It’s hard to have a discussion about replacing electrolytes without mentioning Gatorade. I wrote about electrolytes recently and thought I’d talk about some of the different sports drinks on the market. Gatorade created the market for sports drinks. It was created by a team of scientists to help the football coach at University of Florida. His athletes were training in the Florida heat and were struggling. Gatorade was created and the football players performed better.
Gatorade is now owned by Pepsi and is one of its best selling products.
According to the Gatorade website, the following ingredients are in the lemon lime flavored regular (original) Gatorade:
WATER, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CITRIC ACID, SALT, SODIUM CITRATE,MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, GUM ARABIC, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN,NATURAL FLAVOR, YELLOW 5
Here are the nutritional facts for a 20 ounce (591 mL) bottle:
Serving Size 1 Bottle (591 mL)
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 0g
Total Carbohydrate 36g
Benefits of Gatorade
Most of us don’t need to worry about replacing electrolytes until we’ve been exercising for an extended period of time or are pushing ourselves at a higher pace. Of course, there’s also heat to consider. Basically, when you’re doing some heavy sweating, you probably should consider a sports drink.
Also, the sugar in the drink provides a boost in energy. It’s a quick and easy way to get sugar back into your body.
Gatorade answers both of these functions: energy and replenishing electrolytes.
Downside to Gatorade
Some people dislike Gatorade due to its use of sugar and food dyes. If you’re trying to follow a whole foods diet, this is probably not the product for you. Food dyes can be problematic for people.
The amount of sugar is pretty close to a serving of cola. So, it may have more sugar than you need for your sports performance.
To be fair, you’re going to find sugar of some kind in almost every sports drink. That’s part of drinking something to boost your energy.
Gatorade does also make a non-sugar version. It replaces the sugar with an artificial sweetener.
I think the downside is really that people think this is a healthy drink so they drink it as a regular beverage or they overestimate their activity and think they need this when a glass of water would probably be sufficient.
Parents give Gatorade to their children, thinking it’s a healthier choice but it’s not really all that different than giving them a soda.
I just cruised through the lunchroom where I work and noted that there are four different kinds of Gatorade being sold in the cooler, next to cans of soda, juices, and coffee-based drinks. I can tell you that nobody here is working up that big of a sweat.
If you need to replenish electrolytes, go ahead and have a Gatorade. It’s served at many races at the water stations. If you can be selective, there are other sports drinks or mixes that have fewer food dyes but Gatorade will certainly do what it’s intended for.
Chris wrote about using Gatorade when she’s biking or running in the heat. It works for her. What works for you? Do you have a favorite sports drink? Please let us know here on the website or on the Becoming Elli Facebook page. Feel free to email me at Jill@BecomingElli.com.