- Effectiveness 60% 60%
- Flavor 95% 95%
- Ingredients 50% 50%
The Original Drink That Started the Trend, Minus the Calories
You won’t find sugar in Gatorade “Zero.”
It Comes in the Original Flavors
For many reviewers, the flavors were satisfying and soothing.
Great Option for Hangover Hydration
There are ingredients conducive to hydration without the heaviness of the high salt and sugar content of other products.
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This is the brand that started it all. Currently owned by PepsiCo, Gatorade was created in 1965 by a group of University of Florida physicians in response to a call for help from the football coaching staff. The coaches wanted a product that could help their players cope with the extreme heat on the playing field. The physicians came back with the first version of their drink which was designed to replenish electrolytes that were lost from sweating, and restore hydration. The drink was a hit and was soon enough renamed Gatorade, since it was an “aid” for the Florida Gators. (1)
The HydrationReview team opted to review Gatorade Zero as it has become incredibly popular given its broader use cases. Lacking sugar and calories (hence, Zero), this lightweight hydration supplement is versatile enough to be used on the playing field or at home to recover from a hangover.
The feedback from our reviewers was neutral to positive. They liked the zero calorie nature of the drink and how it could be consumed more casually as opposed to other electrolytes that have high salt and sugar contents. As far as a physical performance, not much was felt with only a few reported instances of an energy boost. Reviewers were split on the flavor as some labeled it as artificial while others found it to be soothing (especially when nursing a hangover).
A lot of you reading this article probably have memories of drinking gatorade during high school sports practice and feeling pretty good after. One reason for this could have been the high sugar content in the original formula. For better or for worse, you probably won’t feel that same boost with the “Zero” version since it completely lacks sugar.
While it lacks sugar, this classic electrolyte supplement contains salt and potassium which are key elements to bodily hydration. The amounts are relatively low though, and unsurprisingly, reviewers felt the (lack of) effects compared to other electrolytes they tested.
“I tried Gatorade Zero before and during a few different workouts and didn’t notice a significant impact…tennis, jogging, yoga, I didn’t feel any negative effects, but at the same time I didn’t find that I had more energy.”
Keep in mind, hydration and physical boost don’t always go hand-in-hand, however with other products we’ve reviewed, our team of testers usually found a strong correlation. There were a few activities logged where reviewers found Gatorade Zero improved their output, but even in these cases they scored the effect as moderate.
Ironically enough, the HydrationReview team found this product best suited them during more sedentary activities. Some reviewers found the taste to pair well with their lunch and happily boosted their hydration while eating. Another reviewer found herself enjoying Gatorade Zero most when she was busy with chores around her apartment. The packaging still maintains that it’s a “Thirst Quencher” and this reviewer definitely agreed.
Across our reviewers (including some additional “testing” from the editors) Gatorade Zero received the most praise as a hangover helper. Between its lightweight formula, electrolyte content and flavor, we found it was a huge help when recovering from a hangover and will definitely keep a few in the kitchen for that purpose alone.
“I usually go for Pedialyte when I’m recovering from a long night of drinking, but I had extra Gatorade Zero packets and decided to give it a try… Being someone who enjoys the original flavors like Glacier Freeze and Orange, I was able to drink more water than expected. It was actually really soothing.”
Our team tried three different flavors of Gatorade Zero during testing: Glacier Freeze, Orange and Glacier Cherry. Here’s the bottom line: If you’re familiar with the classic Gatorade flavors and you like the sweeter taste, this is for you. If you’re one who dislikes anything artificial, you probably won’t be impressed.
Keep in mind the flavor is noticeably pared back compared to the original formula (which included sugar). It’s not overly sweet and still packs a lot of flavor for a zero calorie electrolyte. If you’re on the fence we recommend trying a variety pack to see if any flavors standout. As mentioned earlier, it can’t hurt to have a few of these around to nurse a hangover.
Compared to other brands we’ve tested, Gatorade Zero has a lightweight set of ingredients. On the ingredients list you’ll find sucralose is used in place of sugar to keep the calories at zero, and the core rehydration element, “salt.” We were pleased (and surprised) to discover that natural flavors are used and there is no mention of artificial ones. If you find out where to naturally derive the Glacier Freeze flavor, please reach out!
Points were deducted for the presence of artificial colors which were added to the Orange and Glacier Freeze flavors. Artificial colors are absent in the Glacier Cherry flavor which makes sense since it has a gray, salt-like color when mixed with water.
1History.com Editors. “Gatorade Invented at University of Florida.” HISTORY, 10 Oct. 2021, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/gatorade-sports-drinks-inventions.
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