Electrolyte drinks are perfect for rehydrating. On top of water, your body also needs a steady supply of electrolytes to stay hydrated. Electrolytes are used to move water around in your body and are essential to combating dehydration. These electrically charged molecules are also crucial for other essential body functions, like nerve signaling, pH balance, and muscle contraction.
Everyone needs to consume water and electrolytes every day to replace those that they lose through sweat. Most people get all the electrolytes they need from the foods they eat. However, those who are heavily involved in sports or who do intense workouts might need a bit extra. Some other situations can create an increased need for electrolytes as well, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Below, you’ll find the ten best electrolyte drinks on the market.
1. BodyArmor LYTE Sports Drink
BodyArmor drinks come in a variety of flavors, including coconut and watermelon. They are perhaps one of the healthiest electrolyte drinks on the market. They contain no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes.
They are 10% coconut water, which is well-known for its hydrating qualities. For these reasons, BodyArmor is our #1 choice for electrolyte drinks.
2. Hoist Isotonic Electrolyte Drink
While this drink isn’t as popular as our first pick, it is quite useful for hydration. It is low-calorie but tastes decently good. Multiple flavors are available as well, so they’ll likely have at least one flavor you like.
This drink has been carefully formulated to rehydrate you completely.
3. Bai Flavored Water
These flavored water drinks are free from artificial sweeteners and infused with antioxidants. They are non-GMO and low glycemic index.
They contain a small amount of caffeine. There are plenty of flavors available as well.
4. NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Sports Drink
This is an alternative for those who want to stay far away from sugar. There is absolutely no sugar added into these drinks, and they are certified organic. The entire bottle is only 30 calories, which is also much lower than most options.
This drink is also designed to be very absorbable, so your body will have access to the electrolytes faster.
This drink contains water, electrolytes, and vitamins. No sugar is added, and this drink contains zero calories in all.
We particularly liked that this drink was full of vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin E.
6. Electrolit Electrolyte Hydration 12 Pack
This drink is crafted using the World Health Organization’s guidelines for rehydration. It is perfect for those who are sick and need to stay hydrated. But it can be useful for those in sports as well.
This drink includes many things that others don’t, such as sodium lactate, to help your body process the electrolytes.
7. GoodSense Pedia Electrolyte Liquid
This drink is designed to be drunk by children who need to increase their electrolyte intake – usually because they are sick. It is inexpensive and comes in a variety of flavors.
It contains less sugar than most sports drinks, making it particularly suitable for children and toddlers.
8. Bolt24 Fueled by Gatorade
This is made by the same company that makes Gatorade. This drink is decent for hydration. It contains a variety of antioxidants and electrolytes.
However, it also contains quite a bit of added sugar, which is one reason it is so far down on our list.
9. Pedialyte Advanced Care Plus Electrolyte Drink
This is another drink designed for children specifically. This one has a bit more electrolytes in it than most other drinks and is particularly suitable for a medical setting.
This beverage is specifically designed to prevent dehydration.
10. Vita Coco Coconut Water
Coconut water contains natural nutrients and electrolytes. Each bottle is only 60 calories, and the juice never comes from concentrate.
For those who want to hydrate as naturally as possible, this may be a suitable option.
Who should buy electrolyte drinks?
Truthfully, everyone could probably use an electrolyte drink now and then. We’ve probably all experienced a time when we could have been better hydrated. We recommend anyone have a store of at least a few drinks – which can come in handy when someone in your home gets sick.
With that said, there are a few people who may benefit from drinking these every day. If you’re regularly involved in hard, physical labor, you could probably benefit from adding these drinks to your routine. This is true for people who work out, as well as those who have a physically demanding job.
In other words, if you regularly work up a sweat, you’d probably benefit from a hydrating electrolyte drink.
We particularly recommend keeping these drinks on hand if you have children. Children tend to get sick more than adults, especially if they’re around other children. They are also smaller, which means they have fewer electrolytes in their body, to begin with. Sometimes, children also don’t slow down when sick, which can make them more susceptible to dehydration.
