Gatorade is a popular sports drink, but it contains artificial colors and flavors. There’s also a lot of added sugar, which isn’t necessarily bad for use during endurance exercise but isn’t always required, depending on the workout.
Prime hydration is marketed as a healthier Gatorade alternative sports drink that launched in early 2022 and gained rapid traction in the UK and US, flying off the shelves in stores like Walmart and almost always sold out online with even limits on how many drinks you can purchase on the site.
But is Prime better than Gatorade? Are Prime sports drinks healthy? Do Prime sports drinks taste good?
In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of Prime sports drinks, if Prime is better for you than Gatorade and other common commercial sports drinks, and how Prime tastes.
We will cover:
- What Is Prime Hydration?
- Is Prime Hydration Sports Drinks Healthy?
- Do Prime Hydration Drinks Taste Good?
- Is Prime Healthier Than Gatorade?
Let’s jump in!
What Is Prime Hydration?
PRIME Hydration is a hydration or sports beverage created by boxer Logan Paul and KSI that launched in early 2022.
These wildly popular sports drinks are marketed as healthier alternatives to sugary sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade, and Liquid IV.
Prime drinks are available in the UK and US in various locations, including many Walmart stores.
The original product was a bottled sports drink, but there are also Prime Sticks, which are packets of powdered concentrate that can be mixed with water for on-the-go convenience.
There are currently seven flavors of Prime drinks: Meta Moon, Ice Pop, Blue Raspberry, Orange, Tropical Punch, Lemon Lime, and Grape. The Prime Hydration sticks, which are available in the US, come in Ice Pop, Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, and Lemon Lime flavors.
Both formulations contain 20 calories, no added sugars, and are made with 10% coconut water. They also contain 250 mg of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), electrolytes, and some antioxidants.
Prime hydration drinks are fairly expensive, typically costing over $2.00 or £2.00 per bottle or $2.00 per hydration stick.
Are Prime Hydration Sports Drinks Healthy?
One of the main reasons that Prime hydration drinks are so popular is because they contain way less sugar than Gatorade and have far fewer calories as a result.
But are Prime sports drinks good for you?
What are the ingredients in Prime hydration? Let’s take a closer look.
The first ingredient in Prime is filtered water. This is certainly a good hydrating ingredient and critical for any healthy and effective sports beverage for athletes.
In addition to filtered water, the liquid portion of Prime is composed of 10% coconut water.
Coconut water is thought to be an excellent hydrating beverage since it contains natural electrolytes like potassium and is low in sugar.
Prime hydration drinks also contain BCAAs and electrolytes, both of which can be helpful during exercise, along with some vitamins.
BCAAs, which are three specific essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine), have a unique chemical structure and have been shown to be the amino acids most directly involved in muscle protein synthesis, with research indicating that BCAAs help maintain muscle mass.
However, there are also unhealthy ingredients in Prime sports drinks, including citric acid, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium.
Citric acid can increase inflammation. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener shown to negatively impact insulin levels, and acesulfame potassium is another artificial sweetener found to cause adverse effects on the gut and brain.
Do Prime Hydration Drinks Taste Good?
Of course, taste is subjective, so whether or not Prime taste good depends on your preferences.
There are a variety of flavors to choose from, with mixed user reviews.
Although Prime sports drinks claim to have no added sugars, it’s really important to note that there are added artificial sweeteners, so the taste is surprisingly sweet, almost cloying.
In fact, because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than regular sugar, Prime sports drinks taste super sweet, much sweeter than Gatorade.
Many reviews describe the taste and texture as being thick and syrupy sweet, like a melted popsicle. The flavors tend to taste rather artificial, especially the Grape.
Citrus and Ice Pop flavors seem to be the best received.
Is Prime Healthier Than Gatorade?
There are several reasons why Gatorade is potentially bad for you.
One of the chief issues with Gatorade is that it contains a lot of added sugar.
