover quickly and get the most out of your session — especially if you are training for an sporting event. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can impede your performance.
Prioritize Water Intake
If you are exercising at a moderate level for less than 60 minutes, water is a sufficient for hydration. You do not need the extra calories and additives in Powerade to support this activity.
Children, in particular, may clamor for sports drinks, but these can contribute to weight gain if they are drunk without enough activity. Water is a better choice if you are not participating in physical activity.
Get Your Electrolytes
Follow certain guidelines when deciding whether to drink Powerade or water during a workout. If you are exercising at a very intense level and losing a lot of sweat for more than an hour, as explained by the Mayo Clinic, you might benefit from drinking Powerade vs water. Along with electrolytes and hydration, the drink provides sugar as a quick energy source.
The sweet taste may also encourage you to drink more, so you hydrate at a faster pace. Powerade also has vitamins B-3, B-6 and B-12 added to purportedly support energy metabolism — the addition of these vitamins helps you utilize the sugar in Powerade and convert it to fuel.
Add Some Variety
If you need more than water, but don't want the calorie investment of Powerade, try diluting it in water. A 1:1 ratio of Powerade and water halves your calorie intake, but still provides some sugar, vitamins and electrolytes for recovery.
If you really just need water, but crave something a bit more flavorful, try adding slices fruits — such as strawberries, limes, grapefruit or oranges — to your water. For a more savory water blend, steep your water with cucumber slices, mint and basil leaves.
Read more: Gatorade G2 Vs. Powerade Zero
Be Aware of Hyponatremia
If you are an endurance athlete, a sports drink such as Powerade can help you prevent a rare condition known as hyponatremia.
When you consume too much water, your sodium levels become too low —causing headaches, weakness, fatigue, confusion and muscle twitching, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In extreme cases, death can occur.
Because Powerade and other sports drinks contain sodium as one of the electrolytes, consuming these during an endurance activity can ensure that your sodium levels stay in balance.