Prime drinks review – healthy or not?
Prime drinks are the popular sports and hydration drinks, created by YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul. Since their release in 2022, there has been in huge demand, often selling out and being resold for much higher prices. It seems odd that a sports drink can make people go into such a frenzy for demand, that places were known to sell bottles of prime for £20 each! Supermarkets in the UK also had a limit on how many bottles customers could purchase at one time. It has been compared to the popular drink ‘Gatorade’, popular in USA.
But what could be causing this hype for Prime, and is it worth it? Even more important, are they nutritious and something we as dietitians would advise for regular enjoyment? Read on to find out our prime review by a dietitian.
Firstly, what is Prime drink and what is in it?
There are two types of Prime available; Prime Energy drink and Prime Hydration drink(targeted as a sports drink). They both contain a mix of filtered water, coconut water, sucralose and acesulfame potassium as artificial sweeteners as well as natural flavourings. Prime also contains a number of added vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B6 & B12, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Prime Energy also contains around 200mg of caffeine per serving, whereas Prime Hydration is caffeine free. Comparing this to an average cup of coffee which usually contains around 90-140mg of caffeine (1). Prime Hydration contains 3 branched chained amino acids (BCAA’s), known to be essential for muscle growth- more on this later!
Are there any health benefits of consuming Prime drinks?
Prime drinks contain a number of added vitamins and minerals. This includes some B vitamins, essential for energy metabolism and red blood cell formation, as well as nerve function in the body. Prime Hydration also contains vitamins A & E, as well as Zinc, which are known to be antioxidants. However, we know that these nutrients are abundant in many foods that most people consume often in their diet, so having the additional supply through Prime is unlikely to be a main source of nutrients for most people. Food also provides a much wider range of naturally found nutrients, rather than ones that have been added in during production. Some may say that the caffeine found in Prime Energy can be beneficial, however drinking a cup of coffee is a great source of caffeine and micronutrients, whilst providing no added sugars or sweeteners – not to mention, being much less expensive too!
What are the drawbacks of the Prime drinks?
Although both drinks contain no added sugars, they still contain artificial sweeteners, acesulfame potassium & sucralose. Whilst studies have shown these are safe to consume and do not provide energy in the same way as sugar, there is some research to show the negative consequences of a high sweetener intake. This can include the disruption of the gut bacteria and microbiome, which we know has a huge role to play for our health.
Prime Hydration also contains BCAA’s, which are known to be essential for muscle growth. However, the actual dose of BCAA’s provided in one drink is 250mg. Most research shows a beneficial effect of BCAA’s when consumed in doses of 4-20g per day (2), which would mean a lot of Prime drinks! However, BCAA’s are readily found in most protein containing foods, and are quite easy to obtain through the diet rather than relying on supplements.
Is Prime better than Gatorade?
When the nutrients of Prime and Gatorade are compared, one of the main differences is that Gatorade contains a high level of added sugars (each average serving containing almost 50g sugar!), whereas Prime uses artificial sweeteners for flavour. As we know, added sugar in excess can be harmful not only to our dental health, but also increases the risk of obesity and other health issues.
Although the added sugar in Gatorade may be beneficial for elite athletes when training, for most people, they do not need to be consuming this high intake of sugar regularly.
There is also the Red 40 colour dye used in Gatorade, which has been shown to be harmful to human health, especially those with allergies or children with ADHD (3).
Therefore, it seems that Prime is a better choice than Gatorade overall, if you are choosing between the two.
But what is the best option if you want a sports hydration drink?
There are plenty of other ways to keep well hydrated before, during and after exercise.
Water is going to be appropriate for most people doing general activity between 30-60 minutes, 5-7 x per week.
Pure coconut water is also a great way to refuel, due to it being a source of potassium and other micronutrients, which can be depleted during training.
Depending on the type of activity, duration and intensity of exercise, you may require different rehydration strategies, with our without added electrolytes and sugar. Speak to a Registered dietitian or sports nutritionist today, who can help personalise your requirements, for optimal performance.
What if I just enjoy the taste of Prime drink but don’t use it for exercise?
The flavour of Prime drinks themselves have generally been described as quite pleasant and enjoyable, making it often more favourable than plain water, especially when exercising. But if you wanted to consume Prime as an alternative drink to a soft drink for example, it comes down to how often you are having it. Be aware that Prime drinks contain a source of artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to some negative health consequences, especially when consumed frequently. Keep in mind that Prime energy contains a high dose of caffeine, which may not be suitable for those sensitive to caffeine.
Ultimately, the best way to keep hydrated for the majority of people is to stick with water. Prime Hydration provides some benefits post exercise such as electrolytes and BCAAs, which can help with recovery, but the energy drink does not provide the equivalent.
Prime and other sports drinks are high in either sugars or artificial sweeteners, which we are recommended to lower our intake of, for various health reasons.
That said, if you want to enjoy the occasional can of Prime as part of an overall balanced and nourishing diet, that is also completely ok – remember, it’s moderation and not deprivation!