Keto is one of the best diets for fat loss, but it works its magic by limiting your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day, and usually closer to 20-30 grams. This means bread, rice, pasta, cereals, and potatoes are all off the menu. As well as cutting high-carb foods from your diet, keto also means eliminating high-carb beverages too. That means no soda, no fruit juice, no smoothies, and no milkshakes.
But what about Powerade Zero? Is that particular sports drink keto friendly? The short answer is yes. But, before you rush out and buy a dozen cases, make sure you read all about this sports drink so that you understand it’s uses, benefits, and drawbacks.
It’s also important to differentiate between Powerade Zero and regular Powerade. Regular Powerade contains about 35 grams of carbs per 20 ounce serving, which means you’ll be out of ketosis before you finish the bottle! Powerade Zero is keto-friendly, but regular Powerade definitely isn’t.
The importance of hydration on the keto diet
What you eat is crucial for successful dieting, but what you drink is equally important. Not only from the view of calories and carbs but because hydration is critical to your health and performance.
Your body contains a considerable amount of water. In fact, about 60% of your body weight is water. Your body uses water for a wide range of functions including:
- Temperature regulation
- Lubrication of your joints and digestive tract
- Transport of substances around your body
- As a medium in which to mix chemicals
While you can go for several weeks without food, your body can only go for a couple of days without water. Chronic dehydration will quickly lead to confusion, unconsciousness, and death. Mild dehydration causes headaches, loss of energy, cramps, and nausea, not to mention making your skin less elastic and more prone to wrinkles!
Water is essential regardless of what diet you are following, but it’s especially vital during the keto diet. With keto, you limit your carb intake, which forces your body to burn more fat for fuel. But, before that happens your onboard supplies of carbohydrate, called glycogen, must be depleted.
Glycogen is glucose bound to water. For every gram of glucose stored in your body (mainly within your liver and muscles), your body also stores 3-5 grams of water. When you cut carbs, your body initially turns to its glycogen stores to make up this shortfall. As it uses your glycogen, your body releases the accompanying water which is then excreted via the urinary system. Getting rid of what can amount to a lot of water will soon lead to dehydration.
With keto, you skip the carbs so that your glycogen stores are not replenished. Once they are all used up, your body makes the switch to burning fat for fuel. Unfortunately, your brain and muscles cannot function on fat alone. To provide your body with a source of energy it can use, some fat is converted into ketones. Making ketones takes a lot of fat and energy, which is what makes the keto diet so good for fat loss.
However, while you don’t want to eat carbs to replenish your glycogen stores, you do need to replace the water your body has excreted. If you don’t, you’ll make the keto flu much worse.
What is keto flu? Good question!
Keto flu is the collective term for the symptoms that many people experience as their glycogen stores are depleted, and they make the switch to using ketones and fat for fuel. You cannot enter ketosis until all your glycogen stores have been used up.
This grey area between using carbs and ketones for energy can leave you feeling unwell. The good news is that once you enter ketosis, the signs and symptoms of keto flu will magically vanish. These symptoms include:
- Difficulty focusing (“brain fog”)
- Changes in taste and smell
- Lack of motivation
- Sugar cravings
- Muscle cramps
- Increased urination
- Muscle cramps
- Fruity breath
- Strong-smelling urine
Dehydration is responsible for many of these symptoms, and the symptoms not directly caused by dehydration will be worse if you don’t drink enough water.
Unfortunately, water is not a very exciting beverage. It’s tasteless, and even though most people know they should consume about 64 ounces per day as a minimum, it’s hard to get motivated about drinking plain water, even though it’s so important.
If you aren’t on a keto diet, you can slake your thirst with a wide range of beverages, including fruit juice and soda. Unfortunately, their carb and sugar content means that many of these drinks are off the menu, and even a small serving will put the brakes on your fat-burning efforts.
Luckily, there are alternatives to plain water and high-sugar sodas and fruit juices – one of which is Powerade Zero.
What is Powerade Zero?
