"How To Drink Gatorade" (Don't?)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2011 11:29 PM GMT
    I happen to like my Gatorade - it is what gets me through a hard workout. I acknowledge it may be psychosomatic but whatever works...

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/07/how-to-drink-gatorade/ (also see comments at the link for criticisms of the article)

    I’ve never understood Gatorade. It doesn’t taste good, it comes in a variety of disturbing neon colors, and the spout on the bottle is way too big, so I’m always spilling blue liquid on the front of my shirt. If I’m craving electrolytes – a wonderful marketing euphemism for those salts hidden in with the sugar – I’d rather drink a Coke and eat pork rinds or chug salt water and eat a piece of fruit.

    And yet, the allure of sports drinks shows no signs of letting up. While Gatorade began as beverage for the Florida Gators football team – the seven tablespoons of sugar per serving were supposed to help replenish the carbs lost during sweat – it has since expanded into a Byzantine array of drinks tailored for different phases of the workout process. If we really want to maximize performance, then we can’t just drink Gatorade while working out. We also have to drink Gatorade Prime before exertion, Gatorade Perform during and Gatorade Recover afterwards.

    Needless to say, most of these claims are bullshit. But they’re an interesting kind of bullshit. Because it turns out that sugary sports drinks (like Gatorade, Powerade, VitaminWater, etc.) do generate significant performance benefits. It’s just that these benefits have little to do with the replenishment of lost electrolytes. And that’s why we seem to get the biggest benefits from these expensive liquids when we spit them out.

    Let’s begin with a clever 2009 experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Birmingham, in which eight elite cyclists performed a series of time trials in the lab. The goal was to max out their levels of effort, to have the cyclists pedal as fast as possible for as long as possible.

    The experiment itself consisted of two different conditions. In the first condition, the cyclists rinsed their mouth for ten seconds with a sugary sports drink before spitting it out. In the second condition, the cyclists gargled a diet drink sweetened with fake sugar instead. Although both liquids tasted about the same, only one contained calories.

    Here’s where things get interesting: cyclists gargling with real sugar performed significantly better than those gargling with saccharin. The differences were especially pronounced during the final time trials, with the calorie crowd consistently putting out between 3-7 percent more effort.

    How could merely rinsing the mouth with Gatorade make us perform better? After all, we’ve been trained by decades of sports drink commercials to assume that we actually need to swallow the stuff, that the benefits depend on getting those precious electrolytes into our bloodstream. But the commercials are lying: a series of follow-up experiments demonstrated that the cyclists actually performed better when they just gargled with the sugary drink. (Apparently, having several ounces of liquid sloshing around the belly isn’t ideal for intense physical activities.) Tasting energy was more important than ingesting energy.

    To understand the mechanisms behind this peculiar gargling effect, the neuroscientists then had the cyclists swish around drinks made with real sugar and saccharin in a brain scanner. Although the athletes couldn’t reliably tell the difference between the two, their brain showed much higher levels of activation in reward areas, such as the nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex, when given the drink made with real sugar. According to the researchers, this is because the human mouth contains carbohydrate receptors that respond to foods independently of their taste. Once a hint of carbohydrate is detected, these receptors immediately send a sensory report to the brain, telling it to expect a lovely rush of calories. Nothing has been swallowed, but that doesn’t matter: The sugar still makes us happy.

    There are two lessons here. The first is that Gatorade is a waste of money. If you really want to improve performance, gargle with something that actually tastes good, since it was the activation of reward areas that allowed the cyclists to exert maximum performance.

    The second lesson has to do with the variables underlying peak effort. In general, we associate high levels of effort with high levels of pain, which is why we assume that the hardest working athletes are also the most serious. These are the runners locked in a grimace, or those body builders letting out guttural grunts, or those cyclists on the Tour de France who look like they’re about to cry.

    But maybe that’s exactly backwards. After all, the lesson of those cyclists tasting sugar water is that their endurance was improved by a fleeting sense of delight. The pleasure drowned out their pain, helping to compensate for the burning lactic acid in their legs. Even though they couldn’t explain this pleasure, it’s what allowed them to work so hard, pedaling faster than those sad souls gargling with fake sugar. While it’s still unclear how levels of pleasure modulate levels of effort, the scientists endorse the “Central Governor Model,” in which bodily fatigue is registered as the total absence of enjoyment. In other words, we only know we can’t give anymore when our reward areas go silent. Instead of enjoying the physical activity, we notice every ache and pain. And then we give up.

