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Gatorade Vs. Soda

author image Kelsey Casselbury
Kelsey Casselbury has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Penn State-University Park. She has a long career in print and web media, including serving as a managing editor for a monthly nutrition magazine and food editor for a Maryland lifestyle publication. She also owns an Etsy shop selling custom invitations and prints.
Gatorade Vs. Soda
A woman drinks from a sports bottle after a work out outside. Photo Credit: Boarding1Now/iStock/Getty Images

When deciding between drinking soda or a sports drink, you're generally choosing between the lesser of two evils -- at least when it comes to nutritional benefits. Both are high in calories and low in nutrients; however, sports drinks such as Gatorade can have benefits for athletes who need to replenish their body's supplies of sodium and glycogen. An even better choice than both options is water, even if you're an athlete, according to Harvard Health Publications.

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Calorie Count

A high angle view of multi-colored soda in glasses with straws.
A high angle view of multi-colored soda in glasses with straws. Photo Credit: coldsnowstorm/iStock/Getty Images

The number of calories in soda or Gatorade will differ, based on the kind you're drinking. In general, though, regular soda is higher in calories than Gatorade with 101 calories per 8 ounces for cola. In comparison, regular Gatorade contains 63 calories per 8 ounces, and the low-calorie version contains 19 calories in the same amount. A diet soda has zero calories.

Nutritional Value

A man drinks a sports drink from a bottle while on the tredmill.
A man drinks a sports drink from a bottle while on the tredmill. Photo Credit: Francesco Ridolfi/iStock/Getty Images

The touted nutritional benefit of Gatorade is its carbohydrate and sodium content for athletes -- a ready-to-drink version has 15 grams of carbs and 95 milligrams of sodium. However, 12.8 grams of carbohydrates are added sugar. It also contains a small amount of phosphorus and potassium. Soda, on the other hand, contains 26 grams of carbohydrates -- all added sugar -- and just trace amounts of iron and zinc.

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