Gatorade v/s Electral (ORS) v/s Enerzal – which one should I drink?

Please be careful about the usage of the two. Gatorade/energy drink is for NORMAL recovery of body fluids & salts, like when spent doing sports. ELECTRAL (ORS) on the other hand is when extreme DEHYDRATION HAS ALREADY SET-IN, that is why it is called ORS – Oral Re-Hydration Salts. ELECTRAL is given if the person is still able to hydrate orally otherwise one has to administer a saline drip for recovery from dehydration. Usually this means after a severe & prolonged bout of diarrhea and/or vomiting.

Also be aware that one packet of Electral is to be dissolved in 1 litre of water for it to remain ISOTONIC and Gatorade in 500ml. Electral is basically an isotonic drink and NOT AN ENERGY drink. It has only about 25kcal energy (as sugars) compared to 126kcal in Gatorade.

I had both Electral (ORS) and Gatorade Sports Mix with me so here is a quick comparison. Also picked up values for Enerzal from the FDC website (the manufacturers of both Electral & Enerzal) You will see what I mean, when you realise the salts in Electral are almost 5 times that in Gatorade (taking a 500ml serving of each). Enerzal and Gatorade on the other hand are pretty comparable.

Gatorade Electral(ORS) Enerzal
Sodium Chloride 215mg 1300mg 450mg
Potassium Chloride NIL/??? 800mg 350mg
Sodium Citrate NIL 1450mg 650mg
Dextrose (Sugar) 32,400mg 6,750mg 32,050mg
Energy 126kcal ~ 26kcal 130kcal
Osmolarity 280-300 245 ??
Price/500ml Rs. 15 Rs. 7.50 ??

Imagine drinking 2-3 litres of Electral with that much sodium/salt during your marathon !! The total daily requirement for a normal adult person is only 2300-2500mg, if you drink 1 litre of Electral you would have already crossed your daily normal dose and you’re not done yet !

Bottom line, Enerzal may be a more suitable “desi” substitute and definitely the reason why FDC has launched it. It also has other trace minerals which Gatorade does not seem to have (or at least doesn’t put it on the label).

RunIndiaRun !


About Sandeep

Consultant, Mentor, Headhunter & Leadership Evangelist.

Posted on January 6, 2012, in Energy Gel, Extreme Running, Hydration, Mumbai Marathon and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 52 Comments.

  1. Superb comparison …. Thanks for this.

  2. Enerzal has various ingredients – potasium, magnesium, calcium – that Gatorade doesn’t have. When we sweat we lose these electrolytes/minerals, and therefore Enerzal serves as a much more comprehensive rehydration solution than Gatorade.

  3. Thanks Sandeep… the comparison table was very helpful.
    Clearly.. ingredient-wise, enerzal makes a healthier drink than gatorade!

  4. Great post! Two questions-
    1. How does Glucon-D compare/is it even in the same league?
    2. What form is Enerzal available in? Powder/Ready to drink?

    • Hi Ankur,

      Glad you liked the post. Let me try to answer your questions.

      1. Glucon-D has sugar (in the form of Dextrose Monohydrate), Calcium, Phosphorous and Vitamin D. It does not have any salts (Sodium or Potassium) which are essential for supplementing losses from sweating during sporting activities. Because it doesn’t have salts it is also not isotonic (to understand why this is important read my post So Glucon-D is NOT a substitute for Gatorade/Enerzal and would not be a good rehydration drink for a runner.

      Now here is the interesting thing. There is another drink by Heinz – Glucon-D Isotonik. This has the salts (Sodium & Potassium) besides the sugars and would like Enerzal/Gatorade make a good rehydration & energy drink for runners. I understand it is already available in India in some cities.

      2. As for availability of Enerzal, it is definitely available in a ready to drink form in a tetrapak. And if I recall correctly you can also buy it in powder form which you can mix with water.

      If you try out Glucon-D Isotonik or Enerzal please do post back with your feedback.


      • So , is glucon d totally useless ?
        I had almost a heatstroke 2 days ago and I had a glass of glucon d with 4 spoonfull of glucon d mixed in it. I went for an intense sprint session in humidity an” these empty streets and walls
        And here I am sitting in the silence
        Looking at my soul”d within 30 minutes I was having a heat flush !

      • Khilanand Joshi

        Hi Sandeep, I am very much confused with one question!!! Glucon D contains Glucose and glucose is the food for cancer cells. So in case of cancer patients, if they are unable to eat much food orally, then is it good to suggest them to drink Glucon D to maintain the energy level. If not then what is the alternative that should be given to Cancer patients to maintain energy level. Also is it good to give Saline to maintain energy level. As I believe Saline may also contain glucose and again here it creates a confusion if it contain glucose then how can we give it to cancer patients!!!

