Can Kids Drink Propel Water?


Propel is a tasty water drink with electrolytes. The first type had sugar, but in 2011, they made Propel Zero, which has no calories. Parents might think about whether it’s okay for their kids to have Propel. Some families and sports teams give it to kids during workouts. Before you buy some, think about these important things about giving Propel to kids.

What is Propel?

Propel Water is a sports drink made by the Gatorade Company, owned by PepsiCo, to help active people replenish electrolytes. It comes in liquid and powder forms, with an additional line for immune support and an unflavored version available exclusively online. Although the ingredients are mostly similar across the forms, both contain processed additives like sodium hexametaphosphate, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium EDTA, Acesulfame Potassium, and Sucralose. These ingredients are not natural and are made in a lab, so they’re not considered real food.

propel water


Propel Water Ingredients

Propel Water has many ingredients, some of which are processed or chemical. Check the label to see if it’s right for you and your kids. Also, be cautious of any possible side effects from this type of drink.

Potassium Sorbate

The label says Potassium Sorbate is used to keep the product fresh. The FDA considers it safe, and it doesn’t build up in your body. But the European Food Safety Authority has strict limits on how much you can have daily. Some people might have allergic reactions, especially on their skin or scalp. There’s also concern that it could be mixed with harmful substances like lead, mercury, or arsenic.

Sodium Hexametaphosphate

The Propel Water label says they add sodium hexametaphosphate to keep the flavor. While small amounts seem safe, there are strict rules on how much can be used in food, possibly due to concerns about pancreatic cancer risk from large amounts. More research is needed, but it’s something to think about. Studies also link sodium hexametaphosphate to allergic reactions, headaches, larger kidneys, bone issues, and other health worries.

Acesulfame Potassium

Acesulfame potassium, also known as Acesulfame K, is an artificial sweetener much sweeter than sugar but with a bitter aftertaste, leading manufacturers to often combine it with other artificial sweeteners like Aspartame or Sucralose. It offers no nutritional value as the body absorbs and excretes it unchanged. While the FDA allows it as a food additive in small amounts, there’s controversy due to inconclusive studies, including concerns about cancer risk from its component, methylene chloride. Further research is recommended to fully understand its potential health effects.


Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that the body can’t break down. While the FDA approves it, there are concerns about its health effects, leading many health-conscious people to avoid it. It’s much sweeter than sugar, so you need less of it, but long-term use may lead to toxicity, inflammation, obesity, and diabetes. Sucralose can also harm good gut bacteria, affecting digestion. If you choose to consume it, do so in moderation and avoid long-term use to prevent health problems.

Calcium Disodium EDTA

Calcium Disodium EDTA is added to food to preserve flavor, made by combining sodium cyanide, formaldehyde, and ethylene diamine. In medicine, it’s used as a chelating agent to remove heavy metals from the body, treating lead poisoning. However, it can remove needed metals too. It interacts with medications like steroids, certain antibiotics, blood thinners, and insulin with zinc, and can cause digestive issues, headaches, and low blood sugar. Long-term use may lead to toxicity and kidney damage, so those with kidney issues should avoid it.

Nutritional Benefits

Propel Water is a healthy option with no added sugar, trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, or calories, and it’s free of caffeine, gluten, dairy, and major allergens. Choosing electrolyte drinks like Propel over sugary sodas might lower the risk of heart disease and help control blood sugar levels. It contains nutrients like potassium, vitamins C, E, and B, and helps replace water, potassium, and sodium lost during intense physical activity.

While it’s useful for restoring electrolyte balance, you can also make your own electrolyte water at home with tap water without any chemicals. Alternatively, coconut water, with no sugar and essential electrolytes like potassium, is a caffeine-free sports drink and might be the healthiest option among energy drinks.

Nutritional Drawbacks

While Propel Water helps replenish lost electrolytes from sweating, it’s important to consider its other ingredients. Some health-conscious individuals may prefer to avoid Propel due to its controversial additives. Additionally, the plastic packaging, though recyclable, contributes to carbon emissions, and not everyone recycles. Furthermore, excessive consumption of vitamin B in Propel Water can lead to negative reactions for some individuals. Moreover, those with kidney disease should exercise caution with beverages containing potassium, such as certain vitamin waters.

Benefits of Propel for Kids

Since 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised against kids regularly drinking sports drinks due to their high calorie content compared to water. With Propel Zero’s calorie-free formula, there’s no worry about extra calories, even if your child drinks it outside of exercise. Propel Zero’s sweet taste, thanks to sucralose, can also encourage water intake without adding empty calories. Sucralose has been tested and approved as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Side Effects of Propel for Kids

Some experts caution that sucralose, found in Propel Zero, might cause health issues like migraines or upset stomachs. If you’re considering it as a sports drink, note that Propel Zero has no calories, which might not be ideal for kids or adults in intense exercise needing energy. While Propel doesn’t cause diarrhea, it’s not recommended for rehydrating a sick child with vomiting or diarrhea, as experts advise fluids with sugar instead.

Replace Lost Fluids for Active Kids

Sweating happens when your body uses energy and releases fluids and electrolytes. When you exercise a lot, like elite athletes do, you lose a bunch of sodium and potassium through sweat. Doing tough workouts for a long time uses up your body’s energy, water, and electrolytes. So, it’s important to replenish them by drinking water, eating food for energy, and getting salts back into your body. Propel is one choice toddlers can drink to help replace water and salts while they’re active.

Can babies have Propel?

It’s unlikely to cause harm, but think about why you’d choose it as a drink. A baby’s taste buds aren’t fully developed, so they might not appreciate it like adults do. For experts, sticking to simpler options is better.

Determine if Your Kids Can Safely Drink Propel

Parents, before deciding whether Propel is right for your kids, consider the ingredients and potential side effects outlined above. Think about the balance between its benefits in replenishing electrolytes and the risks associated with its additives. Make informed choices about hydration options for your active children, ensuring their health and well-being come first.

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