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  • Writer's pictureMelisha Meredith

Choosing a "Clean" Electrolyte Option

Electrolytes are really important. They are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body.

Electrolytes conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. The muscles and neurons are sometimes referred to as the “electric tissues” of the body.

Simply put, our bodies are electric, and electrolytes help us function properly.

Electrolytes help keep us from becoming dehydrated by making us more hydrated at a cellular level.

It seems to me that most people understand that they are important because there are more "electrolyte" drinks on the market than ever before. There are premade sport-electrolyte drinks; there are powder mix electrolytes in bulk and in travel sticks.

The problem is, companies are delivering electrolytes in these drink options in combination with many harmful ingredients. So, just like every other food and drink we consume, we have to check the ingredients.

Some problematic ingredients:

Artificial dyes -

Depending on the flavor of the drink, companies use artificial colors to make the drink look a certain way to "match" the flavor. Artificial colors have a variety of problems and the problems are great enough that they have even been made illegal in some other countries, unfortunately not in the United States. They have been linked to hyperactivity, allergic reactions and even cancer in animal studies.

Examples of dyes in electrolyte drinks:

  • Gatorade Lemon Lime - Yellow 5,  Blue 1

  • Gatorade Orange - Yellow 5,  Red 40

  • Gatorade Tropical Mango - Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40

  • Powerade Mixed Berry - Blue 1

  • Powerade Island Burst - Red 40, Blue 1

  • Monster Hydro Purple Passion - Blue 1

  • Electrolit Orange - Yellow 6

  • SueroX Grape Boost - Red 40, Blue 1

High Added Sugars -

Electrolyte drinks should taste a little salty due to the minerals. My only guess as to why companies add so much added sugar to their electrolyte drinks is to cover up that salty taste. Almost all of the electrolyte drinks you buy will be sweetened in some ways. But if you look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts, you'll see that many have pretty high added sugars. Keep in mind when you look at these examples, that the recommended amount of "added sugar" per day for an adult is 12g.

Examples of high added sugar in electrolytes drinks and powders PER SERVING:

(Keep in mind some drinks have more than one serving per bottle.)

  • Liquid IV Lemon Lime hydration sticks - 11g added sugar

  • Monster Hydro Purple Passion - 30g added sugar

  • Gatorade Orange powder packet - 32g added sugar

  • Gatorade Fruit Punch G2 - 12g added sugar

  • Gatorade Cool Blue - 21g added sugar

  • Powerade Grape - 21g added sugar (2.5 servings per 28oz bottle)

Artificial Sweeteners -

To appeal to people who want to lower their sugar intake (good thing), companies started subbing sugar for artificial sweeteners (bad thing). There are ways to use natural sweeteners, but many name brand, popular brands use artificial. These are often going to be labeled "diet", "low calorie", "no sugar added" or "low sugar". Sucralose is one example.

  • Digestive issues: Sucralose can alter gut health, damage the GI tract, and increase the risk of digestive problems.

  • Glucose and insulin levels: Sucralose can alter glucose and insulin levels.

  • Probiotics: Sucralose can kill probiotics.

  • Cancer: Sucralose may play a role in certain cancers, like leukemia.

  • Weight gain: Sucralose may lead to weight gain.

Examples of electrolyte drinks with sucralose - Powerade Zero (and mixes), Propel (and mixes), Great Value Sport Zero, Great Value Sugar-Free Electrolyte Drink Mix, Liquid IV sugar free packets, all Alani drinks and mixes, all Celsius drinks and mixes, Suero X

Other "high intensity" artificial sweeteners to look out for along with sucralose include: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) , neotame, and advantame.

Cleaner options:

I am going to share some cleaner options for you and list the price of each. These options are free of artificial dyes, sucralose, and high amounts of added sugar.

Some of these options do have natural flavors, check labels if you want to avoid these.

Prices are accurate for the day this post is published and may change, so check for yourself! I've put the least expensive per serving in bold.

LMNT travel packs - $1.87 each

Redmond's Relyte travel packs - $1.50 each

Large package with 60 servings - 70 cents per serving

FlavCity travel packs - $1.45 each

Paleovalley - package with 28 servings - $1.76 per serving

Just Ingredients travel packs - $1.10 each in bag, or $2.50 each individually

Large package with 30 servings - 83 cents per serving

Trace Minerals travel packs - $1.26 each

Pure coconut water is also a good source of electrolytes.

Want to DIY your own electrolyte drink? Here are some recipes!

I hope this helps you as you shop for and consume electrolytes! Choose wisely!

Wishing you abundant health -


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