BodyArmor is marketed as a healthier, more “natural” sports drink. Their commericals brag, “Thanks Gatorade. We’ll take it from here.” But if you’re a skeptical consumer like me, you might be asking: How much better is BodyArmor, really? Is it actually healthy?
BodyArmor is a sports drink containing healthy electrolytes, coconut water, B vitamins, and no artificial colors or sweeteners. However, it still has the same amount of added sugar as Gatorade. For a healthier option, choose BodyArmor Lyte, which only has 2 grams of sugar per serving.
Below, I’ll analyze the ingredients of BodyArmor and BodyArmor Lyte. I’ll break down whether these drinks are good for hydration and weight loss. And I’ll compare them to Gatorade, soda, and energy drinks to help you make an informed decision!
Is BodyArmor Good for You?
Here are the 14 questions we’ll address on BodyArmor nutrition. Click to skip ahead to any of them. Or just keep scrolling to read below:
- What Ingredients Are in BodyArmor?
- Does BodyArmor Have a Lot of Sugar?
- Does BodyArmor Have Artificial Sweeteners?
- Does BodyArmor Have Electrolytes?
- Is BodyArmor High In Sodium?
- Is BodyArmor Good for Weight Loss?
- Is BodyArmor Caffeine Free?
- Is BodyArmor Good for Hydration?
- Does BodyArmor Count As Water Intake?
- Is BodyArmor Good for You When You’re Sick?
- Is BodyArmor Better for You Than Gatorade?
- Is BodyArmor Better for You Than Soda?
- Can You Drink Too Much BodyArmor?
- Is BodyArmor Vegan?
1. What Ingredients Are in BodyArmor?
Let’s start by looking at what BodyArmor actually contains. BodyArmor has a few different product lines—including regular BodyArmor, BodyArmor Lyte (low calories), and BodyArmor Edge (caffeinated).
Let’s take a look at one flavor from each of those lines. I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:
|BodyArmor: Blue Raspberry||Filtered Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Coconut Water Concentrate, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Vegetable Juice Concentrate (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Magnesium Oxide (Electrolyte), Natural Blueberry Raspberry Flavor with other Natural Flavors, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium D-Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Zinc Oxide (Electrolyte), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin A Palmitate (Vitamin A), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).|
|BodyArmor Lyte: Watermelon||Filtered Water, Erythritol, Coconut Water Concentrate, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Vegetable Juice Concentrate (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Magnesium Oxide (Electrolyte), Stevia rebaudiana Leaf Extract, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium D-Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Natural Watermelon Flavor with other Natural Flavors, alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Zinc Oxide (Electrolyte), Guar Gum, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin A Palmitate (Vitamin A), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).|
|BodyArmor Edge: Strawberry Slam||Filtered Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Coconut Water Concentrate, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Phosphate (Electrolyte), Vegetable Juice Concentrate (Color), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Magnesium Oxide (Electrolyte), Caffeine, Gum Arabic, Natural Strawberry Flavor with other Natural Flavors, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Calcium D-Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ester Gum, Zinc Oxide (Electrolyte), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid (Vitamin B9), Vitamin A Palmitate (Vitamin A), beta-apo-8′ Carotenal (Color), Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12).|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- BodyArmor has coconut water concentrate. And it’s actually near the top of the ingredients list. This is more of a natural, plant-based ingredient than is typically found in Gatorade or Powerade.
- BodyArmor is free of artificial sweeteners. Many sports drinks contain artificial sweeteners, which are controversial, as they come with possible health risks. But not BodyArmor. (BodyArmor Lyte does have stevia and erythritol, natural zero-calorie sweeteners. We’ll discuss them below.)
- BodyArmor is free of artificial colors. Most sports drinks have artificial colors like Red 40 and Yellow 5. Since such dyes are controversial for safety, I’d consider it positive that BodyArmor doesn’t have any. Instead, BodyArmor uses vegetable juice concentrates for color.
- BodyArmor has added electrolytes. This is the main selling point of sports drinks like BodyArmor. They help replace electrolytes like sodium and potassium as you lose them in your sweat. But does BodyArmor have too much sodium? We’ll cover that below.
- BodyArmor has added vitamins. You can see vitamin E, A, B3, B5, B12, and others in the ingredients list. Even though fortified vitamins are generally not absorbed as well as those from whole foods, I’d still consider this a positive addition.
- BodyArmor and BodyArmor Edge have added sugar. This is really the only negative thing I can list about BodyArmor ingredients—but it’s potentially a big one. That said, BodyArmor Lyte is free of added sugar. We’ll look closer at BodyArmor’s sugar content below.
