Pedialyte and Gatorade are two of my pet peeves. The purpose of both of these drinks is to replenish electrolytes in the body. First off, does everyone know what electrolytes are and why we need them? The word electrolyte has become a term thrown around a lot in marketing but most people are unclear on what they actually are. In the human body, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, chloride, hydrogen phosphate, and hydrogen carbonate, or in other words they are minerals.
Minerals are very important for good health. Yes pedialyte and gatorade both contain (synthetic) “electrolytes” but they come along with a handful of unnecessary artificial ingredients, sweeteners, and colors – none of which are going to help you or your child recover from an illness, and could even cause other problems.
Unfortunately, pedialyte is the go-to product recommended by pediatricians for children who have a stomach virus or an illness that causes repeated vomiting to replenish lost minerals. The real truth is that it's possibly the worst option and there are far better choices that can be made easily with ingredients you likely already have at home.
Let's take a look at what is actually in this product. Here are the ingredients in Pedialyte Strawberry: Water, dextrose, citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, natural flavor, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, zinc gluconate, RED 40, BLUE 1
After water you'll see dextrose, a sweetener that is likely GMO, then you'll see the minerals, followed by natural flavor…
I have to stop and talk about natural flavor for a moment. Natural flavor seems pretty harmless when you read it but don't be fooled, it's not. Natural flavor can be a derivative of anything that was once part of a “natural” ingredient. It's the food companies way of throwing things in there without having to put them on the label. If you have ANY type of food allergy or sensitivity, avoid natural flavors, because you'll never know exactly what it contains.
After natural flavors you'll see sucralose which is Splenda, a toxic artificial sweetener, and lastly you'll see red 40 and blue 1, artificial colors that have been linked to behavioral problems in children. Yikes. Now you can see why this product bothers me.
All of the minerals in pedialyte and gatorade can be found in foods and there are plenty of ways to get them in without using these artificial products.
I've pulled together a list of healthy, natural, drinks that can be made easily at home to use as an electrolyte replacement drink. These are all great for illness recovery and also as a sports drink. They will help to re-hydrate the body in a pure and healthy way without any added artificial ingredients. Side note, if you are interested in learning more about helping your child feel better naturally, don't forget about my online course on natural remedies.
Here are some delicious and healthy recipes you can make at home:
Homemade Electrolyte Drink by Modern Alternative Mama
I love this recipe, I've made this on several occasions when my children were sick. I love that it also has lemon and honey which are super healing for any illness. Also, this one is another spin on this recipe that doesn't have the ginger, my kids are sensitive to the taste of ginger so I usually have to use it very sparingly.
Natural Pedialyte Alternative for Babies & Adults by Mama Natural
This recipe is only 2 ingredients which makes it really nice and simple. Coconut water has lots of natural minerals in it which makes it the perfect natural base for an electrolyte replacement drink.
Homemade Pedialyte and Freezer Pops by The Easy Homestead
This recipe has ingredients in it that most everyone will have in the house so there is no excuse not to make it.
Electrolyte Vanilla Cream Soda by Nourishing Simplicity
This one sounds delicious, we love the flavor of vanilla. Also, since this one uses stevia there is really no sugar in this at all. This is a great choice for anyone on a sugar-free or low-sugar diet.
All Natural Sports Drink by Lindsey Bentley
I love the idea of this one (have not tried it yet myself) because I love the product CALM and I use it daily myself. It's a great idea to incorporate some of this into a drink made to replenish minerals – whether for illness or for sports.
Tumeric-Lime Electrolyte Drink by Modern Alternative Mama
Turmeric has so many health benefits its great to get it in any way that you can. In this case, it also colors the drink to make it look a bit more like actual yellow gatorade too.