Hate-orade: Why We Hate Gatorade

DO NOT give Gatorade to your children. Simple as that. Not only does it contribute to the onslaught of childhood obesity that is plaguing the Australian youth, Gatorade has also shown alarming evidence of eroding teeth faster than Coke.

A new study run by the University of Iowa in America has proven that Sports Drinks do far more than ‘refresh and re-hydrate'.

Researcher Leslie A. Ehlen, a student at the University of Iowa School of Dentistry said: “I don't think everybody realises how erosive these things are, especially Gatorade and Red Bull.” “People need to be aware that all sorts of beverages can cause dental erosion.”

In the study, The University of Iowa researchers covered extracted teeth with nail polish. They left bare two patches on each tooth, one on the enamel, and one on the root. Then they dunked the teeth in test tubes filled with regular Coke, Diet Coke, Gatorade, Red Bull or 100% apple juice.

Every five hours, the researchers refreshed the beverages. After 25 hours, they examined the teeth with a microscope. All the beverages eroded the bare spots on the teeth, but different beverages had significantly different effects.

On the enamel, Gatorade was significantly more corrosive than Red Bull and Coke. Red Bull and Coke, in turn, were significantly more corrosive than Diet Coke and apple juice.

On the roots of the teeth, Gatorade was more corrosive than Red Bull. Coke, apple juice and Diet Coke followed in that order.

The different in the effect is not simply due to their sugar content. Gatorade is 6% carbohydrates, mostly sugars. Coke is about 10% sugar. Both are highly acidic beverages.

It is crucial that your children do not consume these beverages. An average 600ml bottle of gatorade contains:

  • 150 calories (630 kj)
  • 36 grams of carbohydrates
  • 276 mg of sodium
  • 138 mg of Potassium
  • 0 mg of Protein
  • 0 mg of Fibre

The ingredients list clearly states that the 36 grams of carbohydrates comes from only from sugar. Ingredients include: Water, sucrose, glucose, food acid (330), flavours, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, potassium
citrate, colour (102).

The recommended daily intake of sugar for children is 4-5 teaspoons.

On average, each 120ml ‘serve' of Gatorade contains 1 and a half teaspoons of sugar. Though this is not that much per serve, it is unlikely that your child will only drink a fifth of the bottle. Therefore, per bottle, Gatorade contains 7 and a half teaspoons of sugar!

This amount of sugar is comparable to coke, soft drinks and sweetened fruit juice. If you are giving your child a couple of bottles of Gatorade a day, you are giving them the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar – empty calories that will merely provide your child with a sugar high – not the ‘energy boost' that Gatorade claim!

Sports drinks like Gatorade, Powerade and similar are merely contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, not ‘fuelling' our children. They may taste nice, however they are equivalent only to soft drinks, cordial and sweetened fruit juice. The artificial energy hit after consuming one of these is simply is ‘sugar hit', and the quick buzz that is achieved after drinking one just as quickly turns into a sugar slump.

Avoid these sports drinks at all costs, and instead, stick to water or a good quality electrolyte formula. By sticking to the basics, you can be sure that your children are staying hydrated and healthy without the extra unneeded load of sugar.