Gatorade VS Water; What’s Better For Hydration?

When many people work out, they turn to sports drinks like Gatorade to keep themselves hydrated.

Gatorade has been around since it was developed by researchers at the University of Florida in 1965, and the masses have been downing it since Michael Jordan became its spokesman in 1991. While some folks may think that they should drink Gatorade to “Be like Mike,” it is very debatable whether it is any better for you than water when you are exercising.

Here is a look at the pros and cons of both substances for rehydration.


Obviously, water has a proven track record as the king of rehydrating beverages. Human beings have turned to it throughout our history to quench our thirsts. The body does a great job of letting people know when to drink water. For most people who are engaging in moderate exercise that lasts for an hour or less, drinking water when they are thirsty will keep them adequately hydrated.

This type of moderate workout is not enough to justify the consumption of the abundant sugars that are found in Gatorade. However, for people who are engaging in rigorous exercise, there may be some benefits to drinking Gatorade.


There is a reason that you see players drinking Gatorade on the sidelines when you tune in to watch a sporting event. Gatorade can be beneficial for athletes who are competing in contests that last for hours at a time. Over the course of working out intensely for long stretches like this, the body burns huge amounts of calories.

Gatorade VS Water

Why We Need Water — The Benefits of Staying Hydrated

When the body needs this many calories, there is only so much that it can do with the fuel that is already onboard the body. Once it burns through this fuel, it will have to start burning through fat as well.

If you are trying to lose weight and not engaging in a contest, then this fat-burning is obviously a desirable outcome. However, for those who are engaged in a competitive sport, they will not be able to reach their peak athletic output when they are relying on fat as a fuel source. This is where drinking Gatorade can really benefit competitive athletes.

Gatorade is chock full of sugars that help to replace the glycogen that is burnt off when you are working out. The greater the physical demands are on the body, the more necessary it becomes to use Gatorade for rehydration. For example, someone playing a sport like basketball or soccer that calls for a lot of running will need Gatorade a lot more than someone playing a sport like baseball where there is a lot of standing around.

Bottom Line

The use of Gatorade for rehydration should be limited to competitive athletes who are working out rigorously for more than an hour at a time. For people who are just working out at the gym to get fit, drinking water will be perfectly adequate for hydration. For those who are trying to lose weight, it is especially important to avoid drinking Gatorade due to the excess sugar it contains.