Sweetened beverages are the primary source of added sugars in the typical American diet and can increase the risk of dental cavities and periodontal disease, fatty liver disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, metabolic syndrome, and dysfunction.
There are different Gatorade products available, but the traditional Gatorade Thirst Quencher sports drink contains about 150 calories, 36 grams of sugar, 306 mg of sodium, and 135 mg of potassium per 20-ounce serving.
The sugar is sucrose, which is table sugar. Sucrose is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose.
There are 4.2 grams of sugar per teaspoon, which means that there are about 8 teaspoons of sugar in a 20-ounce serving of regular Gatorade.
Consuming sweetened sports drinks, such as Gatorade, is associated with an increased risk of weight gain, obesity, tooth decay, and type 2 diabetes.
With that said, the sugar content of Gatorade isn’t necessarily unhealthy for athletes, and though Prime hydration drinks are thought to be healthier alternatives to Gatorade due to having less sugar, carbohydrates are required by the body during exercise to supply energy to the muscles, helping to prevent glycogen depletion during endurance workouts.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that glucose and fructose, two simple sugars found in Gatorade and other common sports drinks, help enhance the absorption of fluid and electrolytes in the drink.
Moreover, studies suggest that sports drinks, such as Gatorade, that combine readily-absorbable sugars like fructose and glucose together are more easily absorbed during exercise than glucose-only solutions.
Additionally, though the sugar content of Gatorade seems high, the sports drink is specifically designed to be a 6% carbohydrate solution, as this isotonic concentration has been shown to optimize fluid absorption rates during exercise.
The other major problem with Gatorade is that it contains artificial food dyes, such as Red No. 40, Blue No. 1, and Yellow No. 5, whereas Prime hydration drinks do not.
These types of artificial dyes have been associated with increased hyperactivity in children and potentially increasing the risk of certain cancers, so their absence is certainly a health benefit of Prime hydration drinks vs. Gatorade.
Ultimately, the fact that Gatorade (or another similar sports drink) is higher in sugar than Prime may or may not be a benefit or drawback for you, depending on your activity level, workout, and overall fueling strategy.
If you aren’t working out at all, drinking plain water is better than Gatorade because you don’t need the extra sugar/calories, and your electrolyte levels should be fine as long as you are eating.
The National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement states that plain water should be sufficient before, during, and after workouts lasting an hour or less, provided you have a well-balanced diet, an average sweat rate, and didn’t have an extremely intense workout.
For longer endurance workouts, your body does need carbohydrates during your workout, but depending on your fueling strategy, this doesn’t necessarily have to be attained via a sports drink.
A good rule of thumb is to aim to replace 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour for workouts lasting from 1-2.5 hours and 60-70 grams per hour (but up to 90 grams per hour) for endurance exercise lasting longer than 2.5 hours.
In these cases, drinking sports drinks like Gatorade can be beneficial. However, as long as you’re hydrating enough with water, the necessary carbohydrates and electrolytes can also come from real food fueling options instead of sports drinks.
Examples include bananas, oranges, dried dates or figs, energy bars, applesauce squeeze packets, maple syrup, dried pineapple chunks, raisins of yogurt-covered raisins, fig newtons, and bites of peanut butter sandwiches.
Prime sports drinks can be better than Gatorade when you want electrolytes but don’t need added sugars. This could be in cases where you are doing a shorter workout or are fueling with actual food.
You’ll also spare your body from unhealthy artificial colors by choosing Prime sports drinks vs. Gatorade, but keep in mind that Prime hydration drinks do contain artificial sweeteners and other additives, which are definitely not good for you.
Therefore, you might be better off making your own homemade sports drinks, which will be free and clear from artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, and flavorings.
You can tailor your recipe to the exact amount of sugar you need based on your activity level—whether you choose a traditional sports drink formulation with 6% carbohydrates or a sugar-free sports drink like Prime is up to you.
Plus, you’ll save some money making your own sports drink. If you would like to check out some of our very own diy sports drink recipes, click here!