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Is Drinking Pedialyte the Best Way to Stay Hydrated in the Summer Sun?

by Barbara Minton
See all TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton

(The Best Years in Life) It doesn’t take much to get dehydrated during outdoor activities in the summer sunshine, so it’s a good idea to be prepared. This season marketers are pushing adults to rehydrate with Pedialyte, an old favorite with conventional pediatricians. But is Pedialyte really the best choice for adult rehydration, and should kids be drinking it?

The human body is about two thirds water, so it’s easy to see that maintaining this level is basic for optimal body functioning. Dehydration occurs when the amount of water in the body drops below this level. At first it may not be a big problem, but as the water level in the body continues to drop because a person is perspiring, symptoms will develop saying it’s time to stop and rehydrate.

What are those symptoms? Although thirst can ultimately be a symptom of dehydration, a person can become quite dehydrated before this part of the autonomic response kicks in. More immediate symptoms include

  • Feeling tired

  • Feeling weak

  • Lightheadedness

  • Producing urine that’s darker in color than usual

The very old and the very young are especially susceptible to dehydration, and special care must be taken with them. However anyone who is feeling symptoms should take measures to rehydrate right away.

So is drinking Pedialyte the best way to rehydrate? As is the case with almost everything sold at a drug store, the answer is probably no, and that goes for kids as well as adults.

The best place to start rehydrating is by drinking water, but don’t belt it down. In the water you have lost by perspiring are electrolytes, critical minerals that sponsor important chemical reactions in the body. Their loss is what causes weakness and lightheadedness in a person who is dehydrated, and they must be restored. If just water is consumed without restoring electrolytes, headache, muscle cramps, and fatigue are likely to be the result.


Food is the best source of electrolytes, the main ones of which are potassium and sodium. For the best results, choose fruits and vegetables as they have high water content along with needed minerals and are easy to digest. Several years ago a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that the combination of water and food was more effective at rehydrating than simply consuming a sports drink which contained similar active ingredients as Pedialyte.

Be sure to consume enough to get fully rehydrated, meaning more than the water you lost through perspiration. This will make up for the water you lose from routine urination.

If no fruits and vegetables are handy, grab the nearest bag of barbequed potato chips (hopefully organic), and a bottle of water. The potato is the food most richest in potassium, chips have plenty of salt, and there a bit of sugar in the barbecue spices to help get back energy.

If you are dehydrated, alcohol and caffeine are two really bad ideas, because they have a diuretic effect.

What about Pedialyte? Although it can’t hold a candle to real food and water for rehydration, if you can find a bottle of the unflavored variety, it is undoubtedly better than consuming a sports drink like Gatorade. This version of Pedialyte contains only water, dextrose, citric acid and a small amount of electrolytes.

Compare it to Gatorade, which contains in addition to the usual ingredients, brominated vegetable oil (GMO), high fructose corn syrup (GMO), two kinds of fake sugar (both as bad as aspartame or worse), artificial colors, and glycerol ester of wood rosin.

How does the Pedialyte peddled for kids stack up? In addition to the ingredients in the unflavored version, Strawberry Pedialyte includes the same two fake sugars as in Gatorade (sucralose and acesulfame K), artificial flavors, and the two most toxic of all the food dyes, Red 40 and Blue 1. The other variations marketed to kids are quite similar.

Isn’t it irksome when manufacturers prey on innocent kids and their parents!

See also:

Avoiding and Treating Dehydration During the Dog Days of Summer (Includes the recipe for a healthy homemade rehydrating sports drink)

For more information:

About the Author:

Barbara is a school psychologist and the author of Dividend Capture, a book on personal finance. She is a breast cancer survivor using bioidentical hormone therapy, and a passionate advocate of natural health with hundreds of articles on many aspects of health and wellness. She is the editor and publisher of AlignLife's Health Secrets Newsletter.

See other articles by the Barbara Minton here:

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