        Please help me to get this doubt clear!!!

        • I am not a doctor this question is better addressed to one. Saline solution is salt only (no energy here given only to restore electrolyte/water balance) and glucose solution (is only glucose & water). They are two different things. As I said consult a doctor.

  5. Sanjay Kumar Jindal

    What is the composition of our 500 ml of our body sweat?

    • Hi Sanjay,

      Sweat composition varies significantly from person to person. It may also vary based on fitness levels and will change as the activity progresses. Therefore it is difficult to answer this question. However one thing is quite certain that the only mineral which you lose significantly (a very high percentage of the amount stored in the body) during endurance activities leading to sweating is Sodium. And therefore this is the only mineral which needs to be replaced during the activity. Sodium is essential to keeping the nervous system functioning, low levels may lead to stroke like symptoms. Also sodium helps retain water in the body. Sodium also helps in absorbtion of glucose and that is why most energy drinks have sodium and glocuse (isotonic concentration).

      This is why you will see that Gatorade only has Sodium and no other salt. All the other potentially lost minerals like calcium, iron and potassium are stored in large quantities in the body and need not be immediately replaced.

      Hope this answers.


  6. Sanjay Jindal

    Thanks Sandeep,

    I wanna add. The sweat loss is required to be mainly replenished by salts. Glycogen store normally finishes at roughly 25-30 km mark. We need to intake dextrose (energy) as further fuel. There can not be one ideal mixture to address both the requirements (of salts and sugar) since our own requirements would be different under different climatic conditions. Even if you know your ideal mixture, how much should you drink; remains the question.

    Firstly, we have to estimate, how much energy and how much salts should we need during a particular activity; and have basic plan of drinks.

    Secondly, we have to understand our body, specially during activity, whether it is lacking salts, or over with salts, or lacking energy, or over with energy. If we have low salts, we may start feeling cramps in muscles; if we have high level of salts (and water), we may have swelling; if we have low energy, we may feel tired. Understanding these sysmptoms is very important (at the same time difficult) so that we can manage ourself with appropriate stuff during the activity. This can be learnt with experience only.

    Corrections or endorsements please.

    • Hi Sanjay,

      Apologies for reverting a little late. You are absolutely right – everyone will have a differing requirement for electrolyte and energy replacement during a race/run. Also different drinks/gels etc may not agree with everyones digestive system. Therefore it is very necessary to experiment with and use/reherse your electrolyte & energy replacement strategy severa times before your actual race. This is best done during your weekend long runs.

      In fact the same should be the case with the clothes, shoes and any other equipment that you intend to use during the race. Don’t introduce anything new to your race day.


      • Sanjay Jindal

        Thanks Sandeep ji,

        Could you let me know where from we can get GU energy gel on retail over the counter. Is there any other similar product available in Delhi?

        • Hi Sanjay,

          Not very sure about GU availability in Delhi. Rahul Verghese (RnL) sometimes keeps GU and other products. There is a GU distributer in Mumbai. If you post on the “Marathon Runners India” FB page you should be able to get their contact numbers, I am sure they will also have some outlets in Delhi.

          Accel Gel is also very good. Earlier it was available via Religare outlets, you can try them. Alternatively you can check with Smart Nutrition who are Accel distributors at phone 41640264 in Delhi or email at


  7. Sandeep

    Thanks for the wonderful comparision of all the three drinks. I have a 100 kms uphill ride next sunday and was wondering which one should i use. And this article helped me a lot. My vote for Enerzal.

  8. Should i use enerzal daily as i do colege nd i get damn tired out of daily work now m nt having my sports although i take it as a refreshment is it gud ,does it has ny sydefcts..plz answer

    • Enerzal, Gatorade, etc are all “sports” energy drinks. I don’t see any sense in drinking these just because you get tired going to college. These are all high sugar drinks which will simply be converted into fats if not burnt up during exercise. Better to look at your diet and increase and/or improve your food intake. Also consult a doctor if you have chronic fatigue issues.

  9. hi sir,
    is enerzal also good for children who lose energy due to vomiting or loose motions or other diseases?

    • No, energy drinks like enerzal are not medicines !! In any of the situations described by you above immediately consult a doctor and go by their advice. Ignorance and self medication are a dangerous combination.

  10. Thank you for the valuable information!
    For intense workout or sports Enerzal will make more sense than Electral. I used to go with electral first, now things are more clear.

  11. Hi sandeep,

    Thank you for the article. I would like to know if coconut water can be considered as an alternative to sports drink/gatorade/enerzal. It is available in powder form Looking to hydrate myself during 1 hr gym routine to prevent cramps.

