Staying hydrated is crucial for our health and wellbeing. Proper hydration helps transport nutrients, remove waste, lubricate joints, and regulate body temperature. But when we sweat heavily from exercise, illness, or high heat and humidity, we lose electrolytes like sodium and potassium.
Drinking plain water cannot replace these lost electrolytes, which is why sports drinks and electrolyte solutions have become popular options.
Two of the most well-known electrolyte drink mix brands are Nuun and Pedialyte. But what’s the difference between them, and which one is better?
This comprehensive guide compares Nuun and Pedialyte drink mixes to help you decide which electrolyte product may work best for your hydration needs.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Athletic performance, general hydration
|Dehydration relief, oral rehydration
|Powder packs or tubs
|Sodium, potassium, chloride
|Zinc, magnesium (some)
|1g per tablet
|9-10g per serving
|5-15 per tablet
|45-50 per serving
|Many fruity, citrus, etc
|Fewer fruity & neutral
As you can see, there are quite a few differences between Nuun and Pedialyte when it comes to their ingredients, uses, flavors, and costs. Let’s explore these differences in more detail.
Key Differences Between Nuun And Pedialyte Electrolyte Drink Mix
- Intended Uses
Nuun is marketed for athletic performance and active lifestyles.
The tablets provide electrolytes to restore what’s lost in sweat without a lot of carbs or calories.
Nuun even has Immunity and Energy blends with extra vitamins or caffeine.
Pedialyte drink mixes are designed for dehydration relief when you have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, exercise losses, or hangovers. Pedialyte has more sodium and sugars to help absorb and retain fluids better than water alone can.
So while both can technically be used interchangeably, Nuun is better suited for everyday athletic hydration needs while Pedialyte is ideal for replacing fluids lost from illness or severe dehydration.
Nuun comes in portable tubes of effervescent tablets that you drop into your water bottle. They fizz and dissolve to provide electrolytes and flavor. This allows you to customize your dosage and drinking experience.
Pedialyte only comes in powder form in single-use stick packs or resealable tubs. You tear and pour the powder into water and mix. The powders fully dissolve without fizzing. So Pedialyte offers less customization but more convenience if you want grab-and-go electrolyte drinks.
- Electrolyte Content
Both Nuun and Pedialyte contain sodium and potassium, which are the two most critical electrolytes we lose in sweat and illness.
Nuun has 360-420mg sodium and 98-100mg potassium per tablet.
It also provides 25% DV magnesium and 13-15% DV calcium.
Pedialyte has 500-700mg sodium, 300-500mg potassium, 250-500mg chloride, and sometimes 10% DV zinc and magnesium. Pedialyte sticks to just the major electrolytes needed for rehydration.
So Pedialyte has higher levels of the biggest electrolytes lost – sodium and potassium. Nuun provides smaller amounts of additional electrolytes like magnesium and calcium.
- Carbs and Sugars
Here’s a big difference between the two drink mixes. Nuun tablets contain 1g sugar and no carbs or calories beyond that.
Pedialyte powders have 9-10g of sugar per serving from added dextrose and sucrose along with about 45 calories. The carbs and sugars help absorption of sodium and water in the intestine when you’re dehydrated.
If you want an electrolyte boost without extra carbs or sweetness, Nuun is the better choice. Pedialyte’s sugars make it more palatable and effective for illness recovery.
Some Nuun products contain caffeine from green tea or coffeeberry extracts. Their Immunity, Energy, and Endurance blends have about 40-50mg caffeine per tablet. This makes Nuun a good electrolyte drink option for workouts.
Pedialyte does not contain any added caffeine. It aims to provide hydration support without stimulation for recovery.
Nuun comes in a wide variety of fruit flavors like lemon-lime, strawberry, fruit punch, cherry, and orange.
They also offer some unique flavors like tri-berry, citrus fruit, and tropical.
The fizziness provides added flavor.
Pedialyte sticks to just a handful of straightforward flavors like grape, lemon-lime, strawberry, and unflavored.
The powders mix to a thin, watery consistency without carbonation.
If you enjoy bolder, carbonated flavors, Nuun has a much wider range of options to choose from. For a neutral electrolyte drink, Pedialyte’s flavor selection gets the job done.
Nuun is a pricier electrolyte option. A tube of 10-20 tablets typically costs $6-12. Pedialyte powder packs are much more budget-friendly at $0.10-0.20 per serving if bought in bulk.
