Best electrolyte drinks to keep you hydrated
Oct. 13, 2021
Consuming the best electrolyte drinks helps keep your body hydrated. Electrolytes aid your body in regulating muscle cramping and nerve signaling and even go as far as balancing your pH and keeping you hydrated. If you have the wrong amount of them in your system, things can get pretty gnarly.
The problem? Every time you break a sweat, your body loses some of those minerals which lead to dehydration. This can end up in fatigue, nausea, abdominal and muscle cramping, and much worse.
While sweating from working out or playing sports may be the first thing you think about in terms of dehydration, there are, in reality, many ways to deplete these precious resources. These can include food poisoning, travel, heat, stomach flu, and even alcohol consumption.
- Best sports drink with electrolytes: Liquid I.V.
- Best electrolyte drink for hangovers: Pedialyte
- Best electrolyte drink for runners: Nuun
- Best electrolyte for breastfeeding: Vita Coco
- Best sugar-free electrolyte drinks: Hi-Lyte
How we selected the best electrolyte drinks
We aimed to support electrolyte drinks that are allergy-friendly, and are free of most artificial ingredients such as colors, preservatives, and sweeteners. There are plenty of sports drinks out there on the market that are basically salty soda with no bubbles. That said, we also considered taste as an essential part of the equation. You’re not going to drink something that tastes bad and that’s counterproductive to staying hydrated.
The FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are placed on the market; therefore, this was not a determining factor in our selections. The Pop Sci staff and writers have years of experience in competitive sports and other dehydrating activities. To find the best electrolyte drinks, we surveyed and considered dozens of different options to find those that meet these standards.
Best electrolyte drink reviews and recommendations
Best sports drink with electrolytes: Liquid I.V.
These electrolyte drink mix packets are great for people who exercise heavily, professional athletes, or competitive athletes.
Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink mix delivers an optimal ratio of nutrients that delivers hydration quickly via single-serving tubes.
- Gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free
- 16 single-serving packets
- non-GMO and no artificial ingredients
- Provides the same hydration as 2-3 bottles of water
- With each purchase, they donate a serving to someone in need around the world.
- Expensive compared to others on this list
Liquid I.V. is one of the best sports drinks with electrolytes on the market, especially for athletes, which makes perfect sense since it was developed while the founder was working with a professional baseball team. After realizing there is a need for natural and effective electrolyte drinks, he partnered with nutrition scientists to create what it calls a Hydration Multiplier.
Through the science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) water and other key ingredients are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Liquid I.V. is available in four flavors: lemon-lime, passion fruit, tangerine, and acai berry. It also boasts five essential vitamins: B3, B5, B6, B12, and Vitamin C.
With each purchase consumers make, Liquid I.V. provides hydration in disaster zones, hospitals, impoverished communities, and more in need around the world.
Best electrolyte drink for hangovers: Pedialyte
Not just for kids
The same stuff you had as a child comes in handy after partaking in adult beverages.
Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink is medically formulated and highly recommended by medical professionals for both children and adults.
- 1-liter bottle
- 370 mg sodium per serving
- Good for both kids and adults
- Well-earned reputation
- Lots of options including freeze pops.
- “Unflavored” doesn’t mean no taste
Pedialyte is an advanced, medical-grade hydration formula that contains potassium, sodium, and chloride. These key electrolytes are designed to restore your body’s sugar and electrolyte balance which is why it’s the best electrolyte drink for hangovers. You’ve probably had it multiple times in your life already since it’s typically suggested for sick children who are running fevers or are having trouble keeping down regular liquids.
You can get Pedialyte via liters (liquid), powder packs, and freezer pops that come in 17 flavors. However, the unflavored version is a great choice that is free of artificial colors and dyes. Some people have reported that the flavorless option still has a taste, but if you drink it cold, it tastes much better.
Best electrolyte drink for runners: Nuun Sport + Caffeine
Take it on the road
These electrolyte drink tablets are easy to carry to the gym or on your run.
Why it made the cut: Easily portable tablets quickly dissolve in a water bottle so there’s no need to lug around pre-mixed liquid. They also taste excellent.
- Dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free
- 1 tube holds 10 tablets
- No artificial flavoring or sweeteners
- Only 1 gram of sugar
- Good for travel
- Contains caffeine (could be a pro or con)
Nuun has been the best electrolyte drink for runners and athletes for years. Nuun tablets contain only one gram of sugar which is derived from high-quality stevia. It also contains only 15 calories and zero artificial sweeteners or flavoring. There’s a wide variety of flavors to choose from and it’s easy to carry them practically anywhere since they’re in tablet form. All you have to do is dissolve one tablet in 16oz of water.
