Which one is better? Sugar-Free Gatorade or Sugar-Free Coke?


Sugar-Free Gatorade or Sugar-Free Coke? Which one is better?

When we’re accustomed to enjoying sweet drinks, it’s hard to know what to drink now that sugar is no longer an option because of Type 2 Diabetes or prediabetes. 

Almost everyone who is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes has been told by their doctor to “watch their sugar.” Usually this means that we will next try to choose sugar-free drinks. I know that’s what I did when I was first diagnosed. Getting used to non-sweetened drinks took me a while.

Two of the most popular choices seem to be sugar-free Gatorade and sugar-free Coke.

Let’s look at these two drinks and what we need to know about them.

Which one is better? Let’s look at sugar-free Gatorade first: 

A 20 fluid ounce bottle of Gatorade Zero has:

5 calories

0 fats

270 mg of sodium

75 mg of potassium

1 g of carbs

0 sugars but sweetened with Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium

0 proteins

Gatorade is a  hydrating sports drink for people who engage in strenuous exercise. It replaces electrolytes that you may lose through sweat during exercise. Gatorade also can be helpful for people who may become dehydrated due to illnesses such as the flu or stomach virus.

While water can also be hydrating for people who are sick or doing strenuous exercise, you won’t enjoy a pretty color or pleasing flavor.

It’s easy to see why people would reach for a Gatorade Zero when wanting to have a refreshing drink with zero sugar.

According to some studies, the sugar-free sweeteners in Gatorade may increase blood glucose.

Regular consumption of Sucralose can lead to increased insulin resistance1. This is exactly what people with Type 2 Diabetes are trying to avoid.

Did you know that Acesulfame potassium is about 200 times sweeter than sugar? It can also raise blood glucose levels in rats2. There haven’t been any studies on humans yet.

Which one is better? Let’s look at sugar-free Coke next: 

A 20-ounce fluid bottle of Coke Zero OR Diet Coke has:

0 calories

0 fats

70 mg of sodium

90 mg of potassium

0 carbohydrates

0 sugars but sweetened with aspartame, acesulfame potassium

Zero proteins

53 mg of caffeine

Coke Zero and Diet Coke are for people who like soda and want a sugar-free alternative.

Did you know that caffeine can increase insulin resistance? This drives up glucose levels. It’s important to be aware of this if you have Type 2 diabetes and are looking for a sugar-free drink.

Coke Zero and Diet Coke have caffeine which many of us will need to limit or avoid. These beverages have no known health benefits.

You may have heard that gut bacteria are very important to our health. Probiotics have become very popular recently. Probiotics help provide your microbiome with good bacteria.

Aspartame is a popular sugar-free sweetener.

A recent study revealed that aspartame changes the gut bacteria of mice3. How does it change it? It’s changed in a way that can lead to insulin resistance. Consuming too much aspartame could have the same effect on humans.

See what we wrote about acesulfame potassium, in the section about Gatorade above.

When choosing between Gatoraid Zero and Coke Zero to see which one is better with your Type 2 diabetes in mind remember…

Coke Zero has caffeine and that’s not helpful for Type 2 diabetes.

Gatorade Zero has some helpful electrolytes and is caffeine-free.

It is made for people who need hydration and electrolytes. It replaces electrolytes lost through exertion. Unless you are replacing lost electrolytes, it’s not wise to drink them in excess.

As always, be mindful of overdoing anything.

Gatorade Zero may a solid choice for a day on the beach or going to a game with friends this summer. People with Type 2 diabetes will still want to think of this as an occasional beverage and not a habit.

However, keep in mind that the artificial sweeteners used in all of these drinks may impact your blood sugar negatively. Make sure that you track this with your blood sugar tracking meter or your continuous glucose monitor.

Are you interested in a brand of electrolytes that does not raise blood glucose levels?

We have found electrolytes are helpful for people with Type 2 diabetes who are doing Keto. They are also helpful when exercising out in the heat.

We drink this ourselves, and it has made a huge difference in our energy levels.



  1. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/108/3/431/5095502.
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2887500/.
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/22/18/9863.

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