gatorade vs propel

Gatorade vs Propel – My Thoughts and Important Differences

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Today, the shelves are LOADED with a bunch of energy and sports drinks – it’s becoming more and more difficult to tell them apart.

What’s even more confusing is when a single brand releases different products without actually explaining their differences.

So today, we will take a look at the difference (Gatorade vs Propel), both electrolyte-dense sports drinks that are supposed to re-energize you. First, they both contain the same amount of sodium, which is where the electrolytes come from.

However, Propel contains no calories or added sugar, is loaded with added nutrients, and doesn’t contain any controversial ingredients, like artificial food colorants. This makes it arguably a lot better than the original Gatorade range.

But today, we will dive deeper into the exact differences, not only nutritionally, but when it comes to the flavors they offer, their cost, and their availability.

What Is Gatorade?

If you’re into sports or fitness, you’ve most likely had Gatorade at one point or another. If this brand isn’t available in your country, you’ve still likely, at the very least, heard of it before.

Gatorade is a brand from the United States that sells a variety of sports beverages and snacks. The hero product in their line is their sports drink. It’s important to understand that these are NOT the same as an energy drink (like Red Bull or Monster).


Gatorade is a sports drink meant to replenish your lost electrolytes and quench your thirst after a training session or match.

The brand offers quite a few options in this line. This includes GatorLyte, Gatorade Fit, Gatorade Zero, and Gatorade Thirst Quencher, amongst others. And what makes this brand even more impressive is its massive selection of flavors for each of these products!

Nutritional Breakdown

Now, here is how you will be able to best compare the differences between Gatorade and other sports drinks

But first, you have to understand that the different products within the brand (GatorLyte, Thirst Quencher, etc.) will all have different compositions. This includes ingredients used, calories, nutrients, and more.

Secondly, there will also be a difference between flavors. For example, in Fruit Punch, they use a-type of food coloring and b-type of flavoring. But in Glacier Freeze, they use c-type food coloring and d-type flavoring.

So, to best compare Gatorade to Propel, we will take a look at the general nutritional build of the Thirst Quencher range.

Thirst Quencher Breakdown

A single serving (360 ml) of Gatorade Thirst Quencher contains around 80 calories. Most of the calories come from the sugar content, which measures at roughly 21 grams per serving. That’s quite high by anyone’s standards!

Then, you can also expect about 160mg of sodium per serving (which again is only 360 ml). This is where the electrolytes come from, so it’s not a surprisingly high amount of sodium for a sports drink.

And finally, the only note-worthy mineral (or vitamin) that can be picked up is potassium, which measures at 50mg per serving.

The biggest difference between the flavors is the colorings and flavorings used. Now, this is where some controversial elements come up (depending on the flavor).

Controversial Additives

Depending on the flavor, there may be some ingredients that have come under the microscope as of late.

Mainly, this includes the red food dye called “red 40.” Some studies have shown that it can lead to hyperactivity in children, general allergic reactions, migraines, and other mental disorders. Then again, other studies show that the risks are minute and shouldn’t be anything that people should be scared of. Of course, this is up to you.

Another quite scary thought, and probably what adds to the controversy, is that Red 40 is a by-product of petroleum. But again, it’s been approved by many food safety firms including the FDA.

The caramel coloring is also quite controversial, with studies showing potential carcinogenic properties. But there hasn’t been sufficient research (that we could find) to completely support this claim.

What Is Propel?

Now, let’s move on to Propel, an arguably lesser-known sports drink. This product line is ALSO made by the Gatorade brand. For that reason, the brand markets this drink as “fitness water with Gatorade Electrolytes.”

It’s basically a way of saying, “This is an energy drink without as many ingredients as Gatorade but with the same performance properties.” So, it’s healthier.

gatorade vs propel

This fitness water contains no added sugar, has been enriched with vitamins and minerals, and has the same amount of electrolytes as a regular Gatorade Thirst Quencher beverage.

Propel doesn’t have different ranges in its product line. It’s basically just the water and a powdered mix. We’ll obviously take a look at the water version.

