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A Hangover and Workout Recovery Elixir?

We investigate whether electrolyte-packed drinks all they are cracked up to be.

When you think of Pedialyte, you probably think of kids or that terrible time you had food poisoning. And that’s not surprising considering it's been marketed that way. But all of that seems to be changing with everyone from hungover college kids to serious athletes guzzling down the beverage. 

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The New Gatorade? 

Aside from over-imbibers, some athletes have begun drinking Pedialyte to rehydrate post-workout. It does contain essential nutrients you need after a tough sweat session (like sodium, potassium and zinc). But there's a new product in town that's giving it a run for its money.

DripDrop, a powder you mix with water, contains just over 30 calories and 6 grams of sugar per cup, which is similar to Pedialyte. But it has 20 percent more sodium, which is what the manufacturers say sets it apart. The specific salt:sugar ratio helps your body better absorb the fluid, which can be helpful after an intense workout  (one that lasts at least one to two hours, per Marni Sumbal, M.S., R.D.)

In fact, in one study, DripDrop hydrated pro cyclists 34 percent better than plain water and 20 percent better than a sports drink. DripDrop was started by Eduardo Dolhun, M.D., who wanted to help combat deadly dehydration in developing countries. Now, it's used by the military, kids, and athletes alike. The kicker: It actually tastes pretty good, too. The lemon flavor tastes similar to a regular sports drink, per our informal Men's Fitness taste testers. 

“It does have sucralose (one ingredient in Splenda) but that is one of the safer of sugar substitutes. The electrolyte profile is good on this product so aside from the calories, this would be fine for individuals to use, especially athletes, due to the electrolytes,”  says Sumbal.

If you do want to try either product to rehydrate post-workout, consume one half to one full serving immediately afterwards, per Sumbal. 

Hangover Cure or Myth?

Yep, it's also somewhat of an urban legend that Pedialyte is an elixir of sorts when it comes to curing a hangover, although there is no evidence to back it up. 

But, that's not stopping a swarm of grownups from trying it anyway. According to MarketWatch, usage among adults has increased some has 60% since 2012. What's more, adults make up one third of Pedialyte’s sales. 

Sumbal doesn’t disagree that both Pediatlyte or DripDrop could help relieve hangover symptoms, but she also doesn’t necessarily recommend it: “Excessive alcohol intake can cause dehydration so this is where it could be useful, but I would still recommend a tablet like NUUN as a better source," she says. "It also has sugars and calories so it may give you a pick-me-up if you're feeling run down, so that may be why people like to use it. [It’s] kind of like a liquid energy shot with electrolytes."

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