Keeping kids hydrated when they’re sick is essential. Dehydration is severe and can cause huge problems. Electrolyte drinks can help considerably with this, mainly when your child isn’t drinking or eating as much as they would regularly.
How We Ranked
When checking each when ranking each drink, we first considered how hydrating each option was. There are many “sports drinks” out there that claim to provide electrolytes and extreme hydration. However, many of them just weren’t backed by science.
We looked at the ingredients in each drink very carefully and checked them against the science of hydration. Only those that provided actual hydration made it onto our list.
Secondly, we looked at the other ingredients in each drink that wasn’t necessarily tied to hydration. These included essential vitamins and minerals, as well as less healthy additives like sugar and artificial colors.
These ingredients didn’t necessarily impact how hydrating the drink was, but they do impact how healthy the drink is overall. If you’re working out to lose weight, you don’t want to add tons of extra sugar and calories to your diet by picking a poorly formulated electrolyte drink.
Thirdly, we considered how tasty each option was. Many people aren’t going to be interested in drinking something that tastes horrible, even if it is very healthy. Luckily, there are many tasty electrolyte drinks on the market.
The variety of flavors was also important. Everyone is not going to love every drink flavor, so having a variety available is essential.
Electrolyte drinks may improve exercise performance. When you’re working out, you will lose water and electrolytes. Studies have shown that just losing 1% to 2% of your body weight in sweat can lead to decreased workout performance (1, 2).
Sweat also contains a significant amount of sodium. That’s why it tastes salty. You lose about 1 gram of sodium with every liter of sweat. Your body needs that sodium to help contract your muscles and move water around your body.
If you want to continue to perform, you need to replace the electrolytes and water you lose during your workout. Electrolyte drinks can help with this substantially (3).
Electrolyte drinks can prevent dehydration during illness. Vomiting and diarrhea both cause fluid to be lost from your body. In the short term, this might not be a significantly big problem, especially if you’re eating and drinking. However, if it continues for some time, it can cause dehydration.
Children and babies are significantly prone to dehydration due to sickness. They have less water and fewer electrolytes in their bodies to begin with because they are smaller. They also tend to stop eating and drinking when they get sick, especially if they are nauseous.
Not all children realize that they need to slow down and rest when they’re sick. This can mislead some parents into thinking they’re fine until they’re already dehydrated and in need of a hospital trip.
It is generally recommended that children be given a rehydration solution like an electrolyte drink whenever they begin vomiting or having diarrhea. Even if your child doesn’t look dehydrated or particularly sick, an electrolyte drink can be an essential step to preventing dehydration (4).
Electrolyte drinks can help prevent heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening illness that typically occurs in a hot environment.
When you’re hot, your body helps keep your internal temperature at a suitable level by sweating. The sweat evaporates on the surface of your skin and causes you to cool down. But sometimes, this system doesn’t work effectively enough, and our body temperature rises anyway (5).
Heatstroke can happen to anyone. The only way to prevent it entirely is to stay out of particularly hot environments. However, you can prevent heat stroke by staying hydrated so that your natural body-cooling system works as effectively as possible (6).
If you’re in a hot area and your dehydrated, your body temperature is going to rise even faster than it would otherwise. Because of this, hydration is essential. It is recommended that you use an electrolyte drink in these situations to prevent potentially deadly heatstroke (7).
Electrolyte drinks can hydrate you better than water in some cases. For most situations and people, water works fine as a hydrating agent.
However, in situations that involve a lot of sweat, electrolyte drinks may be the better choice. This is because sweat contains electrolytes. So, when you sweat, you’re also losing electrolytes on top of water. Just drinking water in these cases may not be efficient. You’ll need to replace electrolytes as well to hydrate completely.
But electrolytes are not necessarily better at hydrating you in all circumstances. If you aren’t working out, exercising intensely, ill, or in hot weather, regular water will likely be excellent.
You don’t HAVE to drink electrolytes drinks every day to stay hydrated, in other words. But, there are some circumstances where these beverages could be more helpful than water.
Electrolyte drinks come in a wide variety. If you’ve decided that you need an electrolyte drink, then you have a wide variety to choose from. There are countless flavors and brands.
