When you play football, you sweat considerably. When you do it in the heat and humidity of Florida, you sweat even more.
In the 1960s, coaches at the University of Florida wanted to find a way to combat the performance decreases they saw in their players as practices and games wore on. The players were losing fluids, salts and electrolytes, and plain water wasn’t keeping up with their hydration needs.
So the coaches went to some university scientists to develop a drink that would rehydrate and replenish the players faster than plain water. The Florida mascot is the Gator, so Gatorade sprang into existence and quickly became popular.
But Is Gatorade Vegan?
When asking the question, “Is Gatorade vegan,” one should consider Gatorade contains no animal products — a lack of meats, obviously, but it also comes without or gelatin products — so in that sense, the drink is vegan.
However, some vegans have an issue with Gatorade for a few reasons.
Some artificial colors come from animals. Certain red hues, for example, come from a Peruvian insect called a cochineal (though scientists are perfecting an animal-friendly version). The majority of artificial colors don’t come from animals, though.
Some vegans stand against artificial dyes and coloring because they’re almost all associated with animal testing. Blue #1 and blue #2 are entirely free of animal products, but researchers have fed animals enough of each color to kill them and ascertain a maximum intake amount.
One of the key ingredients in Gatorade and other sports drinks is sugar. Since you need to replace carbs after a workout, the sugar stands as an essential part — it provides those much-needed carbohydrates.
But most refined sugars use bone char during the refining process, and it’s usually derived from cattle bones.
Organic sugars generally don’t use bone char, and some manufacturers also avoid it. However, there’s no way to know what kind of sugar got used in the batch of Gatorade you’re drinking. If the use of animal products in some ingredients is an issue for you, then Gatorade shouldn’t be your drink of choice.
In yet another case of not knowing exactly what’s what, natural flavorings can be misleading. Technically, a natural flavor is derived from any number of sources — fruits, vegetables, roots, and other plant materials. According to the FDA, its primary function has to be for flavoring rather than nutritional value.
Food producers might derive some of those flavors from meat, eggs and dairy. Unless the ingredient list on any food product specifically states that the natural flavors are vegan or animal-friendly, you can’t trust for sure that they are.