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Is Propel Water Good for You?

7 min read
tree bottles of propel water on purple background, is propel water good for you
Sarah Jackson Damuth post Reviewer Sarah Jackson Damuth post Reviewer
MS, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified LEAP Therapist

Table of Contents

Propel water is a flavored water beverage that is marketed as a healthy sports drink; it is produced by Gatorade, the PepsiCo-owned brand. Propel contains zero calories and is often used by people who want to stay hydrated during exercise while avoiding the sugar and calories found in other drinks. 

In this article, we will examine the health benefits and risks of Propel to help you determine whether it is good for you.

Propel Water Nutrition Facts

Propel water is a sugar-free flavored water that is enhanced with vitamins and electrolytes to provide hydration to the body. 

The beverage is also gluten-free, caffeine-free, and dairy-free. [20]

Electrolytes are minerals that are important for maintaining fluid balance in our body, and they play a vital role in regulating many bodily functions. These minerals are responsible for playing an important role in various chemical reactions in the body, some of which help to maintain the correct fluid balance in and outside of our cells. [2]

Additionally, electrolytes can help to regulate muscle function, reduce muscle cramps, and improve overall recovery time. [3] [4]

Propel Water contains a blend of electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. These minerals help to replace the electrolytes lost during vigorous exercise, helping to prevent dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and muscle cramps. 

One bottle of Propel typically contains 0 calories and 0 grams of sugar. 

It also contains the following nutrients:

  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 
  • Vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol) 
  • Potassium (as Potassium Citrate) 
  • Sodium (as Sodium Citrate)

Compared to other similar beverages, Propel water’s nutritional value is low. For example, Gatorade contains 50 calories and 14 grams of sugar per bottle.

Propel also has an immune support line, Propel Immune Support, that provides 3.6 times more vitamin C and additionally contains 3.3mg of zinc per bottle.

Other, most controversial ingredients of Propel, are artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners give Propel its signature taste, but they may not be suitable for everyone. We’ll cover this later in the article.

Is Propel Water Good for You? Benefits of Propel Water

Propel water claims to offer several health benefits, including, of course, hydration, electrolyte replenishment, and vitamin supplementation. 

As mentioned above, electrolytes are essential for hydration and help regulate fluid balance in the body. Propel water contains a small number of electrolytes, which can help replace those lost during physical activity.

In addition to this, Propel water is also fortified with vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and B vitamins, which can help boost your immune system, improve mental function, and help prevent chronic diseases.

Another important benefit is that Propel is a zero-calorie drink, and you won’t consume excessive calories like when you drink soda or fruit juices.

Possible Side Effects and Risks of Propel Water

The main risk of drinking Propel water is the artificial sweeteners it contains. 

Propel contains two artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame potassium, both of which are considered safe by the FDA. [5] [6]

However, even though the FDA does not have adequate evidence of the health risks of these ingredients, it doesn’t mean there are no risks. For example, sucralose is associated with increased blood glucose and insulin levels [7]. In turn, research on acesulfame potassium indicates a link with cancer, hormone imbalance, and brain function changes; however, the studies were conducted mostly in mice. [8] [9] 

In addition to this, a 2023 study found that newborns from mothers who consumed a large amount of sucralose during pregnancy showed signs of metabolic disruption, low-grade inflammation and were predisposed to weight gain [10]

The American Cancer Society also states that there is no clear evidence that approved artificial sweeteners cause cancer. [11] However, The National Cancer Institute refers to a study that shows that people who consumed acesulfame potassium had a slightly higher risk of cancer (1.13 times, exactly). [12]

So, should you avoid these sweeteners? It depends. They are safe as long as you don’t exceed the recommended safe amount of artificial sweeteners, which is as follows:

  • 15 milligrams per kilogram of your body weight for acesulfame potassium [13]
  • 5 milligrams per kilogram of your body weight for sucralose [14]

You can also experience some individual reactions or sensitivities to artificial sweeteners like:

  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Cramping

If you drink too much Propel Water, you can also experience flushing associated with vitamin B6.

Preservatives & Additives

Propel Water also contains a couple of common additives. All of them are considered safe in acceptable doses.

Let’s take a closer look at them:

  • Sodium hexametaphosphate is an additive used for thickening and emulsifying products. It’s allowed in both the United States and the European Union and is considered safe; FDA approved. [15]
  • Potassium sorbate is a preservative that prolongs the shelf-life of foods. In 2015, the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) reviewed potassium sorbate and two other food additives and established an acceptable daily intake of 3 mg per kg of body weight per day. [16]
  • Calcium disodium EDTA is also a preservative and flavoring agent that is safe for most individuals. High doses of it might cause digestive distress, but it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to get such an amount from food. The acceptable amount for the preservative is 0.9 mg per pound (1.9 mg per kg), while most people consume only 0.1 mg per pound (0.23 mg per kg).

Is it Okay to Drink Propel Instead of Water?

While Propel water can be a good alternative to sugary sports drinks or sodas, it should not be used as a substitute for water.

First, you don’t want all your daily drinks to contain artificial sweeteners, right? Second, you can actually drink too much Propel and get an unhealthy amount of sodium, which is associated with high blood pressure and lower immune system function [17] [18] [19]

By the way, if you want those electrolytes, try coconut water as a substitute for sports drinks as it maintains hydration with the same efficacy. [20]

When Should I Drink Propel Water?

Propel water is best consumed during or after physical activity to rehydrate and replace lost electrolytes through sweat. Electrolyte replenishment is crucial during prolonged high-intensity activity lasting over an hour or in situations where excessive sweating occurs, such as in hot temperatures. 

For the most part, after exercise sessions, electrolytes can be replenished with just water and a balanced snack, so even though Propel is a good option, it’s not irreplaceable. [21]

It can also be used as a substitute for sugary sports drinks and sodas. However, it is important to make sure you are getting enough water throughout the day to stay adequately hydrated.

Also, there are other situations when you can lose electrolytes and be at risk of electrolyte imbalance. It can happen after prolonged periods of diarrhea, from foodborne illness or laxative abuse. In these cases, you can drink a serving of Propel to balance electrolytes quickly.

How Much Propel is Safe to Drink?

While Propel water is generally safe to consume in moderation, it is important to be mindful of the amount of artificial sweeteners you ingest. The side effects and risks of consuming artificial sugars may lead you to stick with water.

One serving or one bottle of Propel water is generally considered safe, but again, tolerance to artificial sugars should be determined individually.

Wrapping Up

Propel water is a good alternative to sugary sports drinks and sodas. However, it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for water. It contains several vitamins and electrolytes that are essential for hydration and athletic performance but can also have side effects if consumed in excessive amounts.

Based on the evidence and research presented in this article, the answer to the question, “Is Propel water good for you?” is that it can be beneficial when consumed in moderation. The key takeaway is to stay hydrated by drinking enough water each day and using Propel water as a supplement when needed.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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