When it comes to sports drinks, there are a handful of great options that can give you the boost you need to dominate any physical task.
But out of the most common options, which sports drink will give you the most bang for your buck?
Body Armor vs Gatorade vs Powerade, what are the differences? Gatorade has been the go-to sports drink for years. It provides a burst of energy and keeps you hydrated! Powerade is a similar sports drink that is formulated to be a bit healthier, while BodyArmor is the newest product and is focused on providing a more natural and nutritious sports drink.
Read below to learn more about each type of sports drink, what they offer, how they are different, and the best one for your particular use!
Let the Body Armor vs. Gatorade vs. Powerade race begin!
All About Sports Drinks
Before we get into each sports drink, let’s first discuss what a sports drink is — sports drinks shouldn’t be confused with energy drinks!
Sports drinks do not contain caffeine and are exclusively formulated to provide better hydration and electrolytes, while energy drinks are beverages that contain stimulants like caffeine (and lots of sugar).
Why is there a need for sports drinks in the first place?
Well, our muscles thrive and function with the help of water, which assists in delivering nutrition, drawing out toxins, providing oxygen, and keeping the muscles from cramping.
Of course, there are many other vital roles that water plays in keeping us functional!
In terms of athletic performance, hydration is one of the most important factors that can make all the difference when it comes to physical performance.
As we exert, our body starts to heat up, much like an engine that goes up in temperature the longer it runs. But just like a car, we have an internal cooling system that maintains our body temperature and keeps us from “crashing.”
This system is called “thermoregulation” — or in simple words, sweat! Sweating is your body’s response to an increase in temperature.
Your skin is covered with numerous sweat glands that excrete water (and minerals) which evaporate off the skin, leaving a cooling effect.
Remember how we mentioned the importance of hydration? Well, as you can imagine, sweating can cause a big problem!
As you sweat, you not only lose water, but also minerals that help conduct bio-electricity and other important functions.
A dehydrated state can cause all sorts of problems like lightheadedness, tiredness, fatigue, cramping, and even a string of other serious symptoms.
To remedy this issue, you just need to maintain a healthy intake of water, or better yet, a mixture that contains electrolytes like sugar and salt — this is where sports drinks come in.
Sports drinks deliver hydration and electrolytes that replenish, refresh, and help you go on for longer!
Gatorade vs. Powerade
Gatorade and Powerade are similar-sounding sports drinks that have been around for decades.
Why this parody-style naming?
Well, one can reason that this makes sense since both these sports drink brands offer more or less the same product and are owned by one of the biggest competitors in the beverage industry: PepsiCo and Coca-Cola.
Gatorade was acquired by PepsiCo in 2001 in a bid to dominate the sports drink market which was, at the time, relatively new but extremely promising.
To put the size of the sports drink market into perspective, Gatorade was bought by PepsiCo for a ridiculous $13 billion.
Gatorade is focused on providing athletes and the general public with a “healthier” alternative to regular sodas that contain sugar and carbonation.
There’s even science to back up these “healthy” claims!
Studies show that athletes who consume electrolytes during high-performance tasks perform for longer and show fewer signs of fatigue due to the short burst of energy provided by the sugar and the overall electrolyte profile of the beverage.
Armed with a range of exciting flavors, plus advantageous scientific claims, Gatorade quickly started to grab a huge chunk of the market thanks to its smart product positioning, marketing, and collaborations.
In comparison, Powerade is a similar sports drink that is meant to compete directly with Gatorade.
Powerade’s focus is the same as Gatorade’s, except initially Powerade was more inclined towards introducing a new formula in the market that used B vitamins to help with energy metabolism.
The addition of these nutrients essentially helps the sugars and electrolytes absorb much more efficiently by the body, which results in much better performance during high-intensity tasks.
But with time, both brands started to mimic each other’s strategy — and some might even say, formulas.
Nowadays, both Gatorade and Powerade are offering pretty much the same product, but have different brand associations due to their clever marketing strategies.
If you take away the added clout, both Gatorade and Powerade are just beverages that contain sugar, minerals, and unfortunately, artificial colors and flavorings — but we will come to this point later.
Characteristics of Gatorade vs. Powerade
First, let’s go through the characteristics of both these sports drinks. Here are a few notable characteristics of each drink!
