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Gatorade is Just Sugar Water?

I could have sworn old-school Gatorade didn't have a ton of sugar in it, and I was surprised to find that modern Gatorade - including Tiger Woods' "Tiger" version - is basically water, sugar, dye, and a little flavoring. And worse yet, it's not sugar, but HFCS1.

Did it change at some point? Or has Gatorade always been sugar-water? Is it still "okay" for you, relatively speaking? And if it's just sugar water, why wouldn't Kool-Aid from the packets (which would at least have actual sugar and not HFCS) be just as good?

Footnotes

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup

11 Responses to "Gatorade is Just Sugar Water?"

  1. Gatorade has 1) electrolytes 2) enough salt to actually not suppress thirst but to trick your body into thinking it should be pushing MORE fluids.

  2. Jon Williams said on August 28, 2008:

    Gatorade has 1) electrolytes 2) enough salt to actually not suppress thirst but to trick your body into thinking it should be pushing MORE fluids.

    Electrolytes are generally salt(s) for the most part (and a little potassium).

    And let's be fair: Gatorade has 95mg of sodium, 36.6mg of potassium, and 13g sugar (note the lack of an "m" in front of the "g").

    So, okay, what if I put a little salt in my Kool-Aid. Wouldn't that still be better for me? 😛

    I'm trying to cut back on my HFCS intake. I'll still get plenty (i.e. "too much") from the occasional Cherry Coke - I don't need it from my "sports drinks" too.

  3. Gatorade has added sweetner over the last 20 yrs or so. It was much saltier and more watery tasting when it came out in the 70s. Sometime in the 90s, they really started adding the sweetners to sell more. I drank a lot of Gatorade when I rode across the US back in 1990 on my bicycle and while it had been sweetened some then it wasn't nearly as bad as it is now. Americans can't handle foods these days without sugar added it seems.

  4. re Kool-aid: See the second entry in "common substitutes" in the Wikipedia article. 🙂

    Gatorade used to be sold only as a drink for restoring your electrolytes while participating in sports. At some point in the 1980s or 1990s they decided to expand their market to thirsty people in general. I would imagine that this shift required a change in formula, in order to gain acceptance among a wider audience.

  5. I recently started drinking coconut water as a sports drink. It has 10 times the electrolytes as Gatorade or any other soft-drink style sports drink. It's sweet, a little salty, clear, and mixes nicely with more flavorful fruit juices And it's all natural. Great stuff.

  6. I miss the old Gatorate in the glass bottles back in the late 80's early 90s.

  7. I've been making my own for quite some time.

    4 C fruit juice
    4 C water
    1 T sugar
    3/8 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp potassium chloride ("Nu-Salt")
    1/2 tsp Citric Acid (Can order from most pharmacies)

    Optionally, use 1/2 tsp "Lite Salt" (a NaCl/KCl blend) as it's less expensive and sometimes easier to find. Also, you can substitute a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid for the fruit juice; increase water to 8 C and sugar to 8 T to maintain volume and flavor.

  8. What about drinking, say, water as a sports drink?

  9. kind of late on the story but,

    Gatorade actually rotted my teeth. Dentist say it is the worst drink on the market for you teeth. Bar none.

  10. Christian said on September 3, 2008:

    4 C fruit juice
    4 C water
    1 T sugar
    3/8 tsp salt
    1/8 tsp potassium chloride ("Nu-Salt")
    1/2 tsp Citric Acid (Can order from most pharmacies)

    OJ and salt is better. Forget ALL of that sugar n shit.

  11. I miss old gatorade as well. Back then it was only fruit punch, lemon lime, and orange... All of which came in glass bottles and was much less syrupy in texture than it is now, and I agree, had a saltier profile. Nowadays the same flavors don't quench anything because of the excess sugar content. I don't think it has anything to do with HFCS but with sugar or sweeteners in general, including hfcs. These corporations have people demonising a sweetener, suggesting that other sugars are somehow better, when they're all sugars! It's interesting how a few commercials misrepresent the debate over total sugar content in everything americans eat, to instead be about public outlash against a single sweetener. Well played.


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