Dehydration is a common issue, regardless of exercise level, that can leave you feeling tired, slow and can disrupt things like your digestive system and blood pressure. If you’re not drinking enough water, your body’s working overtime while recovering from being sick or you have kids who are picky eaters, among other things, it can be difficult to absorb the right amount of nutrients needed to maintain your hydration levels.
Electrolytes are important minerals in our diet that keep us hydrated and balanced. These positive or negative ions create energy that drives your metabolic processes. A proper amount of electrolytes and staying hydrated is crucial for regulating body temperature, delivering nutrients to cells, preventing infections and keeping your organs functioning properly. It’s especially important to stay on top of your hydration needs while intermittent fasting or using other modified diet strategies.
If your body becomes low on electrolytes, it can hinder functions like muscle contractions, blood clotting, acid balance and fluid regulation, causing you to feel lethargic and dizzy or experience cramping, nausea or an abnormal heart rate.
These days, it’s easy to reach for a sports drink for a refreshing quick fix, but these drinks can be loaded with carbohydrates and sugar that can be more detrimental to your health than helpful for hydration. Even Pedialyte, while it’s the first and maybe most recognized ready-to-drink electrolyte option, has more sugar than we’d recommend the average person consuming.
These days, there are plenty of options to choose from based on your taste preferences and lifestyle. Here are our top picks when you’re looking for an electrolyte and hydration boost.
Typically electrolyte powders are ready to go in portioned packets that are easy to toss in a bag and carry with you on the go, and simple enough to mix in a water bottle when you need a hydration boost.
- Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
One serving of this GMO-free powder is 50 calories with 11g of sugar and no artificial ingredients. Each packet contains three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks, plus potassium and 110% of vitamin C, B3, B5, B6, and B12.
- Hydrant Electrolyte Powder Rapid
One packet of Hydrant mix gives your body three times the amount of electrolytes as regular water and incorporates zinc into its ingredients. It provides 25 calories per serving and only 4g of sugar.
- LMNT Keto Electrolyte Powder Packets
While LMNT electrolyte powder contains no added sugar, it has a particularly high amount of sodium compared to most other electrolyte drinks. Depending on your desired activity and need for electrolyte replenishment, this level of sodium may not be for everyone, but can be beneficial for people needing hydration after high levels of strenuous exercise.
Concentrates make it simple to turn any drink into an electrolyte powerhouse. While we recommend avoiding using drinks with added ingredients, it’s easy to add concentrates to water and other liquids for a quick mix and effective electrolyte absorption.
- Hi-Lyte Zero Calorie Electrolyte Concentrate
This great all-around concentrate is vegan, non GMO, gluten-, calorie- and sugar-free. It’s made with all-natural ionic sea minerals, allowing the electrolytes to be absorbed more easily – four times the absorption rate of powders and tablets – but it does have a naturally salty, mineraly taste.
- LyteShow Electrolyte Drops
This liquid concentrate is made in the USA and is non GMO, vegan and gluten free. Depending on usage, each bottle lasts between 2-6 weeks and also contains immune boosting zinc along with magnesium, sodium, chloride and potassium.
Electrolyte drinks make it easy to grab and go when you need hydration replenishment. It’s as simple as twisting off the cap. The key here is avoiding drinks with unnecessary ingredients or high levels of sugar like in many sports drinks.
Made by the same company as Gatorade, Gatorlyte is formulated with 60% less sugar than the average sports drink with just 12g of sugar per drink and no artificial sweeteners or flavors.
Made with pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, Electrolit uses natural flavors with no preservatives to aid recovery and hydration. These drinks include calcium, potassium and magnesium with 18g of carbs and 18g of sugar per serving (2 servings per container).
Originally made for dehydration, Pedialyte became popular as a hangover recovery drink. It contains potassium, zinc and chloride minerals and between 5-9g of added sugar per serving (about 3 servings per container) depending on the variety.
If you find yourself without any store-bought electrolyte options, it’s simple enough to put together a mixture at home with some basic ingredients. With a quick mix of wholesome ingredients, you can make an entirely sugar-free or naturally sweetened option from products in your kitchen.
- 1/2 tsp sodium chloride (table/sea)
- 1 tsp potassium chloride (“NoSalt” brand is in most stores)
- 1 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
- Optional: 1/2 tsp magnesium sulfate (food grade epsom salt)
- 2 L water
- For natural flavor, add lemon or lime juice with a bit of raw honey for sweetening
While electrolyte drinks can be helpful in boosting hydration and regulating your body, they’re something to keep in mind as a tool rather than a consistent part of your daily routine or diet. They’re great in times of strenuous exercise and for athletes, when you have the flu or are hungover, but these minerals are also available through foods in your diet and most people can boost hydration by just drinking water.
Want more guidance to help you stay hydrated and on track during intermittent fasting? Our one-on-one coaches are educated and trained to help you understand your personalized needs and design a unique fasting practice to help you reach your metabolic fitness goals.