Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Powerade Bad For You?



Short answer

Powerade is meant for athletes who are engaged in a lengthy and intense workout. It is not intended for nor is it suitable for anyone else. If you are sedentary, then Powerade may have serious negative consequences.



Recommended Alternative

Long answer

If you are planning on drinking Powerade just because you are thirsty and want something to wash down your lunch, you may want to reconsider that decision. Powerade is designed for athletes, and specifically for those who have been engaged in intense, sweat-producing activity for an hour or more. For such people, Powerade provides calories needed for energy (around 300 kcal per 32 oz bottle), sodium for electrolyte replenishment, and carbohydrates in the form of glucose and maltodextrin for replacing glucose lost during intense workouts - thus boosting hydration and keeping you from getting fatigued. Powerade also contains three B-vitamins: vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12 - all of which are involved in energy metabolism.

Note, however, that drinking Powerade for the sake of quenching thirst can actually turn the above-mentioned benefits into negatives. The amount of calories and sugar in Powerade can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Excess amounts of sodium carry with it the risk of causing hypertension, kidney, and liver damage - and in the most extreme cases, heart attack, stroke (especially when large amounts of sodium are being consumed every day).

Furthermore (this applies to athletes as well), Powerade contains sucralose, acesulfame K, and artificial colors - all of which are suspect and come with their own laundry list of potential side effects. Just to name a few, sucralose has been linked to dizziness, migraines, and blurred vision, and artificial colors have been linked to cancer, hyperactivity, and a loss of concentration. Most of these side effects only come from long-term consumption of these ingredients, however, it is still important to be aware. 

If you are an athlete who has been engaged in an intense workout for over an hour, Powerade can indeed help replenish your energy in ways that water alone cannot. Aside from that, Powerade should be avoided entirely. 

Possible short-term side effects

  • hyperactivity (especially children)
  • headache
  • blurred vision
  • blood sugar spike

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • diabetes
  • various forms of cancer
  • heart disease
  • kidney failure
  • liver damage
  • eroded tooth enamel

Ingredients to be aware of


  • replenishes electrolytes lost during intense exercise
  • boosts energy

Healthier alternatives

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink

  • Organic hydration
  • Coconut water base
  • No added sugar
  • Low-calorie drink
  • Naturally electrolyte-rich
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 02-05-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 02-05-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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