Overall, BodyArmor’s ingredients are quite healthy—except for the cane sugar. And that’s potentially a big one. If a beverage has too much sugar, it could be very unhealthy, despite all the other ingredients being healthy.
So let’s look at the sugar content next.
2. Does BodyArmor Have a Lot of Sugar?
BodyArmor has the same amount of sugar as Gatorade and Powerade: 21 grams in each 12 fl oz serving. If you want a lower-sugar option, choose BodyArmor Lyte, which only has 2 grams of sugar in each 12 fl oz serving.
Here is a table showing BodyArmor’s sugar content, compared to Gatorade and Powerade:
|Drink||Sugar (per 12 fl oz)|
|BodyArmor (Blue Raspberry)||21g|
|BodyArmor Lyte (Watermelon)||2g|
|BodyAmor Edge (Strawberry Slam)||26g|
|Gatorade Thirst Quencher (Fruit Punch)||21g|
As you can see, BodyArmor Edge has even more sugar than Gatorade and Powerade, without around 26 grams per 12 fl oz. Wow! Why does BodyArmor have so much sugar?
Well, if you’re actually exercising hard for hours, then you may need some simple carbs to fuel your activity. In that case, the sugar found in these sports drinks could be helpful.
However, the real reason is probably just that sugar tastes good. And Gatorade has set a certain expectation in the marketplace about how sweet a “sports drink” should taste. And BodyArmor has followed suit.
For me personally, the amount of sugar in BodyArmor (and Gatorade) is too high. I’ve found that consuming too much sugar worsens my acne. And there’s a bunch of other health reasons to limit sugar, too.
But BodyArmor Lyte is another story. With only 2g of sugar per serving—and no added, processed sugar—I consider BodyArmor Lyte to be a really solid choice.
- Is BodyArmor keto-friendly? Regular BodyArmor is not keto-friendly, as it has 21g of carbs per 12 fl oz serving. Even BodyArmor Lyte has 14g of total carbs per serving, likely too much for a truly low-carb diet. However, BodyArmor Sport Water is a keto-friendly option with 0g of carbs per serving.
3. Does BodyArmor Have Artificial Sweeteners?
BodyArmor does not have aspartame, sucralose, or any other artificial sweeteners. Regular BodyArmor is sweetened with cane sugar, and BodyArmor Lyte is sweetened with erythritol and stevia, which are natural zero-calorie sweeteners.
This is one of the most interesting things about BodyArmor Lyte. Most zero-calorie sports drinks—like Gatorade Zero and Powerade Zero—have artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame K. Although those sweeteners are FDA approved, there is controversy about their long-term health impacts.
Here are just a few of the concerns with artificial sweeteners found in Gatorade Zero, for example:
- Sucralose seems to be a migraine trigger for some people. (source, source)
- Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners may increase insulin resistance through multiple mechanisms.
- Studies have suggested acesulfame K may cause cancer, although the studies were of low quality. (source)
- A breakdown product of acesulfame K, acetoacetamide, may damage the thyroid. (source)
Overall, the science around the long-term health impacts of artificial sweeteners are not fully known. But it’s great when a product like BodyArmor Lyte can help us just avoid all the uncertainty by not using them.
4. Does BodyArmor Have Electrolytes?
BodyArmor has healthy electrolytes, with around 30mg of sodium and 530mg of potassium per 12-oz serving. Compared to Gatorade, BodyArmor has around 10 times the potassium content, but only 1/5th as much sodium. This may be a better ratio, as more people are low in potassium than sodium.
Here is a table showing the sodium and potassium content of BodyArmor, compared to Gatorade and Powerade:
|BodyArmor (Blue Raspberry)||30mg||530mg|
|BodyArmor Lyte (Watermelon)||30mg||530mg|
|BodyAmor Edge (Strawberry Slam)||30mg||530mg|
|Gatorade Thirst Quencher (Fruit Punch)||160mg||50mg|
Only about 2% of American adults get the recommended intake of potassium, so the high amount of potassium in BodyArmor is intriguing. Apparently, the high potassium content in BodyArmor comes from the coconut water.
This is an area where I’d gladly choose BodyArmor over Gatorade or Powerade. I’d rather get extra potassium, rather than sodium, personally!
Now let’s look at whether the sodium levels in BodyArmor are excessive or not.
5. Is BodyArmor High In Sodium?
BodyArmor has 30mg of sodium per serving of 12 fl oz (360 mL). This is a low amount of sodium, only about 20% of that found in Gatorade. It would take about 50 servings of BodyArmor to reach the American Heart Association’s “ideal limit” of 1,500 mg of sodium per day.
