Is Gatorade Healthy for You to Drink After Workouts?

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Is Gatorade Healthy for You to Drink After Workouts?
Is Gatorade Healthy for You to Drink After Workouts?

What is Gatorade? Is Gatorade healthy? Well, if you are looking for answers to all these questions, read ahead. And we will tell you how is Gatorade healthy and much more! Hang in there, and you’ll know it all!

What is Gatorade?

Gatorade is a noncarbonated sports drink that gives your body carbs and replaces salt and fluids you lose during a workout session. It is healthy as it has electrolytes that rehydrate you and supply energy.

The researchers at the University of Florida first developed this sports drink in the year 1965. It was mainly aimed towards their football team to boost their performance, called Gators. Gators even won Orange Bowl in the year 1967, which was the first time they won this tournament.

Nowadays, Gatorade comes in various flavors; however, in the early days, there was only one single product named Gatorade Thirst Quencher, which has two variants orange and lemon-lime. You will find them produce both powder form and liquid.

Gatorade ingredients

The ingredient list of the original Gatorade Thirst Quencher includes:

Water
Table sugar or sucrose
Citric acid
Sodium citrate
Dextrose
Monopotassium phosphate
Natural coloring

Some of the variants used also had brominated vegetable oil which was used as a stabilizer.

Gatorade nutrition facts

One bottle of Gatorade (8 oz) has:

Calories: 140
Fat: 0
Sodium: 270 mg (11%)
Carbs: 36 g (12%)
Potassium: 75 mg (2%)
Sugar: 34 g

Is Gatorade healthy?

The most important thing to do when you are working out is to remain hydrated. Water is the best way to stay hydrated. But there are some sports drinks such as Gatorade, which has electrolytes and sugar, that do the same job.

Gatorade is healthy as it has electrolytes (such as potassium and sodium) and sugar, which helps to replace what you have lost during your workout session, mainly when it is hot and humid.

Furthermore, electrolytes are a group of minerals that maintain the body’s ionic balance. This is vital as it helps the brain, muscle, and nerve to function properly. If there is an imbalance, then it might cause electrolyte disorder.

Stay hydrated during workout sessions

Some examples of electrolytes other than potassium and sodium are:

  • Calcium
  • Phosphate
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium

Now that you know why is Gatorade healthy, let us check out ways that it helps your body: Here are three reasons why is Gatorade healthy for people:

Sugar

According to researchers, carbs which are in the form of sugar, supply energy while exercising. During a workout, the body stores carbohydrates in the liver and muscle, and it is called glycogen. When we exercise, we use stored carbs and dietary carbs to give us energy throughout the workout session.

However, these carbs can only last for one hour, and if someone is exercising for more than an hour, they replace them to have energy. Hence people who work out for hours need something that will get in the bloodstream quickly, and Gatorade provides them that. Also, sugar helps your cells take the liquid quickly, giving us energy and keeping us hydrated.

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This is why you will see a lot of marathon runners drink Gatorade or other sports drinks as it gives fuel to the muscle.

Salt

Runners and athletics lose 1 g of salt on every liter of sweat. One of the main factors of sweat is salt, and almost everyone sweats while exercising. Especially in the heat, people do experience extreme sweating.

Also, sometimes you might notice after an intense workout session a white residue on the skin. This is because of sodium buildup. So, it is important to supply yourself with sodium as well. And what better way to do it than your drink?

So, if you work out at a gym or outside for few minutes, you do not need to add salt to your drink.

However, if you are going to exercise for more than 45 minutes and in heat, it is important to drink saltwater or sports drink with salt in them.

Electrolytes

Another reason why is Gatorade healthy is because it has got two vital electrolytes that are potassium and sodium. Both of them are lost in sweat, especially when you are in doing an intense workout session. These electrolytes help maintain the water balance in our body and also keep us hydrated during exercising.

A great natural source of electrolytes is coconut water. If you don’t like having sports drinks, then this option is great as well.

Side effects of Gatorade

Now that you know how is Gatorade healthy for people who do an intense workout at least five times a week, let us check out some potential side effects of Gatorade.

You will find many people consuming Gatorade who are not athletes and are not into intense workouts. According to some studies, many people who consume sports drinks or one Gatorade bottle per day are not even active.

600 ml of Gatorade Thirst Quencher has 36 g of sugar, which is a little less than most soft drinks, but it is not healthy. Moreover, researchers said that sugar in Gatorade might be the reason behind child obesity as it increases calorie intake.

Gatorade’s company clearly states that sports drinks are for athletes and people involved in vigorous and extended workouts. Further, they said adding electrolytes to the individual’s fluid intake will also add sugar.

Hence, people doing strenuous exercise and professional athletes can handle the extra sugar since they will burn it out. But the extra sugar might cause health issues to people who do exercise for less than 45 minutes.

Some researchers compared the calorie per serving of Gatorade to some other drinks, and the result is:

Gatorade – 50 kcal
Orange juice – 104 kcal
Coca-Cola – 104 kcal
Powerade – 70 kcal

They also compared the carbs contained in these drinks, and the result is:

Gatorade – 14 g
Coca-Cola – 27 g
Orange juice – 25 g
Powerade – 21 g

Scientist even stated most sports drinks brands promote misleading ads with health benefits, but there is no scientific proof yet. Some of the side effects of Gatorade are as follows:

Behavioral problems

The main problem with Gatorade is that it can cause sensitivity and allergy to people as it has food dyes. Moreover, many researchers have stated that artificial dyes are linked with various health problems such as behavioral problems (ADHD) and even cancer.