While caffeine could be a con for some, studies have shown that caffeine may boost athletic performance which could help runners during training and competition. Additionally, the caffeine is derived from green tea extract. Nuun also has tablets focused on energy and immunity as well as electrolyte powder mix.
Best electrolyte drink for breastfeeding mothers: Vita Coco
New mothers may not realize they need to replenish their electrolytes too.
Why it made the cut: While many electrolyte drinks are healthier than sports drinks, coconut water is the only one on the list with one ingredient.
- 1 bottle = 11.1 fluid oz
- 1 case = 12 bottles
- Fat- and gluten-free
- Naturally occurring electrolyte source
- Contains only 1 ingredient
- High sugar content
There’s not an electrolyte drink that’s more natural than coconut water. As a new mother breastfeeding, you want to pay attention to what you put in your body just as you did while you were pregnant. For that reason, coconut water is the best electrolyte drink for breastfeeding mothers.
Vita Coco is never made from concentrate. The coconuts are picked, cracked, and packed directly at the source.
Vita Coco also has coconut water options available in pineapple and peach & mango flavors if you don’t love the taste of plain coconut water. The bottles are handy and easy to keep around so you don’t have to worry about mixing up a drink to replenish when you’re already spent.
Best sugar-free electrolyte drink: Hi-Lyte
Why it made the cut: Most electrolyte drinks have sugar, added or natural, but Hi-Lyte is one of the few with absolutely no sugar making it the best sugar-free electrolyte drink and great for diabetics or anyone watching their sugar intake.
- Gluten-, calorie-, sugar-free
- No sugar, carbs, calories
- No artificial ingredients
- Natural salty taste
- Contains zinc (important if you have zinc sensitivity)
Hi-Lyte is a liquid electrolyte drink that claims to have the highest potassium, zinc, and magnesium content amongst electrolyte concentrates on the market. This product is made with all-natural, ionic sea minerals and no maltodextrin. Ionic minerals are smaller than cell pathways which allows them to be absorbed more easily.
Hi-Lyte notes that their product is not focused on taste and that it has a naturally salty, mineral taste. If you’re sensitive to the taste, add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a pinch of stevia. You can also add it to juice or a smoothie.
Hi-Lyte also claims that the liquid form has four times the absorption rate versus powders and tablets. However, if you prefer powder form, Hi-Lyte does produce an electrolyte powder as well, which is ideal for traveling.
What to look for in electrolyte drinks
Possibly the most important is the ingredients. Check the label to see exactly what you’re getting in your electrolyte drink. There are a lot of different options and the one you choose could vary depending on what you’re looking for such as a way to help get over being sick or a way to fuel your exercise.
Different electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and chloride.
The non-active ingredients are important to check, too. Some sports drinks have the electrolytes you need, but pair them with tons of added sugar, which isn’t ideal.
There are different forms in which electrolyte drinks come in. These include premixed liquid form, like Pedialyte, powder form, like Liquid I.V., and dissolvable tablets, like Nuun. Then there are also naturally occurring electrolyte drinks like coconut water.
The type of electrolyte drinks you decide on may depend on if you need to travel with it, how much you need to carry with you easily, and also just downright preference.
Some electrolyte drinks include extra ingredients like caffeine or vitamin C. There are reasons why some of these extra additives may be beneficial and other reasons why some people may want to avoid them. It is generally best to keep clear of any drink high in sugar content. Consulting your doctor can’t hurt before starting any supplement, especially if it’s part of a new or particularly rigorous exercise program.
Q: Is it okay to drink electrolytes every day?
It is unnecessary to drink electrolyte drinks all the time. They are most beneficial during prolonged exercise (more than an hour), in hot environments, or if you’re ill. Almost every electrolyte drink comes with high sodium levels, which you may not need if you’re not losing liquids through sweat or other bodily functions. Ask a doctor for your best information.
Q: What are the symptoms of low electrolytes?
An electrolyte imbalance may create a number of symptoms. These could include:
– Muscle spasms, weakness, twitching, or convulsions
– Abdominal or muscle cramps
– Irregular heartbeat
– Mental confusion
The most common sign of low electrolytes is muscle cramping.
Final thoughts about electrolyte drinks
Electrolyte drinks can do your body good, but not everyone needs added electrolytes since your body naturally replenishes them. Generally, electrolyte drinks are great for those that are working out for a long time at high intensities, professional and competitive athletes, long-distance hikers, and so on. They are also great for when you have the stomach flu, are breastfeeding, or need to rehydrate after a long night of drinking.
If you’re looking for the best electrolyte drinks, there are a few things to consider before making that final purchase. What ingredients do you want and which ones do you want to avoid? Do you want liquid, tablets, or powder? Do you need something easy to carry or travel with? Once you answer these questions, one of these best electrolyte drinks should work great for you.
Published at Wed, 13 Oct 2021 18:00:00 +0000