Gatorade vs Liquid IV: Which Hydration Drink Is Better?

Since our bodies require water to survive, it’s important that we pay close attention to hydration. We use water for things like digestion, removing waste … Read More

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Since our bodies require water to survive, it’s important that we pay close attention to hydration. We use water for things like digestion, removing waste from the body and even temperature regulation. When we’re low on fluids and electrolytes, this can lead to a whole host of health issues. Some people with conditions such as dysautonomia and POTS can even experience fainting, severe headaches and nausea when dehydrated.

Instead of drinking plain water, there are a number of products that can help replenish electrolytes and improve overall hydration levels. Let’s compare Liquid IV and Gatorade.

Liquid I.V.


  • Liquid IV uses smart hydration technology to hydrate better than water on its own.
  • Liquid IV contains an amino acid-allulose blend to improve hydration.
  • There is a sugar-free option available from Liquid IV.

Choose Liquid IV if…

  • You’re looking for a healthy way to improve your hydration.
  • You want a carefully blended mix of electrolytes.
  • You are an active fitness enthusiast.
  • You suffer from a health condition that makes it difficult to stay hydrated and balance your electrolytes.
  • Gatorade is a popular sport-focused hydration drink; however, it contains large amounts of sugar.
  • There is a sugar-free version of Gatorade, but it is made using artificial sweeteners.
  • There are a number of flavors available from Gatorade; however, they tend to be made from artificial flavors or ingredients.

Choose Gatorade if…

  • You are looking for a sweet beverage that has a strong taste.
  • You are sensitive to any of the ingredients in other products, like Liquid IV.

What Is Liquid I.V.?

liquid iv - vs gatorade

Liquid I.V. is a brand that has been making electrolyte powders since 2012. For convenience, their products come in powder form, so you don’t have to store large containers of sports drinks. You can take your individual Liquid IV packets on-the-go with you, ensuring that you stay hydrated wherever you may be. Whether you’re just sweating a lot on a hot day, or you are sick and struggling to stay hydrated, Liquid IV is an excellent product to have on hand at all times.

The Formula

Thanks to the formula that Liquid IV uses, water and nutrients can pass through the bloodstream faster than water can on its own. The original formula for Liquid IV contains a mixture of sugar, stevia, electrolytes (potassium and sodium), vitamin C and B vitamins (B3, B5, B6 and B12). If you have one individual Liquid IV packet, it is mixed into 16 fluid ounces of water. Each serving contains approximately 45 calories, 500 milligrams of sodium and 11 grams of carbs. The exact nutritional facts can vary a bit from one variety to the next.

My Experience

I’ve been familiar with Liquid IV for a number of years. I was diagnosed with a condition called dysautonomia many years ago. This nervous system disorder has a profound impact on a variety of autonomic processes that my body needs to perform each day. It’s incredibly important that I stay hydrated on a regular basis in order to feel my best and avoid symptom flare ups. I also pay close attention to consuming enough electrolytes each day to ensure optimal hydration.

Liquid IV has a number of benefits that make it one of my favorite products. For example, the individual packets are super convenient. It’s not practical for me to carry around multiple bottles of Gatorade or another similar sports drink if I’m going to be out for a bit. I can keep a large quantity of Liquid IV packets in my bag at all times and simply drop one into a bottle of water. A quick shake, and I’m on my way to staying hydrated.

This product has helped me stay hydrated during an illness. I’m prone to feeling very symptomatic if I have a hard workout, during certain points of my menstrual cycle and in times of high stress. I can say that Liquid IV has kept me out of my doctor’s office plenty of times.


  • Helps you rehydrate faster than water alone.
  • Doesn’t contain a ton of sugar or artificial ingredients
  • Contains nutrients as well as electrolytes.
  • Convenient for on-the-go use


  • Might not be acceptable if you avoid the consumption of stevia.

Cost and Where to Buy

Liquid IV is available online, through various online retailers and in a number of major retail stores. You can purchase it directly from the Liquid IV website if you would like (https://www.liquid-iv.com/).

The cost varies a bit based on what you’re purchasing and how much. For example, a bag of Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier (one of the major traditional varieties) costs $24.99 for 16 packets. You can also take advantage of building your own bundle of products on the Liquid IV website, which starts at $24.47. Product quantity and price can vary by a few dollars based on flavor and product, but you’ll find it’s around $25 for 14 to 16 packets of Liquid IV.

What Is Gatorade? (We Know That You Know!)

gatorade - vs liquid iv

This sports drink contains the necessary electrolytes and carbohydrates that help you stay hydrated and recover faster. However, it contains a lot of sugar and calories, which isn’t something you’ll find with a product like Liquid IV. Gatorade sells a number of flavored electrolyte drinks. They have also expanded their product line to include sugar-free options (with artificial sweeteners), powdered products, reusable bottles, etc.

The Formula

For the purpose of this article, I’ll mainly talk about the traditional Gatorade formula that you most commonly find on store shelves. This includes a pretty typical electrolyte profile that contains things like calcium, magnesium, phosphate, chloride, sodium and potassium.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of sugar to contend with when you drink a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade. This size of drink contains 36 grams of sugar. Your average can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar, to give you some perspective.