Artificial sweeteners

G2, which is Gatorade’s low-calorie version, has added sucralose and acesulfame, two artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. It has 40 kcal for every 470 ml, which is half the calories that are present in regular Gatorade. A lot of researches are going on to prove the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners, but nothing is proven yet.

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Even the extra sugar, calories, and salt found in the drink are not good for kids and adolescents. That is because if they consume these calories, their intake of beneficial nutrients from whole foods will be less.

Furthermore, a lot of researchers state that artificial sweeteners have a close link with weight problems. So, it is evident that consuming Gatorade and many more similar products can cause obesity.

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Dental issues

The acid present in Gatorade has proven to be bad for tooth enamel and can cause tooth decay. Also, the sugar present in the drink can cause cavities as well. And this can be a huge problem in kids especially. So, try to keep your kids away from sugary drinks as much as possible.

Hyponatremia

It is a serious condition that happens when there is an extremely low level of salt in the blood. Most of the time, it happens due to dehydration. However, sometimes it can happen due to overhydration too.

A study done on marathon runners has found that about 13% of them have some level of hyponatremia. Further, they confirmed that runners who have just started drinking sports drinks might have hyponatremia in the future.

Weight gain and high blood pressure

Body mass index (BMI) can increase in kids, especially if they consume sports drinks every day. However, less active people can have it occasionally. Moreover, the presence of extra salt in sports drinks might lead to high blood pressure in the future for inactive people.

Food dyes

Most Gatorade beverages have food dyes or artificial coloring, such as Blue No. 1, Yellow No. 5, and Red No. 40. And almost all the artificial colors are extracted from petroleum which is dangerous for health if you consume it daily.

Food dyes increase hyperactivity in kids. Also, they are linked with cancer. However, more researches are required in this regard.

Does not satisfy your thirst

Even though they are advertised as to satisfy your thirst, but in reality, it doesn’t. Moreover, you feel more dehydrated because most people drink a lot of sports drinks daily.

A study stated that people drink it more than usual cause of the ingredients present in it. Salt mixed with other ingredients will increase thirst and make people want to drink more of the drink. So, even if you are feeling hydrated but at the same time, you are consuming way more calories than needed.

Type 2 diabetes and heart problems

A 2014 study stated that kids who intake sports drink often might have heart issues and type 2 diabetes when they are adults. Also, the sugar in it might contribute to weight gain, especially in adulthood.

Slows Dehydration

Most sports drink companies claim that they treat and prevent dehydration better than water. But unless the person is athletic, drinking water is more than enough to treat dehydration during a workout session.

Furthermore, some experts say sports drinks might slow hydration in most people. With so much sugar in just one bottle, sports drinks raise blood sugar levels quickly, which inevitably can cause a sugar crash, killing your energy level.

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Gatorade vs water

The majority of the body contains water. Moreover, it ensures your body performs all the functions properly. However, we lose water through sweat and urination, which means our body needs to supply the lost water or fluids constantly.

But for less active people, it is best to stick to water only rather than consuming other beverages for hydration. Water not only hydrates the body but also has additional benefits. Most people do not even need any sports drinks.

The daily recommended fluid consumption for adult women is 2.7 liters or 91 ounces, and for adult men, it is 3.7 liters or 125 ounces.

How is Gatorade healthy? Well, if that is what you wish to know, then let us tell you, it is best for people who are serious about athletics and have intense workouts for more than an hour almost every day. These people might need an additional sports drink to keep them hydrated.

A lot of experts have a conflict on which is better. Some said Gatorade is designed to treat dehydration. And the electrolyte present in it makes it even better than water in preventing dehydration.

However, a lot of experts believe that water is the best option to treat dehydration.

How much Gatorade is too much?

According to health associations, one should not intake more than 1500 mg of salt every day. 1500 mg is the maximum level as experts believe one needs only 500 mg of sodium daily to function properly. 500 mg of sodium is almost ¼ tsp.

A bottle of Gatorade of 20 oz or 590 ml has 270 mg of salt. This is almost 11% of the daily amount of sodium.

Another sports drink, Powerade, has 150 mg of salt per serving which is 12 oz or 360 ml. This is 6% of the daily amount of sodium.

As you can see, too much of any sports drink is not good for health, especially for the long-term. However, water does not contain any salt at all.

Is Gatorade Zero good for you?

Gatorade zero is a new product by the company that has zero sugar and has the same number of electrolytes.

The ingredient list Gatorade Zero for the Lemon-Lime flavor are:

Water
Salt
Sodium citrate
Citric acid
Gum Arabic
Glycerol ester of rosin
Sucralose
Monopotassium phosphate
Acesulfame potassium
Food dye yellow 5
Natural flavor

Nutritious facts of Gatorade Zero (20 ounce):

Calorie: 5
Sugar: 0 g
Carbs: 1 g
Potassium: 75 mg
Sodium: 270 mg

They have replaced sugar with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Sucralose might be written as Splenda, which is the brand name.

Even though it has zero sugar, many studies say that artificial sweeteners are not good for health. It can be linked to many problems such as weight gain, gut microbiome, and satiety cues. But it still requires more research.

Hence if you do not want to intake any sugar and want to have a sugar-free diet, then Gatorade zero is one for you.

Final Thoughts

Now, as we come to the end of our article today, you know how is Gatorade healthy for people who sweat excessively during their workout session. For most people, Gatorade is needed.

However, daily consumption might cause health issues such as diabetes, tooth decay, obesity, etc. If you are doing serious sports and workouts, then you can add Gatorade to your daily diet.

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