A lot of people don’t realize that the “electrolytes” in sports drinks include basic table salt. This is because it’s important to replenish your body’s salt while sweating and exercising.
But if you’re just drinking BodyArmor all day while being sedentary, can you get too much salt? Well, it’s not likely.
You’d be much more likely to get too much salt from canned foods, frozen TV dinners, soup, and the like. Cans of soup often have 1,000+ mg of sodium—over 30 times as much as a serving of BodyArmor.
The American Heart Association’s official recommendation for sodium intake is to stay under 2,300 mg per day. But they’ve announced that they are “moving toward an ideal limit” of 1,500 mg per day. Certain at-risk populations are also given a limit of 1,500 mg.
Considering all this, BodyArmor is not that bad for sodium—but of course, it’s not completely sodium free, either.
6. Is BodyArmor Good for Weight Loss?
Regular BodyArmor is not the best for weight loss, with 90 calories per serving (12 fl oz). BodyArmor Lyte may indeed be a good choice for weight loss, with only 15 calories per serving. However, it’s still not clear how the zero-calorie sweeteners in BodyArmor Lyte affect bodyweight.
For every 12 ounces of normal sports drink you replace with BodyArmor Lyte, you’ll consume ~80 or 90 fewer calories. That change alone, if repeated every day for a year, could theoretically cause weight loss of 5-10 pounds or more, without any other changes.
That said, when zero-calories sweeteners are involved, it’s not always so clear. Evidence is mixed on how non-nutritive sweeteners effect bodyweight.
That said, BodyArmor Lyte doesn’t use artificial sweeteners. It has stevia and erythritol, which are natural zero-calorie sweeteners… So, what’s the verdict on those?
Well, it may be too early to tell. There have been some studies suggesting hope, but also some headlines linking them to belly fat and weight gain. There doesn’t seem to be a scientific consensus yet.
But remember: The key to weight loss is your overall diet and calorie balance. One drink won’t make or break your diet, in any case. BodyArmor can be part of a weight-loss diet—but don’t expect it to do all the work for you.
- Does BodyArmor cause weight gain? BodyArmor does not necessarily cause weight gain or weight loss. Weight management depends primarily on your total calorie balance (calories consumed vs calories burned), not just on one specific food or beverage consumed.
7. Is BodyArmor Caffeine Free?
BodyArmor Edge has 100 mg of caffeine per bottle. All other product lines by BodyArmor are caffeine free.
But how much is 100 mg of caffeine, really? Here is a comparison table with more reference points:
|Bang Energy Drink (16 oz)||300 mg|
|5-Hour Energy Regular Strength (1.9 oz)||200 mg|
|Folger’s Classic Roast Coffee (12 oz)||120-160 mg|
|BodyArmor Edge (20 oz)||100 mg|
|Red-Bull (8.4 oz)||80 mg|
|V8 Energy (8 oz)||80 mg|
|Hint Energy (16 oz)||60 mg|
|Lipton Black Tea (1 bag, brewed)||55 mg|
|Coca-Cola (12 oz)||34 mg|
|Barq’s Root Beer (12 oz)||22 mg|
As you can see, BodyArmor Edge only has 1/3 of the caffeine of Bang Energy Drink per serving. However, it still has more caffeine than Coca-Cola (even when accounting for different serving sizes).
If you’d like to see a much larger comparison table for caffeine content, check out this page from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
- Does BodyArmor Edge give you energy? BodyArmor Edge has caffeine that will make most people feel more energetic. It also has energy in the form of sugar and calories, along with B vitamins, which could potentially help with energy if you’re low in B vitamins.
[Related Post: Is Sugar-Free Red Bull Healthy? 12 Things You Should Know.]
8. Is BodyArmor Good for Hydration?
BodyArmor is a suitable choice for hydration if you’ve been sweating and need electrolyte replenishment. However, for normal daily needs, plain water is likely the healthiest choice.
If you need to rehydrate due to prolonged exercise or heat exposure, the benefits of BodyArmor could outweigh the drawbacks, compared to water. In such situations, drinking too much plain water can actually potentially lead to “salt depletion heat exhaustion.”
The added electrolytes in BodyArmor make it a suitable “oral rehydration solution” (ORS), in a similar class as Pedialyte and Gatorade. So if you’ve been losing fluids or sweat, it can be a great choice.
However, in normal day-to-day life, water is the ideal drink for most of your fluids. It has none of the extra, unnatural ingredients found in sports drinks. Plain water is what our bodies evolved to drink day-to-day.