My Experience

When I first learned about my nervous system condition, I did a lot of reading on the importance of staying hydrated. Unfortunately, this was very early on, when there weren’t a lot of other electrolyte products to turn to. I started drinking Gatorade, sometimes even watered down, to avoid consuming too much sugar at once.

While Gatorade does its job in regard to helping you stay hydrated, consuming all that sugar really starts to take a toll on one’s health. I like to stay away from refined sugar as it is, so I eventually started to avoid Gatorade all together. I wasn’t interested in any of the sugar-free options, as I don’t like artificial sweeteners. Not to mention, colored Gatorades contain all kinds of artificial colors.


  • Fast hydration
  • Helps speed up your recovery from physical activity or illness.
  • A lot of different products are available.


  • Too much sugar (or the use of artificial sweeteners)
  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • High in calories

Cost and Where to Buy

You can purchase Gatorade in most grocery stores and retail stores. It’s relatively affordable, with a pack of 24, 20 fl.-oz. bottles costing around $38, depending on where you’re shopping. You can usually grab single bottles for just a few dollars as well.

Comparison Section Between Gatorade and Liquid I.V.

In my opinion, these two products are very different. Let’s look at a breakdown of how they compare.

liquid iv and gatorade together

Comparing Formulas

Both of these products are intended to provide essential electrolytes (and nutrients) in a single serving. Liquid IV does a much better job of breaking down what’s inside of their product. Gatorade lists the required nutritional information on its label, such as sugar and calories. A single serving provides approximately 230mg of sodium and 70mg of potassium. There’s about 34g of carbohydrates in each serving as well. Those carbs are used to fuel your muscles and enhance the absorption of fluids.

Liquid IV contains approximately:

  • 380mg of potassium
  • 76mg of vitamin C
  • 22mg of niacin
  • 2.28 mg of vitamin B6
  • 6.82 mcg of vitamin B12
  • 11.4 mg of pantothenic acid

This information is based on the traditional Hydration Multiplier formula.

Comparing Taste

As I mentioned, Gatorade contains a heck of a lot of sugar. It’s a very sweet drink. Liquid IV is very clean and crisp. It just slightly enhances the flavor of your water.

Gatorade is available in a number of flavors (artificial), such as cherry glacier, orange, lemon lime, glacier freeze, etc.

Liquid IV offers subtle flavors such as strawberry, strawberry lemonade, seaberry, Concord grape, pina colada, pear and unflavored.

Comparing Results

I personally found the benefits of Liquid IV to be much more noticeable than when I was using Gatorade. There’s a big difference in how you feel when you’re not consuming over 30 grams of sugar from one serving of electrolyte drink. I think Liquid IV is much better in regard to hydration, and the extra nutrients make a big difference in how you feel as well.

What are the Main Differences Between Liquid IV vs. Gatorade?

For starters, the sugar content is very different for these two products. There are only 11 grams of sugar in each serving of Liquid IV. There are also sugar-free options available as well. Gatorade contains about 36 grams of sugar in each serving, which is substantially more. Liquid IV uses Stevia to reduce its sugar content, while Gatorade uses sucralose.

Hydration Drink


Sugar content

What we love

Does it help with hangover relief?

Liquid I.V.

Starting at $24.99. If you subscribe monthly you can save.

11g per serving or you can opt to get the sugar-free option.

Liquid IV is rich in electrolytes that contains potassium and sodium. Also contains vitamins, such as vitamin C, B3, B5, B6 and B12. Only 45 calories.

Some say it can help with hangover relief.


12oz 12 pack bottles start at $7.98 at Walmart. Prices vary from store to store.

36g per serving. Gatorade uses sucralose. You can also get the sugar free option.

Gatorade has lots of electrolytes, which can help hydrate the body. Also has carbohydrates, which can give athletes the energy they need to compete.

Most say it does not help with hangover relief.

Final Thoughts

Hydration is something everyone should pay close attention to, whether you have a diagnosed medical condition that affects your hydration or not. So many people say they feel better, more energetic and healthier when they increase their fluid intake. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re taking in enough electrolytes in order to retain that fluid and make the most of what you’re taking in. That’s where an electrolyte beverage comes in.

I’ve had great success with Liquid IV, in addition to some other hydration products like Elete Electrolyte Add-In and LMNT.

My Recommendations

I encourage you to consider Liquid IV or a similar electrolyte add-in. Depending on where you live, your water quality may not be very good. Even filtered water or reverse osmosis water can miss many of the minerals and nutrients that you need to stay hydrated. Using an electrolyte add-in with quality water is ideal for everyday use. It doesn’t take long to see a difference in how you feel, either. Try Liquid IV for one day, striving to consume about 3.7 liters of fluid per day if you’re a male or 2.7 liters if you’re a female.


Liquid I.V. is better for…

  • Low sugar electrolyte support
  • Additional nutrients
  • Healthy flavor options
  • Everyday use

Gatorade is better for…

  • People who want regular sugar instead of alternative sweeteners
  • An accessible electrolyte beverage from a gas station or corner store
Photo of author

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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