    • Hi Rohit,

      You would only need electrolyte replacement for intense aerobic activity. I assume you are at the gym for weight training, in 1 hour of weight training you are unlikely to lose so much salt that you need replacement. I seriously doubt that this would be the reason for your cramps. Water should be sufficient. Having said that, most coconut water does not have any sodium and that is what you are trying to primarily replace (coconut water is a good source for potassium but not sodium). Check the shreejal sachet to see if it has any sodium listed. Alternatively you could simply use salted nimbu pani (lemon water) instead which will more than suffice for a strength training gym workout (not going in to recommendations on protein and carb intake as that would depend on what your strength training goals are).


  12. Hi,
    I ve started walking 6-7 kms, first thing in the morn (in 1 hr).
    What should I drink/ eat for breakfast? Dinner is a lil rice or I skip dinner .

    • Sorry, for the really really late reply :). If you skip dinner and go for a walk in the morning then it is good to have maybe some tea and biscuits before. However if you have had dinner and like most Indians eat a late one (after 8:30pm) and your walk is around 6=7am or so then you don’t really need to bother about eating anything much. Just have a glass of water and also carry a bottle along to hydrate during the walk (500ml of water during the hour long walk should have you covered).

  13. Hi .might be a silly question but can u tell me what happens if a “normal” person drinks ORS? I’m asking because I have some ORS drinks packs at home and I like the taste.when I feel exhausted after a tiring day or exercise what would happen if I drink ORS? Is it harmful/beneficial/ no effect?

    • There is just too much salt in ORS for a non-dehydrated person to consume. So I would really avoid an ORS. Even too much of enerzal and gatorade would be harmful if you have not sweated it out and lost salts during exercise.

  14. Is glucon d harmaful ? I had a heatstroke agter I went for a sprint session in humid climate after having 4 teaspoons of glucon d mixed in water ?:/

    • Glucon D is pure sugar and therefore provides quick release energy only. Its not really a re-hydrating agent (no salts) and not meant to cure extreme heat exhaustion. Firstly, advise not to run in the heat but if you are running when it is warmer a simple sweet and salted nimbu pani is a great option. Otherwise just mix a 2-3 tea spoons of sugar with a pinch of table salt in about 500 ml of water and you are ready to go. Make these in the night and chill them in the fridge overnight.

  15. Hi Sandeep…great article and comparison… just a quick question..for the hydration “build up” 1-2 days before a there any harm/wrong effects in having ORS instead of plain water ? ….I tried plain water but its gets boring want to try the ORS from Ranbaxy( orange flavoured)/Electral ….???

    • ORS is an overkill in terms of salt and plain water too is not recommended as you are going to be drinking more than the usual and this may lead to hyponatremia (low sodium in blood). Stick to a regular isotonic sport drink or make your own sweet and salted nimbu pani. You can also experiment with coconut water (and a bit of table salt since this only has potassium) or mix 2/3 sweetened juice with 1/3 water with a pinch of salt.

  16. Sir, I am trying to take up 100 days no Sugar challenge and will be running Hyderabad Marathon in august. Can you please suggest me what should I depend on for my long training run so that I can keep my No Sugar challenge alive as we prepare for Marathon

    • Why would you do a no sugar challenge? Simple carbohydrates are a runners best friend! Specially during a run. Anything else that you try for energy would also have sugars in some form or another (raisins, juices, etc). Please re-think this.

  17. DO you know where I can buy Electral (ORS) in the U.S.
    Dacades ago while climbing Everest I was worn out on third day of 18 day climb. Tried small amount of electral on 8 oz water and within 15 minutes my strength came back and for rest of climb felt fine with electral in 8 oz water once a day.

    Nedd to fine source for electral in U.S. or U.K if possible for quick buy.

  18. Hello sir
    I’m doing high intensity interval training for 20 MIN and than skipping and cycling cardio for 30 min more daily
    After that 30 min weight lifting
    Now a days im feeling very tired and dehydrated and little dizzyI got my bp checked-it is 88/60mm ha..which is quite low
    Do you think this is due to dehydration
    For your information I’m not new to exercise,I’m doing exercise Since 2 yrs daily and had lost 30 kg extra weight in 1 yr by exercise and healthy life dieting
    And daily I’m drinking 6-7 litres water

    Should I opt for ors salts during workout to cope up with dehydration

    • First best to consult with a doctor on this. Usually dehydration would result in elevated BP (denser the blood the more the heart has to work to pump blood). I too have low BP (usually hovers around 100-90/60-50. Some suggestions – You should re-look at your diet, I think the weight loss (congrats on that 30kg loss!) coupled with the intense exercise is the problem. 6-7 litres of water is a huge overkill and even dangerous (this is probably contributing to your low BP). Strongly recommend you stick with a “thirst basis” unless you are exercising. Add a pinch of salt and sugar to your water to avoid hyponatremia. I would do a simple electrolyte blood test (any lab will do it), I suspect you may have low sodium levels. Again, consult a doctor.

