Before You Guzzle Gatorade Or Pedialyte To Get Rid Of Your Hangover

First things first: Why do you get hungover to begin with?

That crappy, achy, nauseous feeling? “It starts when the blood alcohol level returns to zero,” says Stacy Sims, PhD, an exercise physiologist and nutrition researcher and Women’s Health advisor. When that happens, the feeling of dehydration sets in. That’s in part because alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body, meaning it makes you pee, so you're low in fluids after a night of libations.

But the other root of your discomfort stems from the fact that ethanol (a type of alcohol in booze) crosses the blood-brain barrier, messing with many of your body’s systems, says Sims. For example, your liver has to go into overdrive to try to metabolize ethanol and its more toxic byproduct, acetaldehyde, which your body creates after drinking, she explains. (Acetaldehyde is the main reason behind all those icky things you probs associate with imbibing, like nausea, a racing heart, and a red face.) You’re left with unregulated blood sugar and inflammatory compounds floating around your body, which can lead you to feel super hungover.

Let's not disregard the fact that you likely got super crappy sleep if you had a wild night out and stayed up late. Alcohol can also tank your sleep quality, so all that certainly doesn’t help either, Sims notes. “Many of these disturbances of the body’s natural physiology persist the next day long after the alcohol is gone,” she says.

Other reasons for your symptoms? Drinking alcohol can impact hormonal function in the body, says Ginger Hultin, a Seattle-based registered dietitian, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and owner of ChampagneNutrition. Alcohol consumption can contribute to an increase in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and decreases in levels of a hormone called anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), which helps to regulate blood pressure and reduce how often you go to the bathroom. Think about it: Now you're body is is a greater state of stress, your blood pressure's up, plus you're peeing more (making you dehydrated). Good stuff. Not.

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What’s missing?

When it comes to hangover remedies, we look for many other ingredients which are good for hangovers.

These include vitamins, minerals and natural herbal extracts that support your body’s antioxidant defences. As well as speed up alcohol metabolism and relieve hangover nausea.

The top hangover supplements on the market today include a combination of these ingredients so that they work together in an all-round approach to tackle hangover symptoms.

You can find out more about them by following the link below.

3. Blue Cherry

Laura Grier/Mashed Laura Grier/Mashed

Flavor competition is an interesting thing. Gatorade certainly has cornered the market on “Blue Gatorade,” mostly because it’s the only one actually making Gatorade. But then you try Blue Powerade (real name Mountain Berry Blast) and realize they do a pretty good job making blue stuff too. THEN you try Gatorade’s Blue Cherry and realize it tastes almost exactly like Blue Powerade. It’s like Gatorade said, “Ok, you like that cherry-berry stuff in your artificially-blue sports drink? Cool. You can still stay brand loyal.”

Whether you opt for Blue Cherry Gatorade or Blue Powerade will probably depend on whatever’s on sale or at eye level. But if your local grocery store is running a BOGO on Gatorade and you’re a die-hard Powerade person, this can be a money-saving alternative. Just understand that blue cherries don’t occur in nature. And neither does this flavor unless your idea of nature involves a 7-Eleven. But for cool, blue refreshment it’s a tough one to top.

How can I rehydrate my body fast?

If you’re worried about your or someone else’s hydration status, here are the 5 best ways to rehydrate quickly.
  1. Water. While it likely comes as no surprise, drinking water is most often the best and cheapest way to stay hydrated and rehydrate.
  2. Coffee and tea.
  3. Skim and low fat milk.
  4. 4. Fruits and vegetables.

What is the best drink to replace electrolytes?

  • Best Overall: NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink.
  • Best Budget: Parent’s Choice Pediatric Electrolyte Solution.
  • Best Electrolyte Water: Essentia Ionized Alkaline 9.5 pH Bottled Water.
  • Best Sugar-Free: Kill Cliff Electrolyte Recovery Drink.
  • Best with Prebiotics: Pedialyte AdvancedCare Electrolyte Solution.

13. Grape

Laura Grier/Mashed Laura Grier/Mashed

Grape is a tough flavor in any drink, as even actual grape juice just doesn’t taste much like the stuff that comes off the vine. So you cannot go into tasting Gatorade’s Fierce grape flavor expecting anything even closely resembling grapes. Better to think about the notorious “purple stuff” of Sunny Delight commercial fame, or maybe a bottle of Faygo. Put into that category, Gatorade grape is serviceable. It’s like a melted Otter Pop with a jolt of tart berry flavor, likely a note Gatorade threw in there so it qualified for the “Fierce” designation.

That said, lined up against other Gatorade flavors this one just isn’t as good. For grape flavor lovers, it’s going to be a crowd-pleaser. But when your fan base is limited to people who actually bought 12-packs of Grape Crush, your audience is limited. Grape’s not bad, but you’ve gotta love artificial grape flavor to choose this over anything else on the shelf.