    And that is why, the next time I play pick-up basketball or go for a long run, I won’t drink a bottle of gross blue Gatorade. Instead, I’ll be gargling with ice cream.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 12:34 AM GMT
    Gatorade = Water + sugar

    Electrolytes = there's salt in it

    Gatorade is a scam. They are marketing geniuses, taking what is essentially koolaid and telling people it is a performance enhancing beverage for athletes.

    But I like the flavor of the orange kind.
  • BigBearBB02

    Posts: 24

    Jul 13, 2011 1:11 AM GMT
    I never understood it any way? It doesn't even have that much salt or anything beneficial to any athlete? I agree with (new_guyme), it is all marketing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    new_guyme saidGatorade = Water + sugar

    Electrolytes = there's salt in it

    Gatorade is a scam. They are marketing geniuses, taking what is essentially koolaid and telling people it is a performance enhancing beverage for athletes.

    But I like the flavor of the orange kind.


    I tend to agree. How much does it cost?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 2:35 AM GMT
    If tasting energy is the key then would eating something like a jellybean be beneficial?
  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    Jul 13, 2011 2:45 AM GMT
    I just need to hydrate all the time with the activity that I do. I drink a ton of gatorade because it tastes better than water. I don't believe it does anything more than water but until some one tells me clearly that it is harmful I will continue to drink it by the bucket.
  • safety43_mma1...

    Posts: 4251

    Jul 13, 2011 2:48 AM GMT
    silverfox saidI just need to hydrate all the time with the activity that I do. I drink a ton of gatorade because it tastes better than water. I don't believe it does anything more than water but until some one tells me clearly that it is harmful I will continue to drink it by the bucket.


    i second this one have to say i drink it all summer when polaying softball or football or both.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 2:50 AM GMT
    Gatorade is loaded with HFCS. That's why I stopped drinking it.
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    Jul 13, 2011 2:50 AM GMT
    The article seems to shift between talking about sugars and talking about electrolytes. The study with swishing the liquid tested sugars. It didn't test anything about electrolytes. Gatorade has both electrolytes and sugars. I drink the low calorie Gatorade during my workouts because I need the electrolytes but not as much sugar. I notice more of a difference AFTER my workouts using Gatorade versus water. With water, I feel drained and weak. With Gatorade, I feel like I still have some gas left in the tank.

    Drinking coconut water is a better option because it has more electrolytes and actually has the same electrolyte balance as human blood. I just don't care for the taste of it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 2:53 AM GMT
    I'll keep paying $2.50 for my bottled water tyvm icon_razz.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 3:07 AM GMT
    I have an aversion to Gatorade since in college I got food poisoning and when I went to the clinic the doctor recommend Gatorade and crackers for a week just to keep any food down. Anyway, I just can stand it since it brings back those memories so have not touched the stuff in years.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 3:48 AM GMT
    I should also mention that water was fine for me when I was only running 5 miles. It wasn't until I started running longer distances and sweating more that I need the Gatorade. Not everyone needs it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 3:57 AM GMT
    new_guyme saidGatorade = Water + sugar

    Electrolytes = there's salt in it

    Gatorade is a scam. They are marketing geniuses, taking what is essentially koolaid and telling people it is a performance enhancing beverage for athletes.

    But I like the flavor of the orange kind.


    Salt Quickes the absoption

    grape gatoraide and pedialite taste the same
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Jul 13, 2011 3:59 AM GMT
    I usually don't care for it, but if I am really, really dehydrated and thirsty, I'll have some. It's rare.

    The last time I had the flu, I was sipping on it and it works fine for that reason.
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    Jul 13, 2011 3:59 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidGatorade is loaded with HFCS. That's why I stopped drinking it.


    what are HFCS
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:10 AM GMT
    OK I don't even have to read the article to tell u about Gatorade. The article said that gatorades claims are bullshit, but that isn't true. Intense athletes use up their electrolytes and usually need something like gatorade when they are working out. Esp football players, marathon runner, and stuff like that. Most other people don't benefit from the supplemental electrolytes and are really only consuming excess sugar and sodium. (Gatorade has an extremely high fluffing load)

    Gatorade does make products, like powerade (I think that's what it's called. It's just gatorade with less sugar) and smart water and stuff which are marketed to the general public. If u ask any dietitian they will tell u that these products are completely useless. Another product that is totally useless like that is vitamin water. Hate tO break it to u.

