Gatorade. Do you need it?

Gatorade is good...for endurance purposes.  Every major football victory all has one thing in common: dumping the cooler on the coach.  Before the invention of Gatorade, many athletes used what nature gave them, water.  However, the invention of Gatorade has helped many athletes maintain their level of competition with its replenishment.  But what is really in Gatorade and is it for Racers?

Developed in the fall of 1965, Gatorade was designed to help the Florida Gators football team stay hydrated.  Now, there is 1 reason for the need of this drink, sweat.  Here in Florida, it’s hot, but when you add in the humidity, it feels even hotter.  What’s worse is that the humidity collects on you as perspiration and you sweat more.  So, the UF scientist had a perfect testing ground for the new drink.

As much as I dislike UF, you have to hand it to the 4 scientist that made the drink.  It was a simple concoction that consisted of water, sugar, glucose-sugar syrup, citric acid, salt sodium citrate, magnesium phosphate and some coloring and flavoring.  These are key nutrients lost in sweating.  Those minerals are called electrolytes.  In order for your body to be hydrated, you need a certain amount of these electrolytes and when there is a lack of them, you become dehydrated because you don’t retain the water.  Most of the time you can tell if you are dehydrated by the color of your urine; the clearer, the better.

So Gatorade is great for replacing electrolytes.  Is what racers need to keep them pumping out motos?  Many fitness experts believe that Gatorade is only necessary for athletes that exercise over an hour.  That doesn’t mean an hour spent in the gym; it means an hour of exercise.  If you are spending 45 minutes on a rower and then 25 minutes on a stationary bike, you should start to drink Gatorade 15 minutes into the time spent on the bike.  However, some trainers, such as Ryan Hughes, believe in not drinking it at all.  The reason?  Fluorescent colors.  Most things in nature are not bright colors, so “Ryno” tends to steer clear of it because it is not natural.

It has also been proven to cause mild tooth decay because of the acidity, but Gatorade can be good.  Drink water up until that hour mark.  If you are drinking enough water throughout the day and during exercise, you should be okay.  However, if you are sweating bullets and it’s been over an hour, some watered down Gatorade is a safe choice.  If you are at the track, stick with water and when you leave, sip a little Gatorade for the ride home.  Drinking it all of the time can do more harm than good.

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Posted on Sep 09 2009, under Nutrition | No Comments »

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