Which One Is Best?

Both Pedialyte and Gatorade can work well in different situations, depending on the person and the reason for rehydration. Keep in mind that individual hydration needs can vary based on health status and activity level.

For Hangovers

Alcohol causes your body to produce more urine, which depletes electrolytes and can lead to dehydration. This is why it’s important to get fluids back into your body when you’re feeling hungover after a night of drinking.

While electrolyte beverages are not a hangover cure, they can help with rehydration. Because Pedialyte typically has less sugar and additional zinc, it may be the better choice for someone experiencing hangover-induced vomiting, diarrhea, or headache.

For Hydration

Staying hydrated in general is important, and some studies show that electrolyte beverages can help keep you hydrated for longer periods of time.

The combination of sugar, sodium, and calories in Gatorade can not only replenish hydration, it can also slow down the process of emptying your stomach and urination. This can help extend the amount of time that your body stays hydrated.

For Illness

Any illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea can lead to quick electrolyte loss. Older research found that both Gatorade and Pedialyte were effective at treating dehydrated adults dealing with a viral digestive illness.

However, keep in mind that the original Gatorade formula can have a higher sugar count, which often makes diarrhea worse. In this case, it's likely best to stick to lower-sugar options like Pedialyte, particularly for kids and older adults who may have trouble processing the extra sugar.

The Best Option for Your Stomach

When you're sick, any fluids are better than none. Perhaps the best option is to choose the drink that your stomach is able to tolerate.

For Sports

Sports drinks are not only designed to replace electrolytes lost while sweating, but also to provide carbohydrate energy to your muscles during exercise.

Gatorade was literally made for athletes. In adults, Gatorade's higher carbohydrate content can help support high endurance activities during 90-minute training sessions and decrease the odds of muscle cramping. While Gatorade can be useful for extremely physically active children, you might consider G2 or Gatorade Zero as lower-sugar options.

Overall

Whether it's a hangover, illness, hard-core workout, or just not getting enough to drink throughout the day, electrolytes are key for rehydration. Ultimately, it's up to the person (and potentially their healthcare provider) whether Pedialyte or Gatorade is the best choice for each individual situation.

Regardless of which drink ends up working best for you, experts agree it’s essential to maintain hydration and avoid becoming dehydrated.

Recap

Consider Pedialyte for:Illness recovery, particularly for young children and older adultsSituations where extra electrolytes are needed, rather than extra sugar and carbs Consider Gatorade if:You're an athlete looking to rehydrate after a serious sweat sessionYou could benefit from the extra sugar and carbs

Best Gatorade for Hangovers

The main difference between Gatorade energy drinks is the flavor. So, when it comes to choosing which Gatorade energy drink to pick for a hangover, it shouldn’t make a difference.

The only thing to consider is whether you opt for a sugar-free version or not. And this is down to personal choice.

How does Gatorade compare with water and other sports drinks?

At the beginning of this post, we saw that Gatorade was invented to hydrate and correct electrolyte imbalances in athletes and players after or during high-energy activities.

The benefit of choosing Gatorade over water is that it provides electrolytes that are not present in plain water. So, Gatorade hydrates while also restoring electrolyte levels.

Now, let us look at how Gatorade compares with other drinks.

Gatorade contains fewer calories and is easier to drink when compared to sodas and fruit juices. It isn’t heavy and hence doesn’t weigh you down. Nonetheless, a single bottle is satisfying after an intense workout and will keep you refreshed till your next meal.

The fact that Gatorade restores electrolytes also makes it a good drink for when you are suffering from stomach bugs, diarrhea, or bouts of vomiting. It is easy on the stomach and provides proper hydration.

Nevertheless, Gatorade contains artificial sweeteners and flavors which must be consumed in moderation.

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).

A Word From Verywell

Each person's water and electrolyte needs vary depending on several factors, including your health status, activity level, diet, environment, and whether you're pregnant or breastfeeding. It's worth consulting with a healthcare provider if you have further questions or concerns about adding or removing an electrolyte beverage to your diet, particularly if you have a health condition that could be affected by these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do electrolytes do?

    Electrolytes are essential minerals that your body needs to survive. They help support important bodily functions like fluid regulation, muscle contraction, and pH balance. Learn More: What Is pH Balance?

  • What other drinks have electrolytes?

    There are several different options if you're looking for an electrolyte boost. In addition to Pedialyte and Gatorade, you could choose other sports drinks, ionized alkaline water, coconut water, dissolvable tablets for your water bottle, and more.

  • How does Pedialyte work?

    Pedialyte replenishes electrolytes that may have been lost due to dehydration. The sugar helps pull electrolytes (sodium and potassium) into your body, and the water helps rehydrate you.

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