When thinking of Gatorade, images of muscle-bound athletes dripping in sweat and playing with agility and stamina may come to mind. While the drink that’s been endorsed by super-star athletes such as Tiger Woods, Serena Williams and Michael Jordan, has became synonymous with peak athletic performance, Gatorade actually has an interesting history – and a secure future.
During the summer of 1965, a University of Florida assistant coach sat down with university physicians and asked them to figure out why so many of his players were being affected by heat and heat-related illnesses.
Physicians determined that fluids and electrolytes lost through sweat and large amounts of carbohydrates that the players’ bodies used for energy were not being replenished. Based on their findings, the researchers scientifically formulated a new, precisely-balanced carbohydrate-electrolyte drink that would replace key nutrient components that were lost by Gator players through sweating and exercise. The concoction was called “Gatorade.”
“The Gatorade Sports Science Institute is actually the leader in terms of sports nutrition and research specific to hydration. As with anything they’re always looking to current technology, but Gatorade has basically been the same since it’s been developed,” said Tara Gidus, registered sports dietician and team dietician for the Orlando Magic National Basketball Association team.
Some may ask, what’s wrong with plain water? Gidus said nothing… However, drinks such as Gatorade allows the drinker to maintain a steady level of performance. The carbohydrates in Gatorade provides energy while the electrolytes (comprised of sodium, potassium and chloride), keep fluid balanced.
Depending on the intensity of the activity, one should re-hydrate every 15 to 20 minutes. Dehydration can essentially impair performance, mentally and physically. Folks who sweat heavily should hydrate more often.
Furthermore, studies show that consuming a flavored beverage gives the drinker more of an incentive to hydrate.
Gatorade hasn’t changed much since its inception, but it has expanded its product line to provide a wide variety of consumers well-balanced hydration. The G Series offers Prime 01 for pre-fuel activity; Performance G 02 (and lower calorie G2/02) a standard drink to be consumed during activity; and Recover 03 for after activity, which has added protein.
Gatorade’s G Series Pro, in all three levels, is for a higher level of activity.
Gatorade has also introduced a new line that appeals to a different segment of the sports drink market.
“Gatorade Natural has all the same benefits, in terms of performance, that other Gatorades have, the only difference is that it’s made with natural ingredients,” said Gidus.
G Natural uses sweeteners and coloring such as vegetable juices, Beta-Carotene or Rebiana A, which comes from the stevia plant. The new drink also falls under Gatorade’s Performance or second level.
Indianapolis resident Nicole McKenzie has been an athlete for more than 15 years and uses Gatorade as a source of hydration.
When trying G Natural, based on packaging size, she said she would have liked more liquid and didn’t care for the lower- calorie option, but has high hopes for the new beverage.
“I thought the Gatorade Natural was just as refreshing as it has always been. It was not as sweet, but still had the same revitalizing ability it has always had after a good long work out,” said McKenzie.
While McKenzie sometimes uses Gatorade during her workouts, Gidus encourages consumers to use the drink for any time of the day, especially during the summer.
G Natural is currently in regional distribution and is available in orange citrus, berry and blackberry raspberry at Whole Foods Market.
About the Gatorade Sports Science Institute
Headquartered in Barrington, Ill., the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) is a research and educational facility established in 1988 to share current information and expand knowledge on sports nutrition and exercise science that enhance the performance and health of athletes. The materials and services of the institute are designed as educational tools for sports health professionals. GSSI staff scientists study the effects of exercise, the environment and nutrition on the human body using the latest scientific technology and equipment. In addition to the GSSI’s own exercise physiology, biochemistry and exercise sensory labs, GSSI also works with leading scientists from universities around the world to further research in exercise science and sports nutrition. For more information, visit gssiweb.org.
Causes of heat emergencies
n Heat and high humidity
n Extreme physical exertion
n Layered or rubberized clothing
n Inadequate fluid intake
Warning signs –
What to look for
n Poor concentration
n Flushed skin
n Light headedness
n Loss of muscle coordination
You should know… Coaches working with kids should know that children may be less tolerant of heat stress than adults, and may be at greater risk for heat illness.
Information provided by www.nfl.com