For a long time we turned to Gatorade for ourselves and our kids during the summer and for my son when he plays football. It was not high in calories and everyone touts the benefits of electrolytes. We bought into the hype. Gatorade does contain electrolytes and fluids your body needs but it’s not the only way to get them, and when you realize what the other ingredients are – the effects they have on our bodies, you might be willing to explore some alternatives.
Most of us don’t workout enough to have an electrolyte imbalance anyway. Those that do would never touch the stuff. Your favorite athletes – the ones claiming Gatorade helped their performance, yeah they were paid to say that. In all likelihood, they don’t and won’t drink it.
Orange Gatorade ingredients label:
The first thing that jumps out about this label is the sodium. 160 mg of sodium in a beverage is incredible. The human body, according to the CDC, only needs 500 mg of sodium per day (we NEED sodium to function just not much), and the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg per day to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The salt and the monopotassium phosphate both contribute to the sodium level but monopotassium phosphate has other fun uses. It is also used as a fertilizer and fungicide. Sounds tasty huh? The next glaring item is the 21 g of sugar. Sugar has zero nutritional value and has a direct impact on health and weight. In the Gatorade that sugar is in the form of sucrose and dextrose.
Gum arabic is a natural ingredient that comes from the sap of certain trees in countries like Sudan, Egypt and Arabia . The gum has the consistency of glue and is used in beverages, candy and has non-food uses as well such as for inks, paint, glue and printing. Yellow 6 is an artificial color that has been linked to ADHD, hyperactivity, allergies and cancer. Is all that worth the orange color? Glycerol ester of rosin is a stabilizer derived from wood oil. It often contains small traces of wood and the European Food Safety Authority has deemed it unsafe as a food additive.
Bromated vegetable oil is oil that has had the element Bromine added to it – the same ingredient used in flame retardants. The vapors of bromine can be toxic and has been banned in over 100 countries.
Your best option as an alternative to Gatorade is plain water. You can infuse it with fruits like lemons, oranges, berries and more. If you need energy, try a banana, a glass of whole milk, or a handful of cashews. Coconut water is a good option too. Always choose 100% real food over processed.