Nutrition

A better Gatorade or misleading labeling?

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Montreal, CANADA - October 13, 2014: Orange Gatorade bottle on a race track.

Image: Pinkcandy/Shutterstock

Are things beginning to take a positive turn for performance athletes who prefer clean eating? When Gatorade announced its new organic line this year, it felt like a game changer. It’s the same sports drink you came to love as a child, but healthier, right? Well, sort of.

The thing is, Gatorade’s new line, called “G Organic,” isn’t as healthy as the organic label suggests. Yes, the ingredients are more limited. And yeah, the sugar is definitely organic. So where’s the problem?

Unfortunately, the sugar content in G Organic is simply off the charts. According to NPR, there’s about 20 grams of sugar per 12-ounce bottle. And when sugar consumption is meant to be limited to between 25-37 grams per day, drinking an entire bottle of G Organic will almost max you out.

Dieticians are worried that labeling the product as organic might deflect from the unhealthy properties of the drink. Lisa Cimperman, a clinical dietitian and spokesperson from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says, “Sugar is sugar, so no matter if it’s organic or not, it’s still going to have the same effect on your body.”
She adds, “I think it’s a marketing ploy to apply this organic health halo to this product.”

Considering that large amounts of sugar intake can adversely affect the body, leading to all sorts of health problems, it’s best to steer clear of drinks that contain too much of it. That is, unless you’re an extreme athlete who exercises intensely for many hours.

So what should everyday people drink after a quick run or lifting session? Haemi Choi, a doctor of sports medicine at Loyola University Medical Center, has an easy alternative. “I say, drink water,” she says. Easy enough.

But the truly incontestable factor in the health debate is the plastic bottle G Organic is sold in. The plastic typically contains BPA, which is linked to breast and prostate cancer, among other things. BPA plastic has a nasty habit of leeching into the product it contains; not only under direct sunlight, but at room temperature, as well.

The world of healthy food choices is incredibly hard to navigate, especially when products like Gatorade’s G Organic convolute the market. But as always, do your research and apply critical thinking before purchasing.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r