So what’s the real truth about Gatorade? It’s all over the place. We’re supposed to drink it during our workouts, our runs, and even for hangovers. The world’s top athletes are endorsing it and even Tiger Woods has his very own line of Gatorade (okay, that doesn’t mean much anymore). It’s an amazing concoction of electrolytes that provides hydration and increased performance for all of our athletic pursuits. It makes us run faster, longer, jump higher, lift more weights, and recovery more quickly.
Or does it?
Is Gatorade really healthy for us? Is it the true miracle drink that it’s marketed as? Will it really make us perform better and longer than our non-Gatorade drinking competition?
Gatorade was invented at the sports laboratories at the University of Florida in 1965 and tested on the football team, the Florida Gators (hence the name Gatorade). The original concoction consisted of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice. The football coach and his players hailed Gatorade as a savior to their hydration problems during hot summer workouts and the long, intense football season.
But, like everything else, someone along the way discovered that Gatorade could be produced less expensively by using artificial sweeteners and corn syrups. Until this year, Gatorade’s top two ingredients were water and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), the evil artificial sweetener that’s in everything these days from soda to bread. In 2010, Gatorade changed its formula from HFCS to a sucrose-dextrose mix. Same animal, different name.
So what exactly are we drinking when we pick up a bottle of the nectar? Let’s look at Gatorade’s ingredients in comparison to the ingredients of Coca Cola.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Turns out they’re strikingly similar, aren’t they? True, Gatorade no longer has HFCS, but what do you think those other syrups are? Yep, you guessed it. They’re just manufactured corn syrups with different names, all made in the same factories with the same cheap corn used in HFCS. And after reading the ingredient lists, does this still sound like something you want to suck down during a 10-mile run or an intense gym session? Gatorade and soda aren’t too dissimilar when you really look at it. Pump some carbonation into your bottle of Gatorade and it’s soda, isn’t it?
Gatorade does do one thing. It replaces electrolytes. But what is the big secret behind the ingredients that do this? To replace electrolytes you don’t need some tricky formula, man made chemicals, refined sugars or colors. All you need is simple real food sources that provide a few key minerals like sodium, chloride, potassium and magnesium.
Here are 4 ways to replenish your electrolytes naturally and give your body some serious nutrition at the same time. Remember to choose organic ingredients whenever possible.
1. Juice Celery + Apple + Lemon – This juice combination works wonders for replacement of electrolytes. The celery has a natural source of sodium, potassium, magnesium, cholride, and phosphorus. Apple provides additional potassium and natural sweetness. Lemon is the highest electrolyte containing citrus fruit.
2. Stir Sea Salt + Baking Soda + Lemon Juice + Maple Syrup into 8 ounces of Water – THis is a great natural remedy for serious endurance athletes – You might htink drinking baking soda is a little weird, but it’s been used for centuries to threat various aliments. In this case, it’s added to the mis because it makes the body less acidic and provides an adiitional source of sodium bicarbonate.
3. Shake Raw Coconut Water + Chia Seeds – Raw coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and potassium that will not only help you stay hydrated but also keep your body from getting any cramps. It is completely natural and very low in sugar. Combine this with a packet of chia seeds and you have a 1-2 punch! Chia seeds are an incredible energy food – full of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber. These seeds have the ability to keep you from getting dehydrated because they can hold 9 times their weight in water! There are travel packs available that don’t need refrigeration either – perfect for just throwing in you gym bag or purse.
4. Blend Frozen Banana + Almond Milk + Kale – This smoothie is extremely hydrating. Tha banana provides a good source of potassium and magnesium which help regulate your fluid stores. Almonds are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium. When you make your almond milk, make sure you add sea salt (store bought almond milk arleady has salt added to it). Kale is a superfood and another excellent source of magnesium and calcium.
No go outside and sweat, so you can enjoy one of these delicious drinks!