Is Gatorade a good hangover cure?

Nutrition

Just as with other food and beverages, it's worth checking the nutritional label on any electrolyte-based drink before consuming.

Gatorade traditionally comes with higher amounts of sugar, sodium, and calories, because the product is geared toward athletes who benefit from these ingredients during and after long periods of exercise. But for the average person (and especially children) who do not partake in intense exercise, regularly consuming sweetened beverages may be linked to obesity and other health issues.

Pedialyte contains a mix of water, dextrose (sugar), and electrolytes. Some versions also include the added electrolyte zinc, which helps the absorption of electrolytes and can reduce diarrhea.

Recap

Beverages like Pedialyte and Gatorade are made up of ingredients like the electrolytes sodium and potassium, sugar, water, and more. Check the nutrition label if you're worried about the added sugar intake, though this could actually benefit high endurance athletes' performance.

Video

Do electrolytes make you retain water?

Sodium, which you obtain daily from salt, is one of the most common electrolytes in the human body. If sodium levels are too low or too high, it will lead to imbalances within the body and therefore fluid retention. A high salt intake, usually due to a diet with lots of processed foods, may increase water retention.

How do you make electrolyte water?

Ingredients:
  1. 1/4 tsp. salt.
  2. 1/4 cup pomegranate juice.
  3. 1/4 cup lemon juice.
  4. 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut water.
  5. 2 cups cold water.
  6. Additional options: sweetener, powdered magnesium and/or calcium, depending on needs.

KatarzynaBialasiewicz Getty Images

“There is no research that shows that sex will make a hangover go away, but maybe it will make the time go faster,” says Joris C. Verster, Ph.D., assistant professor at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “If it makes you happy, go for it.”

Score: 3

5. Cool Blue

Laura Grier/Mashed Laura Grier/Mashed

We’d like to think there’s a Miles Davis fan somewhere in Gatorade’s flavor naming department, who was kicking back one night listening to “Kind of Blue” on vinyl, mixing berry flavors, and thinking “Miles would DIG this, man.”

And Gatorade totally would have pulled off creating the Miles Davis of sports drinks if it weren’t for one thing: There was already a blue Gatorade, and it was already a classic. So instead of being the Miles Davis of sports drinks, it’s more the high school band teacher who thinks he’s Miles Davis of sports drinks. And when you ask for a blue Gatorade and get Cool Blue instead, it’s a disappointment right up there with Taco Bell getting your order wrong. It’s not Cool Blue’s fault –- it’s got a refreshing berry flavor that’s only indistinguishable from blue cherry by its lack of cherry flavor. But since it’s not “blue Gatorade,” it will always disappoint. Though on its own, it’s still outstanding.

10. Green Apple

Laura Grier/Mashed Laura Grier/Mashed

Do you like apples? Or any hard candy that purportedly tastes like apples? You’re gonna love this flavor of Gatorade, which tastes like someone took a bunch of Jolly Ranchers, melted them down, and threw in some electrolytes. But one of these a day isn’t keeping the doctor away, there’s still a solid 230 calories in a 32-ounce bottle, one of the higher counts of any flavor of Gatorade.

There are no surprises in a bottle of Gatorade Green Apple; before even opening the cap you can be pretty certain what it tastes like. And unlike more ambiguous flavor names like Cool Blue, a fairly straightforward set of expectations are set for this dark green bottle. Like grape, it’s a flavor you have to generally enjoy to select. So if you’re a green apple head, go for it. If you’re not, well, move a little further down the line.

Is Gatorade Good for You?

Let us first accept the fact that Gatorade is a processed drink with sugar and artificial flavors. It doesn’t contain any real fruit.

Some of the main benefits of consuming Gatorade are as follows:

  • Rehydrates and revitalizes the body after energy-intense activities.
  • Contains electrolytes that will restore electrolyte levels after sweating or during illnesses.
  • Sugar content boosts energy.

When consumed in moderate amounts, Gatorade is as safe as any other sports drink. It is, in fact, better than drinking plain water, since plain water doesn’t contain any electrolytes.

However, it isn’t wise to consume Gatorade in excessive quantities. As with any other sugary sports drink, Gatorade increases your risk for weight gain. It can also adversely affect appetite. Hence, use it in moderation.

Research suggests that Gatorade is best consumed when you exercise for more than an hour or indulge in high-energy workouts. Drink it when needed but switch to water when you need hydration.