One of the most striking things about Gatorade is its attractive colors! This sports drink has nearly tapped all the available color spectrum and has introduced dozens of flavors since its inception.
In fact, you can even argue that the color of the drink is a big reason why people gravitate towards Gatorade, especially thanks to its bulky, see-through plastic bottle.
But again, adding color to a sports drink doesn’t quite fit with the whole “natural” and “pure” mantra that most sports drinks (and even energy drinks) are championing in this era.
Even though Gatorade uses food-safe food dyes, the health community argues that your body is better off without these chemicals and that you shouldn’t consume food with excessive food dyes.
Gatorade has over 20 flavors, but it started its journey with the humble Lemon-Lime and Orange flavors that put the brand on the map!
If you are after a refreshing burst of flavor, whether on the field or at the dinner table, Gatorade has proven to be a delicious option for almost every type of occasion.
In terms of nutrition, Gatorade provides about 95 calories, 24 g of carbs (of which 19 g is sugar), 142 mg of sodium, 55 mg of potassium, and traces of vitamins in every 12 fl. oz. serving. Some products contain GMO products.
Now, the important thing to consider here is not just the nutritional profile of the beverage but also your specific use case.
If you are someone who regularly works out or is engaged in strenuous activities at the workplace, then you might benefit from consuming a bottle of Gatorade, especially when you feel fatigued.
Don’t want various food dyes in your body? Then opt for a more natural Gatorade option by checking out their G Organic line of sports drinks that are marketed to be made with just 7 ingredients.
Powerade is very similar to Gatorade when it comes to its range of colors — this isn’t surprising since both these beverages have gone head-to-head over decades, so there is bound to be some obvious mimicry!
However, in the case of Powerade, you will find this sports drink to have darker colors, which adds a perception of being more potent and effective.
Apart from this, Powerade is made from similar food dyes and chemicals that give it its not-so-unique appearance.
Powerade doesn’t have as diverse of a product line compared to Gatorade, but it still offers a range of 15 delicious flavors.
This sports drink focuses on a mixture of fruity notes that provide a slightly more flavorful beverage than Gatorade — but of course, this is up for debate and will vary depending on who you ask.
If you are looking to try Powerade then we recommend starting with Mountain Berry Blast, which offers a blast of berries — more specifically, blueberries!
Powerade provides around 117 calories, with 28 g of carbs (of which 22 g is sugar), 153 mg of sodium, 66 mg of potassium, and a range of B vitamins and other micronutrients in an average 12 fl. oz. serving.
As mentioned, Powerade’s selling point is its better overall nutrition.
Sure, it may provide slightly more calories than Gatorade, but thanks to its inclusion of multiple micronutrients for energy metabolism, this sports drink takes a slight advantage.
Just like Gatorade, Powerade also has a line of “Natural” sports drinks called Power Water. Power Water is available in limited flavors but provides better overall nutrition without the use of color dyes, artificial flavors, or chemicals.
We have listed Body Armor separately because this sports drink is targeted differently when compared to Gatorade and Powerade.
Founded by Mike Repole and heavily endorsed by Kobe Bryant, BodyArmor SuperDrink is known to be a premium sports drink that provides better hydration and nutrition.
Unlike other sports drinks, BodyArmor is targeted towards not just athletes but anyone who is looking for healthy and natural hydration.
Both brands were sold to Coca-Cola for a whopping $4.1bn — and as of 2021, BodyArmor SuperDrink was also acquired by The Coca-Cola Company for an astounding $5.6 billion.
Why would Coca-Cola add BodyArmor to its list despite having Powerade in its roster? Well, because BodyArmor is targeted differently than Powerade and is an overall better and more premium product!
Characteristics of BodyArmor SuperDrink
Here are some important characteristics of this beverage.
The basic selling point of BodyArmor is that this brand does not use artificial dyes or other harmful chemicals to add or improve the appearance of its beverages.
Every BodyArmor product is made from 100% natural ingredients — even the food colors.
Although BodyArmor drinks have a lighter shade compared to Gatorade and Powerade, the bottles feature colorful wrapping that makes up for their lighter colors.
