There are many sports drinks on the market that promise health and performance benefits, but most are loaded with calories and sugar. As people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, we have to remain mindful of what we are eating and drinking. Often, we are looking for a drink that can help give us a boost of energy before we exercise or one that will replenish us after a vigorous workout. The last thing we want is to mess with our blood sugar after doing something good for our body, or to ruin a workout due to glucose rollercoasters, so a drink with minimal sugar is ideal.
To give you an idea of what these so-called sports drink typically contain, regular Gatorade has 140 calories and 34 g carbs in a 20-oz bottle; yet it is the most popular sports drink on the market. Make sure you read labels and pick a drink that fits with your own personal health goals.
Here are some of the sports drink I found with the lowest sugar and the most health benefits:
By the makers of Gatorade, this brand has quickly become a fan favorite. It is a great option for many because it contains zero grams of sugar and zero calories. This drink can be beneficial both pre- and post-workout and is packed with electrolytes and vitamins. While some may shy away from it due to artificial flavors, they offer an unflavored version as well that tastes just like water.
You can purchase Propel at many grocery chains, including Walmart, Target, and Kroger. You can find a store near you using their store locator.
Gatorade Zero Sugar Thirst Quencher
This drink comes in ten tasty flavors, including glacier cherry, orange, and lemon-lime. With just 5-10 calories and zero sugar per serving, this is a delicious option that will fuel your body and hydrate you too.
You can look specifically for this product on their website to find out where it is sold by you.
Body Armor Lyte
The secret ingredient to this refreshing sports drink is that it contains 10% coconut water. It comes in a variety of flavors, including blueberry pomegranate, peach mango, orange citrus, and coconut. This drink delivers 200% of your daily recommended dose of vitmains B3, B5 and B12, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. This drink is also packed with potassium and is a great option for those looking for a low-sugar drink that delivers multiple health benefits.
I have seen this product in Target but be sure to check their store locator to find a store near you.
Nooma Organic Sports Drink
Made with organic coconut water and sea salt, and loaded with electrolytes, potassium, and sodium, Nooma will be sure to keep you hydrated through your workout. Each drink is organic and non-GMO, with only 30 calories and 5 grams of sugar, all of which come naturally from the coconut water. Nooma comes in five great flavors – blueberry peach, mango, watermelon lime, lemonade and chocolate mint. All have no artificial ingredients or sugar added. The company also has different related beverages, such as Recovery Drinks, which have extra antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
You can purchase Nooma Organic Electrolyte Drink at Amazon starting at $29.99 for a variety pack of 12 16-ounce bottles or directly through their website, where shipping is free if in the United States!
Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets
Tablets take up a lot less room than bottles, and can easily be mixed into a favorite water bottle or into a Camelbak hydration system. They may be the best option for major exercises like long-distance runs, bike rides, and hikes.
Nuun Sport created a sports drink tablet that is packed with electrolytes and a little bit of caffeine. They’re low-calorie and low-sugar. There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners (Nuun uses Stevia, a natural product) and the tablet is both keto-friendly and gluten-free. Nuun’s Drink Tablets come in four tubes of 10, with each tube containing one of the following tasty flavors: Lemon Lime, Tri-Berry, Citrus Fruit, and Orange. These tubes are extremely easy to take on-the-go.
You can purchase Nuun Drink Tablets on Amazon or directly through their website, where you can buy individual tubes as well.
Celsius BCAA + Energy
Celsius keeps on gaining traction, probably because they have a lot more to offer than just sugar-free Gatorade equivalents. They sell several different types of zero-sugar energy drinks, including a special Stevia-sweetened line, and Celsius Heat, which “is designed to increase thermogenesis” by including both L-citrulline and 300mg of caffeine.
Our favorite? Celsius BCAA + Energy. This is a carbonated beverage with 100 mg of caffeine, about as much as a cup of coffee. I think it’s a refreshing alternative to tea or coffee and ideal for both pre- and post-workout. BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids, and are believed to help reduce inflammation and build muscle. The drink also has vitamin D and the essential electrolytes.
Celsius BCAA + Energy has zero sugar and contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. It comes in 3 flavors: Sparkling Blue Razz, Sparkling Tart Cherry Lime, and Sparkling Blood Orange Lemonade.
You can purchase Celsius directly off their website or use their store locator to find a retailer by you. I was surprised to see so many drugs stores and grocery stores carrying this product.
Powerade Zero Sugar
Powerade Zero Sugar contains four electrolytes, which the brand calls its “unique ION4 Advanced Electrolyte System.” It also has vitamins B3, B6 and B12. The sweetener is sucralose. These drinks are sure to keep you hydrated and give you energy while maybe even helping you make progress in the gym.
You can purchase Powerade Ultra on their website or use their store locator to find a retailer by you.
A unique option, LMNT is a powder to mix into water. It contains more electrolytes than most of the competitors, especially sodium. The business believes that athletes – especially low-carb and keto athletes – need more salt in their diets. You can read their scientific argument here, although it should go without saying that anyone that has been warned to limit sodium consumption should look for a different option. LMNT is sweetened with stevia leaf extract. If serious exercise consistently leaves you dehydrated and drained, maybe it’s worth a shot?
When choosing a sports drink, consider your nutritional goals, fitness level, and energy needs. And most importantly, go ahead and taste a few options. All the sports drinks mentioned above will hydrate your body and replenish the minerals lost, without adding back the calories you just burned. And even better, none of them will mess with your blood sugar!
Read more about exercise, gluten-free, Intensive management, low-carb diet.