About Gatorade

This is kind of random, but it’s actually really important to my training. A couple of dojo mates asked about this recently, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here, too.

But first… I’m not a doctor. This is all just my own understanding, and my personal experience. And no, Gatorade didn’t give me any free product or anything.

Gatorade was created to help football players stay hydrated and keep their energy up. Players perform better late in the game when they drink Gatorade compared to just water. It’s not an “energy drink” with caffeine or anything to make you hyper/awake. It works better than water alone because it contains sugar, sodium, and potassium.

I always have at least a decent snack (like raw nuts and a banana) before I go to class, and drink lots of water before, during, and after training. Staying well hydrated helps me avoid vertigo (BPPV) and orthostatic hypotension (y’know, when you stand up suddenly and start to white out – time to sit back down). In addition to eating something and drinking water, I’ve been pretty consistently drinking Gatorade between classes. If I don’t, I run out of steam and get stupid and slow halfway through the second class, which is often more vigorous training. Low blood sugar. By the way, I’ve tested my blood sugar before, during, and after training, and drinking Gatorade does not cause it to spike.

I like the little packets of powder (they each make a quart) because I can keep it in my dojo bag and add it to my water bottle. It’s also great for traveling to seminars. Easier to carry than a case of bottles! I usually use it at half-strength – less powder, more water – and just drink more of it.

The little powder packets for the flavor I like – Frost Glacier Freeze (light blue) – have disappeared lately. I’m guessing that’s because it contained bromated vegetable oil (BVO), which PepsiCo is now removing from at least the Gatorade line. So… I’ve been looking for a new flavor, and in the process I’ve been learning a bit about the different kinds.

It turns out the sweeter flavors that I don’t like (usually fruity flavors) are made with just sucrose. Correction – the whole Thirst Quencher line has sucrose and dextrose. It’s the G2 products that are just sucrose. You can find more info here: http://www.pepsicobeveragefacts.com/infobycategory.phpThe less-sweet (but not “Low Calorie”) kind I’ve been drinking, turns out to have sucrose and dextrose, which is less sweet-tasting. This is a good thing (for me, anyway) because sucrose is broken down into dextrose and fructose, and I’m pretty sure my body doesn’t like fructose. More dextrose means less fructose. I think fructose is a factor in my neuropathy acting up when I eat apples, and in the episode of gout I had a while back, after (among other things) pigging out on grapes.

So anyway, I’ve found that the Riptide Rush flavor is a sucrose/dextrose blend. I’ll probably end up getting that, but I want to try a bottle of it before I order a case of 144 packets. I’ve searched high and low for the darned stuff, and have discovered that it tends to be sold through construction and forestry supply companies, for work crews. They even sell pouches that make 5 gallons at a time, for those big orange drink coolers you see on all their trucks. 

I can’t recommend a particular supplier (yet), since I haven’t ordered any, but I’ve noticed a huge variation in prices (almost 2x in some instances). If you want to find the stuff, try Googling these keywords: 
     gatorade powder 2.12 oz Riptide

If I find a particularly awesome supplier I’ll update this.

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