Despite having no artificial flavors or added sugar, this sports drink provides a delicious and complete flavor thanks to its clever use of natural ingredients (like coconut water) and cane sugar to add a rich and refreshing taste.
You can expect BodyArmor beverages to be on par (if not above and beyond) with Gatorade and Powerade in the flavor department — and with over 12 different flavors, you can choose any type of fruity flavor or cocktail to keep you going!
This is where BodyArmor seems to take more of an advantage when compared to other sports drinks in the market.
An average 12 fl. oz. serving of BodyArmor will provide you with 90 calories, 21 g of carbs (of which 21 g is sugar), 30 mg of sodium, and 530 mg of potassium.
On paper, BodyArmor SuperDrink may have better figures, but it’s not just about the numbers!
As mentioned above, this sports drink provides way better overall nutrition when it comes to its use of natural flavors, sugars, and its avoidance of food dyes and chemicals.
Which One Should You Get?
There are several ways to look at this problem — recommending just one brand for everyone will prove to be a difficult task since everyone has different needs.
However, you can narrow down the benefits of each sports drink and apply them in specific scenarios to see which product offers the most value to you.
For people who want a sports drink that can deliver quick energy, flavor, and electrolytes without breaking the bank, we suggest going for either Powerade or Gatorade.
Powerade is specifically suggested for athletes since it has a range of B vitamins, and Gatorade can be used by virtually anyone.
If you are particularly careful about your nutrition and are a regular fitness enthusiast, then we highly recommend that you go with BodyArmor.
This sports drink has all the healthy hydration you need without the use of unnecessary dyes and chemicals.
It is important to note that both Gatorade and Powerade also offer healthier sports drink variants without dyes and chemicals.
We recommend that you check out all the available healthier options before settling down on just one brand!
Body Armor vs. Gatorade vs. Powerade — Comparison Chart
Here is a summarized view of each sports drink:
|Over 20 flavors. Fruity flavors and cocktails.
|Over 15 flavors. Fruity flavors and fun combos.
|Over 12 flavors. Fruity flavors with unique combos.
|Artificial dyes and color-enhancing chemicals.
|Artificial dyes with chemicals.
|Food concentrate for color — all-natural coloring.
|Nutrition (12 fl. oz.)
|95 calories, 24 g of carbs (of which 19 g is sugar), 142 mg of sodium, 55 mg of potassium, and traces of vitamins.
|117 calories, with 28 g of carbs (of which 22 g is sugar), 153 mg of sodium, 66 mg of potassium, and B vitamins and micronutrients.
|90 calories, 21 g of carbs (of which 21 g is sugar), 30 mg of sodium, and 530 mg of potassium with micronutrients and antioxidants.
|Great for everyday folks and athletes looking for quick hydration.
|Better for athletes and people with strenuous jobs.
|An excellent and natural option for athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and everyday folks.
|Main Selling Point
|Has better flavors. Cheap and effective.
|Great range of flavors and better energy metabolism.
|Better electrolyte profile, great flavor, and low sodium.
|The Coca-Cola Company
|The Coca-Cola Company
BodyArmor, Gatorade, and Powerade are all refreshing sports drinks that have the same purpose, but are targeted toward different people due to their varying nutritional profiles and benefits.
Now that you know how they differ, here are some related questions we thought you might have.
Is There Caffeine in BodyArmor?
No, the basic variant of BodyArmor SuperDrink is marketed as a pure sports drink that only contains electrolytes and natural sugar.
The company does sell a variant with caffeine and electrolytes called BodyArmor Edge. You will always be able to find a prominent label that declares the addition of caffeine to any sports drink!
Are There Sugar-Free Varieties of Sports Drinks?
Yes, BodyArmor, Gatorade, and Powerade all sell sugar-free or “lite” variants of their sports drinks. These sports drinks focus more on electrolyte delivery and hydration rather than just energy from sugar.
Some sugar-free sports drinks may contain added caffeine, so always read the label!
What’s the Best Way to Consume a Sports Drink to Get Maximum Benefits?
The best way to get the most benefits out of any sports drink is to portion the bottle into multiple sips.
Drink a bit of the beverage before exercise, then sip it after every 15–20 minutes, and then finish off the rest of the bottle after you are done with your workout.
This strategy will provide you with superior hydration and may also improve your overall physical performance!