Of course, not all of these are made equally. Some are better than others. We provide a list of the best ten electrolyte beverages above, along with a short review to help you make the best decision.
You can find electrolyte drinks formulated explicitly for specific situations as well. Some are made particularly for sick children, while others are made for adults who are working out. No matter your situation, you can likely find an electrolyte drink specially formulated for it.
Electrolyte drinks contain sugar. Most electrolyte drinks contain sugar. Some even contain massive amounts of added sugar. In our rankings section, we avoided drinks that contain significant amounts of sugar. However, some of the most popular sports drinks do contain a lot of sugar. You’re likely to find high-sugar electrolyte drinks at nearly every grocery store (8).
This excess sugar can cause all sorts of problems. Firstly, it adds extra carbohydrates to your diet. If you’re working out to lose weight, this can be entirely counter-intuitive. The sugar may also get in the way of your body correctly absorbing the electrolytes in the mixture.
High amounts of sugar can also make diarrhea worse, especially in children. If your child is sick and you turn to electrolyte drinks to keep them hydrated, the added sugar can sabotage your efforts. A hydrating drink isn’t beneficial if it makes your child lose more water (9).
Electrolyte drinks are not always sufficient for themselves. In medical situations, electrolyte drinks are not always sufficient by themselves. They cannot treat or cure heat stroke, for example, though they can play a part in preventing it.
In severe cases of diarrhea and vomiting, electrolyte drinks are not a one-size-fits-all fix either. They can prevent dehydrate from occurring in the first place, but they are not a treatment for severe dehydration. Furthermore, they are not particularly helpful in long-term treatments (10, 11).
Electrolyte drinks are not something you need to drink every day. Instead, they’re designed for drinking during a workout, sporting event, or other activity that is physically demanding.
When performing strenuous physical activity, you should drink as much as you feel the need to. There is no reason to consume a certain number of drinks during a workout or anything of that sort. Often, listening to your body about your thirst level is the best choice.
There is no particular reason you can’t drink electrolyte drinks anytime you want. Some of them do have added sugar and are quite high calories, however. If you drink these every day, you could be adding a significant number of calories and extra sugar to your diet.
On the other hand, most of the drinks on our rankings list are not particularly high in sugar and calories. If you’re interested in drinking electrolyte drinks every day for whatever reason, these are the best choice.
Are electrolyte drinks good for you?
Yes and no. Electrolyte drinks are a broad category. Some of these drinks are free from added sugar and very low in calories. They may include extra vitamins and minerals, which can make them healthy in their own right.
Other electrolyte drinks are incredibly high in sugar and can be a significant source of calories. They may not include added nutrients and may not even be scientifically formulated for hydration. These drinks are not particularly healthy for you, despite their added electrolytes.
What drinks have electrolytes besides Gatorade?
Many drinks contain electrolytes besides Gatorade. Our favorite is BodyArmor. These electrolyte drinks contain no artificial flavors or sweeteners. It also contains 10% coconut water, which is well-known for its hydrating abilities. It includes a variety of different electrolytes, including quite a bit of potassium.
Plus, this drink also contains a variety of B vitamins and several antioxidants.
We also loved the Hoist brand of drinks. These drinks contain significantly less sugar than most and are very low-calorie. Because of this, it is particularly suitable for those who are carefully watching their caloric intake. It is formulated to contain the perfect blend of water, electrolytes, and carbohydrates to hydrate you quickly.
Bai flavored water is another suitable choice that is slowly becoming more popular. These drinks come in many different flavors and are all very low calorie. Most bottles are just ten calories. They are free from artificial sweeteners and contain just one gram of sugar per serving. They are also full of antioxidants and non-GMO.
Should I drink juice or electrolyte drinks?
In the past, juices were the go-to source for electrolytes. Coconut water is the best choice in most cases for those set on drinking juice. Coconut water is decently low in calories and packed full of electrolytes. Other juices that are high in electrolytes include orange and tart cherry juice.
However, today, electrolyte drinks are likely your best choice. These drinks are often lower in calories and sugar than juices. Of course, it depends precisely on what drink you purchase. To make sure you choose a healthy electrolyte drink, head to our rankings section above.
Is Gatorade an electrolyte drink?
