Pedialyte Electrolyte Review

Overall Score

Last Updated August 24, 2021
  • Effectiveness 50% 50%
  • Flavor 35% 35%
  • Ingredients 10% 10%

Key Takeaways

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A Trusted Household Name

Pedialyte has been serving customers for over 50 years.

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The Flavors Received Mixed Reviews

Users may need to test out a few to decide which they like best.

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Contains Artificial Flavors and Coloring

If you’re trying to avoid artificial flavorings or colors, this is not the mixer for you.

Low Calorie

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Overview

After the development of oral rehydration therapy, a breakthrough scientifically-backed rehydration formula discovered in the 1950s, the concept began making it into commercial products. Pedialyte was one of the original rehydration products on store shelves. It was specifically designed for children who were fighting off gastrointestinal issues and needed a hydration helper. Up until more recent years, children have comprised the entire market for Pedialyte hence the brightly colored drinks, former teddy bear logo and name (pedia is an abbreviation for pediatrics). In fact, for most readers of this article, their first memory of drinking Pedialyte will be in their childhood bed, sick with the stomach flu. But for those same readers, we can almost guarantee they have more recent memories of Pedialyte. Memories of waking up hungover, hoping the children’s hydration solution will relieve some of the pain from the prior night’s vodka shots. 

This trend grew rapidly with adult use accounting for one third of Pedialyte sales in 20151. In that same year, Abbott Labs, the maker of Pedialyte, made a concerted push into the adult market. They also launched the powered version of the Pedialyte formula (what’s tested in this review) and started promoting it at music festivals and sporting events around the country. Since then, new flavors and additional product lines such as Pedialyte AdvancedCare Plus have made it onto store shelves.

Now that we have an explanation for why your friend’s fridge is stocked with children’s rehydration therapy, let’s talk about how well it works. The HydrationReview team liked the science-driven formula, but had mixed feelings about the flavors and efficacy in our testing situations. Mixability was also frustrating and our team recommends adding more water than what the package suggests to facilitate the dissolution process. Read below for more detail on the individual category scores.

Effectiveness

The HydrationReview team tested the original Pedialyte formula in several different situations including normal morning and evening use, before working out, after working out and the popular use case of post alcohol consumption. Overall a moderate effect was felt.

One of our reviewers who reported no effect to a moderate effect throughout the testing period did notice improved hydration early on in his day. After a late dinner the night before, he decided to skip breakfast, hydrate, then hit the pavement first thing. He felt that the Pedialyte carried him through this workout despite the 80°+ (F) temperatures and not having eaten any food that day. This specific result makes sense given that Pedialyte contains sugar and sodium, allowing for hydration on an empty stomach.

Other reviewers noticed a material difference in their hydration after taking Pedialyte to recover from a dehydrating workout but noted they had a difficult time consuming the product because they did not like the flavor (more below). 

Flavor

During our testing period, reviewers tried all the Pedialyte flavors available in the variety pack: strawberry, fruit punch, grape and apple. We’d like to note that these flavors are much stronger than other brands we’ve tried. This probably has everything to do with the fact that the flavors are a “kid approved taste” as prominently displayed on the box. The HydrationReview team liked strawberry the best followed by grape. Apple had an unpleasant taste in our opinion with one reviewer describing it as “a sugar enhanced apple cider.” Fruit punch could best be described as nearly identical to children’s cold medicine. Maybe this holds appeal to children, but our adult reviewers were not pleased. For whichever flavor you try, we highly recommend using cold water to dull the strong taste. 

There are other flavors that we haven’t yet tried including cherry, strawberry lemonade and orange. Additional flavors of mix packets are available in other product lines such as Pedialyte Sport Powder Packs and Immune Powder Packs. The HydrationReview team plans on circling back to review those products in the coming months for a full review.

Ingredients

Pedialyte scored poorly in this category since the original formula contains artificial flavors and artificial colorings. For readers who prefer not to consume these additives, Pedialyte also has an Organic product line (liquid only) with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

Lastly, we’d like to call out that the original Pedialyte formula includes potassium and chloride, two essential electrolytes. Based on our research, these electrolytes will aid the body in muscle regulation and intercellular fluid balance. Check out this article for more information on electrolytes. 

 

References

1“How Pedialyte, Long Hailed for Rehydrating Kids, Found New Life as a ‘Hangover Cure’” The Advisory Board Daily Briefing, The Advisory Board Company, 4 Jan. 2019, www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2019/01/04/pedialyte.

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