This fitness water range includes 9 flavors to choose from.

Nutritional Breakdown

Nutritionally, this product is a lot simpler than Gatorade. It doesn’t contain any added sugars, so naturally, it’s a lot lower in calories. In fact, it contains 0 calories per serving.

And as mentioned, it contains the same amount of electrolytes as Gatorade, so 160mg of sodium.

Now, here’s what makes this drink impressive. It contains 40mg of potassium, Vitamins B6, C, and E, Niacin, and Pantothenic Acid.

You can see the exact quantities in the table under the “Differences and Similarities” section.

Overall, this is a zero-calorie, nutrient-dense sports drink that will re-energize you instantly!

Differences and Similarities

Okay, so now we get to the comparison. As you can already see, the differences are small but can have a big impact on your health at the end of the day.

Let’s start with the number of ingredients. Overall, Propel contains fewer ingredients. It’s definitely less processed and overall, healthier.

Propel doesn’t contain any added sugars and has virtually no calories at all. Gatorade on the other hand is extremely high in sugar, with roughly 21 grams per serving (360 ml). This adds up to about 80 calories per serving but can be higher depending on the flavor.

A seller-point for Propel is that it is healthier and has fewer ingredients, but still the same amount of electrolytes, that is 160mg per serving.

However, the only other nutrient the two have in common is potassium. Propel contains slightly less than Gatorade.

gatorade vs propel

Propel also has added vitamins and nutrients, which makes it arguably healthier (depending on your definition of healthy). 

Finally, when it comes to the colorants and flavorings, neither is made with real fruit juice, despite popular belief. At least, we couldn’t find a nutritional label that specifically says “made with real fruit juice.”

Propel also doesn’t contain any colorants, which eliminates any potential controversy around these types of additives. But as you know, Gatorade does include different colorants depending on the flavor.

Per Serving (260 ml)GatoradePropel
Calories80 calories0 calories
Added sugar21 grams0 grams
Sodium160 mg160 mg
Potassium50 mg40 mg
Vitamin B60.7 mg0 mg
Vitamin C18 mg0 mg
Vitamin E1.8 mg0 mg
Niacin7.2 mg0 mg
Pantothenic Acid3.6 mg0 mg

Now, when it comes to non-nutritional factors, what’s the difference? 

Original Gatorade products are arguably easier to find than Propel, mainly because it’s been on the market a lot longer. And as far as we know, Propel isn’t readily available globally.

Secondly, it offers a ton of flavors in the Thirst Quencher range, up to 22! Propel only offers 9 flavors, so you have significantly less to choose from.

And finally, Propel is a lot cheaper than Gatorade. This does make sense considering it contains fewer ingredients and is a less complicated drink.

Gatorade vs Propel?Which Is Better?

It depends on your definition of healthier.

If you simply want to replenish your lost electrolytes, both are equally good because they contain the same amount. 

But if you are looking for a more nutrient-dense and lower-calorie drink, Propel definitely takes the win here. It’s not loaded with sugars, doesn’t contain artificial colorants, is lower in calories, and has a ton of added nutrients.

That being said, there’s no point you KNOW about the differences but cannot find the “better” product. Propel isn’t as easy to find and not available internationally as Gatorade. 

And while it is cheaper in the United States, it might cost you more when you have to pay import fees and taxes.

Furthermore, you don’t have nearly as many flavors to choose from. So even if it’s nutritionally better, if you cannot find a flavor you like, there’s no point in buying it.

Gatorade Zero vs Propel – What’s the Difference?

Now, when you compare Gatorade Zero with Propel, the similarities increase significantly.

Gatorade Zero also has no calories because it doesn’t contain any added sugar.

That being said, it still contains sweeteners and artificial colorants, and has no added nutrients. 

So, is it better than Propel?

It’s definitely better than Gatorade if you generally look at the definition of “healthy.” But it’s still not better than Propel, which STILL contains fewer additives and controversial ingredients.

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