Can I get the same hydration if I mix water with Kool-Aid?

Neal Spruce
Neal Spruce on behalf of dotFIT
The quick answer is yes because the vast majority of the mixture would be water and the small amount of Kool-Aid (KA) mix would be fairly insignificant assuming you’re not mixing it in all fluids throughout the day. Even then, water is water and you would still be hydrating from the water in the KA, but the sugar content may lead you to urinate more often, meaning you might need a little more overall fluid intake to stay hydrated. Fluid requirements for healthy sedentary adults living in temperate climates are as follows: Men 125 oz (~3qts) of water per day from all dietary sources; Women 91 oz (~2qts) of water per day from all dietary sources. About 20% of your fluid requirements will come from foods you eat. Below are the guidelines for athletes and exercisers:

Pre-exercise Guidelines
  • Drink approximately 16 to 24 ounces of fluid two hours before activity.
  • On warm or humid days, drink an additional eight to 16 ounces 30 to 60 minutes before activity.
  • Water is adequate for activities less than an hour as long as meals are consumed regularly.
  • For endurance events, training sessions longer than 60 minutes, or multiple practices a day, choose a sport drink containing four to eight percent carbohydrate (e.g. Gatorade).
During Exercise
  • Depending on your sport, consume three to six fluid ounces of water or sports drink every 15 minutes.  This equates to approximately 32 ounces per hour.
  • For prolonged exercise greater than 60 minutes, choose a sports drink with small amounts of electrolytes.
Post-exercise Guidelines
  • Immediately following activity, drink at least 16 to 20 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight lost to ensure proper rehydration.
  • A liquid shake with high carbohydrate content, minimal protein and fat can refuel energy stores and maximize recovery after demanding training bouts. Consume this as soon as possible after workouts or events. The dotFIT FirstString™ Powder meets the NCAA guidelines and is ideal for youth and college athletes.
  • Drink an additional 16 ounces with your post workout meal. This meal should be consumed within two hours after activity.
  • Weigh yourself each morning.  A fairly stable weight generally indicates proper fluid balance.

Kool-Aid mixed with water is not the same as plain water or a beverage such as Gatorade or Powerade. Kool-Aid is high in sugar or contains artificial sweetener and has little to no nutritional value. Plain water is better than Kool-Aid because it does not contain any sugar and is easy for the body to use. Water is sufficient for hydration unless you are participating in an activity that lasts longer than one hour. It that case, a beverage like Gatorade or Powerade is better as these contain electrolytes and carbohydrates to replenish your fuel stores (glycogen). Experiment with what works best for you. Some individuals experience gastrointestinal upset from Gatorade or Powerade type beverages. It may be necessary to dilute these drinks with water until your body adjusts to them. Once you become accustomed to hydrating and rehydrating with these types of beverages, you should not need to dilute them. Remember, it is not necessary to consume a beverage other than water if your activity is less than one hour. These beverages are not usually calorie-free, and should not be consumed unnecessarily.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.