Nuun costs more upfront. But the tablets last longer than individual Pedialyte powder packs. So you may get more value from Nuun tablets in the long run. Still, Pedialyte is the cheaper choice per serving.
When To Choose Nuun Or Pedialyte Electrolyte Drink Mix
Now that we’ve compared the key differences between Nuun and Pedialyte electrolyte drink mixes, when should you choose one over the other?
- Lower in sugar and carbs
- More flavor choices
- Contains additional electrolytes
- Provides caffeine options
- Customizable dosage & carbonation
Nuun is ideal for:
- Everyday hydration needs
- Boosting workouts
- Active lifestyles
- Low sugar/carb nutrition plans
- Enhancing plain water
- Higher in sodium & potassium
- More affordable per serving
- Convenient powder packs
- Suitable for all ages
- Clinically proven for dehydration
Pedialyte is ideal for:
- Severe dehydration from illness
- Recovery from diarrhea or vomiting
- Exercise electrolyte losses
- Heat exhaustion or heat stroke
- Oral rehydration needs
For moderate exercise hydration, Nuun provides customizable electrolyte supplementation without the calories and sugars.
Pedialyte is unmatched for quickly replacing fluids and electrolytes lost from illness or acute dehydration.
How To Use Nuun And Pedialyte Electrolyte Drink Mix?
Both Nuun and Pedialyte are easy to use. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to preparing each:
- Fill water bottle with 16-20 oz cold water
- Remove 1 Nuun tablet from tube
- Drop tablet into water bottle
- Wait until fully dissolved and fizzed (about 1-2 minutes)
- Enjoy flavored electrolyte drink
Adjust the number of tablets to taste preference and hydration needs. Most people use 1-2 tablets per 16-24oz bottle. Nuun can be enjoyed on its own or added to plain water for flavor and electrolytes.
- Empty 1 Pedialyte powder pack into 8oz water
- Stir or shake until fully dissolved
- Drink entire serving
- Repeat as needed for dehydration severity
For mild dehydration, Pedialyte directions say to drink 2 powder packs per hour. Severe dehydration requires drinking 4 packs per hour. The powder fully dissolves in water with a thin, drinkable texture.
Flavor regular water with Pedialyte powder or consume it straight for fastest relief. Follow package instructions for reconstituting tubs of Pedialyte powder.
Which Electrolyte Drink Mix Should You Choose?
When choosing an electrolyte drink mix, consider your specific hydration needs:
For athletic performance and daily hydration – Nuun:
- Restores electrolytes lost in sweat
- Low sugar and carbs
- Fun flavors and fizz
For dehydration illness relief – Pedialyte:
- Clinically formulated to replenish fluids
- Higher sodium and potassium
- Fast intestinal absorption
For moderate exercise support – Either:
Both can provide hydration before, during, or after workouts. Nuun offers more customization and flavors while Pedialyte has higher electrolyte levels.
Nuun and Pedialyte can be interchanged depending on your preferences and needs. But Nuun is best for everyday activity while Pedialyte is ideal for acute dehydration relief.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Nuun is better than Gatorade for most athletic hydration needs, as it contains lower sugar, fewer calories, and more electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Yes, Pedialyte contains higher levels of sodium and potassium, which makes it more effective at treating and preventing dehydration compared to sports drinks and other electrolyte beverages.
Key differences include: Nuun has more sodium and magnesium while Ultima has more potassium. Nuun offers more flavors and ingredients like caffeine while Ultima just focuses on electrolytes. Ultima is also more expensive per tablet than Nuun.
The best electrolyte drink depends on your specific needs. For exercise hydration, Nuun is a top choice. To treat illness-related dehydration, Pedialyte is clinically proven most effective. Products like Ultima, LMNT, and Normalyte also provide quality electrolyte sources.
The Bottom Line
Proper hydration is vital for health, especially when illness or exercise leaves you dehydrated. Nuun and Pedialyte both provide electrolyte replacement but are suited for different uses.
Nuun is the preferred choice for athletic and daily hydration needs. It has lower sugar and a variety of flavors thanks to its effervescent tablet form. Pedialyte’s higher sodium, potassium, simple flavors and powder format make it ideal for rapid dehydration relief.
While they are interchangeable in a pinch, Nuun and Pedialyte excel in their specific functions. Keep Nuun tablets on hand for workouts and Pedialyte powder packs available when illness strikes.
With this dynamic electrolyte duo, you can stay optimally hydrated in any situation.