Powerade Zero is a sports drink made by The Coca-Cola Company. It’s widely available, and because it’s a mainstream beverage, you can buy it almost anywhere that Coke is sold. That includes gas stations, convenience stores, and vending machines. It’s good to know that, even on the keto diet, you should have no problem finding a keto-friendly drink to slake your thirst.
If you find plain water boring or miss your daily glass of orange juice, you’ll be happy to hear that Powerade Zero is available in five different flavors. These flavors are:
- Mixed Berry (blue)
- Grape (purple)
- Orange (orange)
- Fruit Punch (red)
- Strawberry (pink)
Powerade zero doesn’t contain any carbs or sugar, but it does contain electrolytes, which is why it is categorized as a sports drink. During exercise, you sweat more than usual. But you don’t just lose water, you lose minerals called electrolytes too. Electrolytes have some essential functions, including:
- Regulation of heartbeat
- Muscle contractions
- Control of body temperature
- Bladder control
- Regulation of hydration
- Energy production
- Proper function of the nervous system
Given that electrolytes are essential for so many essential bodily functions, it’s clear that these minerals are very, VERY important. Your body needs a wide range of minerals to function correctly, but the electrolytes are especially critical. The minerals that make up the electrolytes are:
But, you may be thinking, I don’t do any exercise, and I don’t sweat much – why do I need electrolytes? The answer is that, as you enter ketosis and pee more than usual, your body also excretes electrolytes. Yes, the substances you normally sweat out of your body are also in your urine. Subsequently, every keto dieter needs to increase its intake of electrolytes to replace lost minerals. Dehydration plus electrolyte imbalance will make all of the symptoms of keto flu much worse!
You can replace lost electrolytes using foods that are high in sodium, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, but that isn’t always easy. Do you even know which foods contain chlorine, for example?! Alternatively, you could make your own ketoade, a homemade drink that contains electrolytes. Bone broth is another good way to replace lost minerals.
In most cases, it’s easier to replace lost electrolytes with a sports drink. Of course, you need to ensure that your chosen beverage is sugar and calorie-free so as not to disrupt ketosis.
Powerade Zero nutritional facts
To be successful on the keto diet, you need to get into the habit of reading nutrition labels. A lot of foods and drinks contain hidden carbs and sugar. They are added to make food taste good. However, even hidden carbs will kick you out of ketosis, so it’s important to make sure you double-check everything you eat and drink to ensure you aren’t inadvertently consuming carbs.
Powerade Zero nutritional facts are as follows:
- Calories – 0
- Sodium – 10%
- Potassium – 2%
- Niacin – 25%
- Vitamin B6 – 25%
- Vitamin B12 – 25%
- Fat – 0
- Sugar – 0
- Cholesterol – 0
As you can see, it really IS sugar, carb, and calorie-free, making it ideal for the keto diet. But what about Powerade Zero ingredients? What is in this popular keto-friendly beverage? According to The Coca-Cola Company, this is what goes into Powerade Zero, mixed berry flavor:
Water, less than 1% of: citric acid, salt and mono-potassium phosphate and magnesium chloride and calcium chloride (electrolyte sources), natural flavors, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, vitamin B3 (niacinamide), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin), blue 1, ascorbic acid (to protect taste), calcium disodium edta (to preserve color).
Are artificial sweeteners ok on the keto diet?
Powerade Zero tastes sweet but contains no sugar. How is this possible? The answer is artificial sweeteners. Powerade Zero features two non-sugar, calorie-free sweeteners: sucralose and acesulfame potassium, also known as acesulfame K or ace K.
Sucralose is made from sugar, but it has been chemically changed to make it all-but indigestible. In scientific terms, some of its hydrogen-oxygen content has been replaced with chlorine atoms. This also makes sucralose about 600 times sweeter than sugar, which means a little goes a very long way. Sucralose is usually marketed under the brand name Splenda.
