The majority of people believe that sports drinks like Gatorade are better to drink than water when dehydrated because of electrolyte replacement, but this is further from the truth. Most sports drinks contain two-thirds or even more sugar than sodas, typically in the form of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), making them even more harmful. Many also contain artificial flavors and food coloring, none of which contribute to optimal health.
How Fructose is Processed
Fructose is metabolized much like alcohol by the liver, causing mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction in the same way as ethanol and other toxins. It is also the main cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Just like alcohol, the body turns fructose directly into fat—hardly what you need after a good workout.
Artificial Sweetener.....Worse than Fructose.
sports drinks that are low in calories and sugar-free, likely contains artificial sweeteners, which may be even worse than fructose. Additionally, consuming sugar after exercise will negatively affect your insulin sensitivity—and your human growth hormone (HGH) production if you're doing high intensity exercise. Most sports drinks are also high in sodium or processed salt, which is meant to replenish the electrolytes you lose while sweating.
It is very easy and inexpensive to address the electrolyte replacement issue simply by adding a small amount of natural, unprocessed salt to your water. Contrary to processed salt, natural salt contains about 84 different minerals and trace minerals that your body needs for optimal function. Another excellent option when you're sweating is coconut water. It's one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man.
Also, fresh fruits are full of potassium and other important minerals that help address the missing electrolytes one looses in sweat. Just remember to eat the whole fruit, not fruit juices.
Moral of the story? Hydrate with water instead. Concerned about electrolyte replacement? Add natural salt to your water. Natural coconut water is the best but most store bought contain fructose...so water and natural salt.