    But Gatorade is well known for rehydrating professional athletes. They also have a very well known sports medicine research institution. The website for gatorades research, I believe, is gssiweb.com
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:12 AM GMT
    Gatorade is also useful if ur sick!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:13 AM GMT
    i rather drink coconut water
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jul 13, 2011 4:15 AM GMT
    The_Dollarwine said
    paulflexes saidGatorade is loaded with HFCS. That's why I stopped drinking it.


    what are HFCS


    high fructose corn syrup
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:16 AM GMT
    Bleh, I've never cared for any flavors of Gatorade and other similar drinks. Plain water is adequate for me. It's easy enough to turn on the faucet and fill up my water bottle. Ready to go and stay hydrated!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:19 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidGatorade is loaded with HFCS. That's why I stopped drinking it.
    Not anymore. They switched over to either sucrose syrup or glucose syrup sometime ago. Well- the low calorie one is the only one I drink so I may be wrong. icon_razz.gif

    But yeah- Gatorade is overrated. I believe and tell my friends to drink smart water because it's Gatorade without the calories and sugar, but I got bitched out once because it apparently saved some girl's life. And because I quit marching band because I don't tolerate assholes. icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:20 AM GMT
    ...Gatorade is also good for hangover prevention.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:22 AM GMT
    well the one thing they should be looking at is just the actually nutritional timing aspect.

    ingesting carbs and proteins, both BEFORE AND AFTER, how shown great increases in muscle recovery, strength, and hypertrophy. This is cause primarily by the sugars actually (carbs), but the protein helps give an extra boost.

    the both before and after carbohydrate and protein intake raise insulin levels, in an effort to lower the effects of cortisol. The higher the insulin levels, the less effect catabolic affect cortisol has on the body.

    SO, this means that yes while Gatorade is primarily sugars (has salts too, and ions, for those sodium potassium pumps, and ion channels, etc.), it isn't completely useless. While i personally don't drink much of them myself, they do have a positive affect on recovery, and well possibly performance.
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Jul 13, 2011 4:22 AM GMT
    spiderman08 saidOK I don't even have to read the article to tell u about Gatorade. The article said that gatorades claims are bullshit, but that isn't true. Intense athletes use up their electrolytes and usually need something like gatorade when they are working out. Esp football players, marathon runner, and stuff like that. Most other people don't benefit from the supplemental electrolytes and are really only consuming excess sugar and sodium. (Gatorade has an extremely high fluffing load)

    Gatorade does make products, like powerade (I think that's what it's called. It's just gatorade with less sugar) which are marketed to the general public. If u ask any dietitian they will tell u that these products are completely useless. Another product that is totally useless like that is vitamin water. Hate tO break it to u.

    But Gatorade is well known for rehydrating professional athletes. They also have a very well known sports medicine research institution. The website for gatorades research, I believe, is gssiweb.com


    umm... hate to break it you, but you're deluded if you think there's a difference between powerade and vitamin water and gatorade on a chemical level. literally, the electrolytes they are referring to are salts.

    here's a crash course in physiology. there's something called the sodium-potassium pump in your body: you need it to do anything. so when you're exercising heavily, you run through your sodium very quickly, in addition to water (used in cellular respiration in addition to homeostasis), and carbs (which is a fancy way of saying sugar to feed glycolysis for atp production and general calories to power your body).

    on a chemical level, your body doesn't distinguish between gatorade or powerade. sodium chloride is sodium chloride regardless of the liquid is purple or blue. gatorade is convenient because it has the three necessary things to keep the body going, but it really should only be used for endurance sports like marathons or long bike rides where you have to replenish during the activity. but again, people use it because it's convenient, not because it's some amazing thing (it's really more of a hydration thing where you triple up). using it any other time is pointless because you're better off eating a piece of fruit.

    so in conclusion, the reason you think gatorade is magical is because you're a sucker for marketing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2011 4:37 AM GMT
    I know there's a difference but the products are still useless. Unless u can convince me u have a clinical deficiency of vitamin b12 or something? The amount of nutrients they put in those drinks won't affect u much. The stuff like 5 hour energy with a gajjiliom mg of b12 will give u a little energy. Some of the herbal ingredients in those drinks, like guarana might give u energy.

    But generally, completely useless.

    Thank you

    Have a nice day