Yes. Gatorade does contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which makes it an electrolyte drink. However, we don’t generally recommend Gatorade. It is high in sugars and often contains artificial ingredients as well.
These ingredients can often get in the way of your quest to be healthy. Because of this, we highly recommend choosing something like BodyArmor or Hoist instead. Our rankings section includes a complete list and review of our top electrolyte drinks to help you pick the best electrolyte drink for you.
Can I drink electrolyte drinks every day?
Yes, though it will likely be pretty unnecessary. Unless you’re working outside in the heat every day, you are not losing enough electrolytes for them to need to be replenished. However, as long as you’re choosing a healthy drink, there isn’t anything particularly wrong about drinking them every day.
With that said, you mustn’t choose a drink high in sugar and artificial flavors. If you consumed those ingredients every day, you might end up harming your health. Because of this, we highly recommend being very selective about what drink you purchase.
Our rankings section lists our top ten drinks. We made sure to include a large variety of options, so there is something for just about everyone. We recommend choosing a drink from our list to ensure you’re getting a healthy option.
Are electrolyte drinks suitable for the flu?
Yes and no. Some electrolyte drinks can be great at helping you stay hydrated, which can help you feel better faster. However, others can be packed with sugar and extra carbohydrates. Extra sugar is the last thing you need when you’re sick.
We do recommend having at least an electrolyte drink or two stored away just in case you or a family member gets sick. But it is essential to make sure you select the correct electrolyte drink. We listed many great electrolyte drinks in our reviews section, so we highly recommend you head there for information on the best choices for when you’re sick.
What happens when your body is low on electrolytes?
Electrolytes are necessary for many body functions. Symptoms of a minor electrolyte imbalance include an irregular heartbeat, fast heart rate, fatigue, and lethargy. As your electrolytes get lower, your symptoms will often worsen and include things like seizures, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping.
Muscle cramping, muscle weakness, irritability, confusion, headaches, and numbness are also possible.
In severe cases, death is possible without treatment.
How do you know if your electrolytes are low?
Most symptoms of low electrolytes are hard to spot and usually won’t be noticed until you go to the doctor for a routine checkup. In minor cases (which is most), you’ll experience irregular heartbeat, fast heart rate, and fatigue. Often, electrolyte deficiencies are caused by hard physical labor, though, so it can be hard to distinguish simply being worn out from fatigue.
Moderate and severe cases will have significantly worse symptoms, including lethargy, convulsions, nausea, and vomiting.
Not all cases of electrolyte deficiencies have the same symptoms. If you think you might be low in electrolytes, we recommend giving your doctor a call.
Does coffee deplete electrolytes?
Yes. The caffeine in coffee can deplete your electrolytes. However, there is no evidence that it is severe enough to affect your workout or anything of that sort.
Do electrolyte drinks hydrate better than water?
Truthfully, not in most cases. The average person won’t get much extra from drinking electrolyte drinks. Water can work just as well.
Electrolyte drinks can be beneficial when sweat is involved, though. This is because you lose sodium, an electrolyte when you sweat. After enough sweat, your body can run low of essential electrolytes. Most people will never become severely deficient in electrolytes. However, just being slightly deficient can make you perform worse on physical activities. This can affect sports performance and workouts.
Whether or not an electrolyte drink hydrates better than water depends mainly on the circumstance.
Electrolyte drinks can be good at replenishing your electrolytes during periods of intense physical activity. They can help you rehydrate appropriately after working out or keep you working at your best when you’re in a hot environment. These drinks may also be useful when you’re sick. Vomiting and diarrhea can often lead to dehydration. Electrolyte drinks can help prevent this.
However, you likely don’t need to drink an electrolyte drink every day unless you’re an athlete who is often working out in the heat. Some professions might require drinking electrolyte drinks daily as well, especially jobs that require a lot of manual labor.
For the most part, electrolyte drinks are pretty healthy. Some are packed full of sugar, though, which can lead to problems. When children are sick, excess sugar can make their diarrhea worse! We recommend being very careful about the drinks you choose because of this.
For Bodynutrition’s #1 electrolyte drink choice, click here.