      • Unnati Dixit

        Thanks alot sir..
        I was not expecting your reply so soon…thanks alot..that’s really appreciating
        Sir yesterday I got my blood test report
        Yet to do electrolyte test
        But today again my blood pressure is low -88/60mm hg in morning
        Yesterday evening it become little normal 110/70 mm hg as I drink two ors packets for electrolyte gains..

        I’m experiencing little tightness in my chest and feeling weak..
        I will see cardiologist today..but my ecg was normal 4 months back…
        I hope their is no heart problem

  19. Hi Mr Sandeep

    My son Dev Javia is 14 year boy and playing intense tennis. He play tennis for 4-5 hrs and 1-2 hrs fitness 6 days a week.
    He consume Electral powder 2-3 pouch on daily basis.

    Some people say Electral salts absorption time is more than Gatorade or sports drinks.

    But I feel if absorption time is more than we should start consuming little early.

    Also let me know homemade sugar+salt+lemon do the same job as Electral/Gatorade?

    • I am not a doctor or a medical expert however 2-3 pouches of Electral is an INSANE amount of SALT to consume irrespective of how much time you are playing in a day or week. Your son needs protein and carbohydrates more than salts. I would stock to Gatorade or Enerzal during the 4-5 hrs of play and replenish with a protein/carb drink before and after. Skimmed or toned milk smoothie with fruits & chocolate powder should suffice besides a regular healthy diet. If your son is a serious sportsperson I would suggest that you consult with a sports dietitian who would be able to determine his exact dietary needs.

  20. During heavy workout in gym or running like activities enerazal is best solution?is enerzal isotonic?

  21. Mohd Baquar Abbas

    Hi Sir,
    I liked your post and appreciate that you have shared a part of your knowledge for the assistance of people. I have a query…
    I am 27yrs of age weighing 67kg, height 5.7ft and body fat 20%.
    I do light weight training of 45min and cardio for 20 min in the eve. I am on a fat loss program where I take 60 to 80gm of protein with 120gm of carb with low sugar and salt. Nowadays I am feeling very weak, as I have checked my BP before and after breakfast it was 101/54 and 110/60 with a pulse rate 48pm. So is this because I am sweating and I am on low salt and sugar.? What should I do?
    I am really getting worried about it. How can I maintain my BP normal as I love to do exercise but because of dullness I have left the gym and have stucked to morning walk and stretching only.

    • Not sure if this is still relevant since I am really late replying. I don’t see anything wrong with your BP numbers but do consult a doctor if you’re anxious about this. The 48 resting HR is because of the exercise and is actually a good sign. The tiredness maybe a result of over exercising. Take an alternate day off and after every 6 weeks take a full week off.

  22. Hi Sandeep,
    When using Enerzal during long runs I have experienced a gas buildup soon after I take a sip. My guess is that I am not able to digest the salts soon enough. The first sip isn’t too bad but with every increasing sip the buildup increases causing discomfort till it is released. This breaks my breath rhythm too. Is their any other alternative to Enerzal? How about salt-sugar mixture or glucose tablets?

    • Sorry just seeing these comments. The gas is more likely due to the sugars rather than the salts in Enerzal. You can try a salt only drink or just mix some salt in water with some lemon for flavour for shorter runs. For the longer runs can use raisins or try and mix honey instead of sugar in salted nimbu pani. What are you eating before your run? Try to eat at least 90 minutes before your long run.

  23. So glad to see an article and comments that set the record straight. I’ve been recommending Enerzal rather than Gatorade to everyone I meet for years (they should pay me for the free marketing!), because it’s obviously a more wholesome product. Gatorade, is just another well-marketed product that looks cool and fashionable to sport – that in itself should be a warning sign. Enerzal is a medicated/pharmaceutical product that’s subject to more stringent regulations, whereas Gatorade is just another commercial sports drink.
    I should also point out that the Electral tetra pack is the only World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended ORS in tetra pack.

    • Shaun, actually label wise Enerzal does look better but if you read further down (in the comments I’ve made) you’ll see that most other elements lost in sweat (potassium, calcium, etc) except sodium do not need immediate replacement, so Gatorade will also do the job. But Enerzal is a very good home grown solution. I wouldn’t recommend Electral to runners at all unless they become severely dehydrated and start showing signals like confusion, dizziness, slurring, vomiting, etc. (very similar to stroke symptoms).

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