 2. Drink Water

Water is the first thing you should be drinking this morning. The alcohol you drank last night dehydrated your body and the best way to feel better is to rehydrate it. Have a glass right when you wake up and continue pouring yourself a fresh one over the next few hours. Just be sure not to overdo it because too much water can make you feel worse. Go slow, but keep the water flowing.

Water is a better choice than fruit or vegetable juices; there is no scientific evidence that juice helps with a hangover.

Tip

For a quick pick-me-up, add a little lemon juice to a cup of warm water. Add ginger if you have it to help with nausea. This is one of the easiest and most effective restorative drinks you can make. 

Yet another option is a rehydration beverage, including sports drinks such as Gatorade as well as products like Pedialyte. The potassium, sodium, and electrolytes included in many of these drinks are designed to speed up fluid absorption and that may help when you're hungover. There's no evidence that these actually work better than water or juice, though. If you have some in the refrigerator, it can be an alternative to juice, but don't rely on it.

Gatorade ingredients

To see whether Gatorade is good for hangovers or not, we need to examine what it’s made of. After all, it’s the ingredients that will determine whether it’s any better than plain water.

5) Coffee

Getty Images

Lots of people use a cup of joe to wake up and feel alert at work, whether they’re hungover or not. But a trip to Starbucks won’t give you lasting benefits, and caffeine can both treat and cause headaches and migraines. If you do down a cup, be sure to drink water, too, as studies suggest caffeine can cause dehydration.

Score: 4

Getty Images

“Bad idea,” Dr. Hall-Flavin says. “It will provide a numbing effect, but all you’re doing is prolonging the inevitable, and it will likely make your headache worse.” Another reason to avoid cracking open a cold one: Experts agree that if you use this “cure,” the risk of abuse increases and could lead to alcohol dependency.

Score: 1

4. Get Some Vitamins

Your body could really use some vitamins right now. The easiest way is to drink orange juice for a healthy dose of vitamin C. One small study found evidence that zinc and B vitamins may reduce the severity of hangovers as well. If you have a multivitamin in the house, this is probably a good time to take that.

But hydration in general does count for *something* when I’m hungover, right?

For sure. When your drink, there’s some evidence (as mentioned) that you urination frequency goes up, which does leave your body is need of some serious H2O.

And while you can certainly sip plain water, your favorite hangover drink with electrolytes might pack an additional punch. “You need a bit of sodium to help with fluid absorption, and the little bit of sugar found in the low-carb electrolyte drinks helps with blood sugar,” Hultin says.

If you’re going to rely on a beverage, make it a sip that’s 1.5 to 3 percent carbohydrates, and with sodium-that’s most effective for hydration, says Sims. Standard Pedialyte and Gatorade both have more sugar than that 1.5 to 3 percent recommendation (though Gatorade Zero has just a gram). Something like Nuun Sport electrolyte-rich tablets that you just add to a glass or bottle of water also work, she says. Coconut water, too, is low in calories and high in potassium.

On top of drinks, watery soups with salt (chicken or miso soup) would fit the bill. You can also get a combo of hydration and electrolytes by drinking plain water and eating lots of foods that contain electrolytes (think: fruits, vegetables, and seeds).

Summary

Pedialyte and Gatorade help with rehydration and replenishing lost electrolytes, which are essential minerals the body needs to function properly. Some people turn to electrolyte-enhanced drinks when they're hungover, sick, working out intensely, or just looking for additional hydration.

In general, Pedialyte may be the best choice if you're seeking to rehydrate due to illness for the extra electrolyte content, while Gatorade might be best for athletic or similar purposes due to added sugar and calories.

Anything else to consider

Hangovers are a sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your body to handle. Trying to “cure” your hangover with Gatorade, or anything else, is not an ideal approach.

The best way to cure a hangover is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Keeping well hydrated (with or without Gatorade), drinking less and eating a meal before going out is all it takes.

Gatorade for hangovers – Final verdict

That brings us to the end of our look at whether Gatorade is good for a hangover or not.

The only benefit is in terms of improved hydration. However, the studies available are mostly performed in athletes who have done rigorous exercise. Therefore, it’s unclear whether Gatorade has any added benefits over plain water for hangovers.

Gatorade is a tasty drink that may be more palatable for you to drink when hungover. In addition, it has lots of sugar in it which can boost energy levels in the short term.

The Five Best Hangover Pills Check out our pick of the top five leading hangover prevention supplements available to you right now.

Tags

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.