The Big Difference Between Pedialyte And Gatorade


Pedialyte is a drink marketed more as a health drink for kids, but many athletes drink it to replenish their bodies and keep themselves hydrated during periods endurance training or conditioning. Pedialyte is available for purchase at most pharmacies and grocery stores.



Pedialyte is known for being given to children exhibiting stomach flu symptoms to help with hydration. There are several ingredients that are present in both Pedialyte and Gatorade, but what sets Pedialyte apart from Gatorade is its sodium content. Pedialyte has almost twice the sodium as Gatorade.

Why does this help? Sodium helps the body to retain water, and to stay hydrated for longer. After sodium consumption, your cells get thirsty, take in water and retain it. Water retention helps you to not feel as thirsty when participating in vigorous exercise.

Pedialyte also helps the body to maintain its levels of potassium better than Gatorade. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and digestion, and getting enough in your diet, especially when undergoing rigorous exercise, is important.


There are three main drawbacks with Pedialyte: cost, availability and taste. For twice the sodium of Gatorade, you will certainly pay the price. Pedialyte is also not as widely available as Gatorade, which can be purchased anywhere from gas stations and corner stores to fast food chains. Also, in all of the studies conducted on the effects of hydration of Pedialyte vs. Gatorade, the participants preferred the taste of Gatorade.

Despite all that it has excellent reviews and buying the powdered version cuts down on the cost significantly.


For formula-fed babies, continue with the usual formula. Note – since a baby with diarrhea may develop a temporary lactose intolerance (the inability to break down lactose, a natural sugar found in dairy products), it is best to consider to switch to a lactose-free formula.

For breastfed babies, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding and feed more frequently.

Once your toddler feels hungry again, start with mild, easy to digest foods. The BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) diet can be your go-to when it comes to an uneasy stomach.

It is best to avoid:

  • spices, especially curries, tomato-based dishes, and chili sauces;
  • grease, especially bacon;
  • foods high in dietary fiber;
  • dairy products – these foods can aggravate diarrhea and gas.

The biggest danger from stomach flu is dehydration. For every bout of loose stools, it is recommended to add 60 to 100 milliliters of fluids, like – barley water, rice water, or rehydration solution, to replenish lost sodium and electrolytes.


It is specially formulated to help prevent dehydration by restoring nutrients lost during vomiting and diarrhea in babies, children, and adults. Pedialyte meets the requirements of the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) Committee on Nutrition to help prevent dehydration in toddlers.


It is a sports drink which is meant to combat dehydration better than water by packing in sodium and potassium.

The sports drink was developed in the summer of 1965 for the University of Florida’s football team and was tested on Gators’ football athletes.

Originally, Gatorade was produced by Stokely-Van Camp, but, in 1988, the brand was acquired by the Quaker Oats Company. In 2002, PepsiCo purchased Gatorade brand.

The first Gatorade flavors were fruit punch, orange (the most popular), and lemon-lime. In the present day, there are about nine different varieties of Gatorade including some with added minerals and vitamins, one organic, and a lower calorie version (this version substitutes sucralose and acesulfame for sugar).


Coconut Water

Coconut water is high in electrolytes, low in sugar (plus, it has fiber), which makes it a perfect drink for dehydrated adults or children.

Coconut water is the easiest, natural way to help your dehydrated child. It is also nature’s solution for sick tummies.

For example, on average, a can of coconut water has 500 mg of potassium, about which you’d get from a cup of orange juice or a banana. In addition, it has much less sugar than fruit juices and sodas, and less sugar than most sports drinks.

Therefore, if you’re going to spend money on a specialty drink, it might as well be as close to nature as possible.

But remember that natural coconut water has less sodium (an important hydration electrolyte) and sugar (muscle fuel) than the average sports drink, that is engineered in a laboratory to optimize and improve athlete performance.

What Is Dehydration, and What Are Its Causes?

Dehydration is a medical term given to the condition concerning the heavy water loss in the human body disrupting the body’s normal functions. Well, this takes place when a person is losing more percentage of water than they are consuming. Now, dehydration among seniors is quite challenging to recognize. 

The reason is that common symptom, such as wrinkli

The reason is that common symptom, such as wrinkling of the skin or sagging skin is already predominant among seniors and cannot be easily identified or differentiated. Well, this is the reason why dehydration is commonly witnessed among seniors. However, it is essential to recognize these symptoms early to avoid major health issues among seniors. 


In a pinch, Pedialyte would work better than water for athletes fighting dehydration, but athlete-formulated sports drinks, such as Gatorade, may better address the specific needs of athletes, long-term. In the battle of Gatorade vs. Pedialyte, in this case, Gatorade is the winner.

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.


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.


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

What Are The Signs Of Dehydration In the Elderly?

As promised, let’s delve into the symptoms of dehydration in seniors. Some of these symptoms might not seem like your senior parent or loved one is dehydrated, which is why it’s even more important that you pay attention to their state.


This first sign of dehydration is one that’s easy to miss, especially if your senior parent already has dementia. The confusion that’s caused by dehydration can seem sudden and usually needs to be taken in conjunction with the other symptoms. 


Does your senior parent seem to be having a hard time getting up? Are they swaying on their feet or struggling to stay upright? Without enough electrolytes, one’s blood volume decreases, which reduces blood pressure. It’s that change that causes wooziness. 


Although electrolytes aren’t an energy source themselves, they do encourage the body to function and stay energized. Once electrolyte levels deplete, fatigue and even exhaustion can follow. 

Muscle Cramps

We mentioned earlier how electrolytes dictate when your muscles contract and relax. Without enough electrolytes to manage muscle behavior, the muscles can painfully contract, leading to cramping and muscle spasms. 

Drop In Blood Pressure

This goes back to what we discussed in the paragraphs above. A senior’s reduced blood volume due to electrolyte depletion causes their blood pressure to go down. The drop in blood pressure can be moderate to severe. 

Dark-Colored Urine

Accompany your senior to the bathroom to check the color of their urine. Is the pigment darker yellow or even brownish? The color of urine is more concentrated in someone with dehydration.

Sunken Eyes

Hydration keeps the skin supple, even in older individuals (although to a lesser degree). Without that water in the skin, all plumpness disappears, leaving the thin eye skin looking even thinner, darker, and sunken. 

Dry Mouth

The body needs hydration to produce saliva, or a dry mouth can result. 

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