If you hate plain water and you want a tastier hydration option without any iffy ingredients, I’d look at Hint Water. It’s one of the most natural, simple flavored water options I’ve found.
9. Does BodyArmor Count As Water Intake?
BodyArmor is mostly water, so for many purposes, it could count as “water intake.” However, as BodyArmor also has sweeteners, electrolytes, and other ingredients, it should not be your only beverage.
The added sugar in regular BodyArmor would be the worst aspect of drinking it all day long. With 21 grams of sugar per serving, those sugar calories could add up fast.
But even if you’re drinking BodyArmor Lyte, which is free of added sugar, you’d be getting a lot of non-caloric sweeteners (stevia and erythritol).
As noted above, the long-term impacts of stevia and erythritol are not fully known. They don’t seem as bad as artificial sweeteners like aspartame—but I’d still feel unsure about consuming a ton every day.
So I don’t recommend replacing all water with BodyArmor. That said, for many purposes, yes, BodyArmor achieves pretty much everything that “water intake” achieves, since it contains mostly water.
10. Is BodyArmor Good for You When You’re Sick?
In most cases when you’re sick, plain water should be your main drink.
Sports drinks are sometimes thought to be good for replacing electrolytes when sick… But experts say most sports drinks are too high in sugar and too low in electrolytes to actually help.
If you want an oral rehydration solution that’s more effective than most sports drinks, you can also make your own, as recommended by the World Health Organization:
“Simply combine a quart of water, half a teaspoon of salt and six teaspoons of sugar for a WHO-approved solution to replace the body’s fluids.” – NY Daily News
That said, if you’re experiencing much fever, diarrhea, or vomiting, it’s best to consult with your physician to get a personalized recommendation on how to exactly handle it.
11. Is BodyArmor Better for You Than Gatorade?
BodyArmor is likely a bit healthier than Gatorade and Powerade. BodyArmor includes coconut water and excludes artificial colors. Also, BodyArmor Lyte has natural zero-calorie sweeteners, rather than the artificial sweeteners in Gatorade Zero and Powerade Zero.
All that said, regular BodyArmor still has the same amount of processed sugar as Gatorade and Powerade. So it’s still a relatively high-sugar, high-calorie drink.
Also, as noted above, there still might be downsides to the natural sweeteners found in BodyArmor Lyte—that’s not fully known yet. However, they do seem better than the artificial sweeteners in Gatorade Zero and Powerade Zero.
12. Is BodyArmor Better for You Than Soda?
BodyArmor is generally healthier than soda. Most sodas have more sugar and calories per serving, along with having artificial colors and controversial ingredients like phosphoric acid. Most diet sodas have controversial artificial sweeteners. In contrast, BodyArmor has more natural ingredients.
Sure, BodyArmor has quite a bit of sugar—it’s not the healthiest drink in the world. But most sodas have even more sugar:
|Drink||Sugar (per 12 fl oz)|
Of course, some of that controversy may be overblown at times. Such ingredients may be totally safe in moderation. But BodyArmor avoids all those “what ifs” by avoiding those ingredients all together. And I like that.
13. Can You Drink Too Much BodyArmor?
How many BodyArmors can you drink per day? Most people should limit themselves to one BodyArmor per day. But it depends a bit on your goals and nutrition standards.
The biggest limiting factor for most people would be the sugar content in regular BodyArmor. As noted above, BodyArmor has just as much sugar as Gatorade.
The American Heart Association recommends men limit daily sugar intake to 150 calories (~36g of sugar), and women limit it to 100 calories (~24g of sugar). That means women could have ~13 fl oz of BodyArmor per day, while men could have ~20 fl oz per day. That’s assuming you consume no other processed sugar.
If you’re not so strict about your sugar intake, then of course you could drink more. It shouldn’t kill you or anything (in the short term). But it’s just more sugar than health authorities recommend.
If you drink BodyArmor Lyte, then the sugar per serving is much less. In that case, it’s harder to specify a healthy upper limit. Personally, I’d still recommend limiting yourself to just one or two BodyArmors per day.
Ideally, you want most of your fluids to be coming from plain water, or something very similar—potentially something subtle like Hint Water or seltzer water.
14. Is BodyArmor Vegan?
BodyArmor is generally considered vegan. It contains no milk, eggs, honey, or other animal byproducts. This includes regular BodyArmor, BodyArmor Edge, and BodyArmor Lyte. All are vegan-friendly.
However, here is one small caveat: If you’re a very picky vegan, you may take issue with the cane sugar in BodyArmor. It’s common for non-organic cane sugar to be filtered with animal bone char. Most vegans are okay with that, but some may prefer to avoid it.
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