Acesulfame potassium is about 200 times sweeter than sugar and is usually used alongside other artificial sweeteners. It has a noticeable aftertaste and blending it with other sweeteners makes this much less noticeable. That’s why Powerade Zero contains not just one but two artificial sweeteners.
Both of these sweeteners are FDA-approved and widely used. However, some nutrition experts have concerns over their safety. After all, artificial sweeteners are chemicals and, in most cases, adding chemicals to your food is not a good idea. Some experts believe that artificial sweeteners can be linked to a wide range of illnesses and diseases, not least cancer. However, the studies that suggest this link are few and far between and are mostly animal studies.
Providing you don’t drink gallons of Powerade Zero, or any diet soda for that matter, your consumption of both sucralose and acesulfame K will be very low. After all, they are both so sweet that even a large-sized serving of Powerade Zero contains only a tiny amount of both of these sweeteners.
Does this give you license to drink Powerade Zero all day long? Of course not! But, if you want something sweet to drink that won’t derail your diet, this beverage is a good choice, and the electrolytes are always beneficial on the keto diet.
When to drink Powerade Zero
There are several situations where drinking Powerade Zero will be especially beneficial. Those times include:
During exercise – while you don’t have to exercise to lose weight on the keto diet, doing so can help. Working out will get you into ketosis sooner and help you burn fat faster. The ingredients in Powerade Zero will give you energy despite not containing calories. The B vitamins are especially important for energy production.
After exercise – sweaty workouts can leave you not just dehydrated but also low in electrolytes. Replacing both water and minerals will speed up recovery so that you can get back to training sooner. Drinking Powerade Zero during and after your workout is a good way to rehydrate and rebalance your electrolytes.
Instead of soda – regular soda is loaded with sugar. A standard 12-ounce serving of regular soda contains nearly 40 grams of sugar. That’s more than enough to put you out of ketosis. If you usually drink soda, try replacing it with sugar-free Powerade Zero. It tastes just as sweet but won’t ruin your keto diet.
Instead of fruit juice – orange juice is a popular breakfast beverage. Unfortunately, despite being high in vitamin C and tasting great, it’s not suitable for keto. Missing your morning OJ? Try a glass of chilled Powerade Zero instead. There is even an orange flavor version that may help cure your OJ cravings.
When sugar cravings kick in – giving up carbs and sugar are great for weight loss but can also trigger cravings. With willpower, you may be able to resist those cravings for a few hours or even a day or two, but they can increase in severity and make you want to quit your diet. Sweet-tasting but sugar-free drinks like Powerade Zero can help satisfy your sugar cravings without putting you out of ketosis. Try having Powerade zero instead of candy or a dessert.
If you have keto flu – all of the symptoms of keto flu are worse when you are dehydrated, and your electrolytes are out of balance. Powerade Zero addresses both of these problems and can help lessen the severity and duration of keto flu.
When it’s beer or wine o’clock – many people like to unwind at the end of the day with a beer or glass of wine. While one small alcoholic drink may not put you out of ketosis, two or more probably will. Avoid this problem by relaxing with a chilled Powerade Zero instead of a beer or whiskey. This may seem odd initially, but you will soon break your beer habit with a drink that won’t disrupt ketosis.
Powerade Zero is a sugar-free, calorie-free, keto-friendly sports drink. It contains electrolytes, so it will help restore mineral balance as it rehydrates you. Available in five flavors, it tastes sweet, and it’s refreshing too, especially when it’s chilled. It’s not just for exercisers either – you can drink Powerade even if you aren’t a gym-junkie!
Widely available, you should be able to buy Powerade Zero anywhere you see Coco-Cola for sale. After all, it’s made by the same company. If you get hit by thirst or sugar cravings, you can buy a bottle from most gas stations and convenience stores.
Remember though, your body needs water, and Powerade Zero is just one way to slake your thirst. Most of your fluid intake should be in the form of plain water. If you don’t like the taste of water, add a squeeze of lemon juice or some cucumber slices to make it more interesting. Alternatively, try some unsweetened iced tea.
Is Powerade Zero keto friendly? You bet!