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Health

Is Gatorade Good or Bad for You?

Gatorade is a famous vitamin-rich sports drink specifically designed to hydrate a person during and after training sessions. Athletes and non-athletes alike are attracted to the multi-flavored drink due to its sweet taste and ease of use. Although Gatorade offers an excellent source to provide athletes with crucial electrolytes during exercise, drinking too much of this sports drink can bring serious side effects to the health.

Electrolytes mainly regulate muscle and nerve function. The level of electrolytes goes down when water levels are reduced, resulting in perspiration and subsequently an imbalance in these fundamental elements. Researchers developed Gatorade as a quick way for athletes to replenish the lost electrolytes and enhance their peak performance. When used as needed and in low amounts, Gatorade does a good job of providing hydration and delivering much-needed electrolytes.

However, the sports beverage can actually be harmful to one’s health when not used as originally intended. For instance, the second main ingredient in Gatorade (after water) is sugar. And while natural sugars are okay, the added sugars in Gatorade can be problematic and may lead to health issues such as obesity, coronary heart disease and tooth decay.

So while Gatorade may be great for athletes in heavy workout sessions, it can also be very dangerous for people drinking the beverage on the regular basis. Having a bottle of Gatorade on and off should be harmless, and most side effects are caused when it becomes a regular part of a person’s diet. Here are some of the common side effects seen occurring from drinking too much Gatorade.

Weight Gain

One of the most common side effects of drinking excess Gatorade is weight gain. On estimate, each 32-oz. Gatorade bottle contains 200 calories. If a person burns fewer calories, then the extra calories get stored as fat and eventually cause weight gain.

Vitamin Toxicity

Gatorade is enriched with a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A. Fat-soluble vitamins expelled from the body once consumed in large quantities, so adverse effects may occur. Consuming more than the recommended amount of vitamin A also leads to vitamin toxicity or hypervitaminosis A, which include symptoms such as blurred vision, fatigue, headache and nausea.

Hyponatremia

A very serious and sometimes lethal side effect of drinking too much Gatorade is hyponatremia, which happens when cells get over hydrated causing dangerously low sodium levels in the body. Although hyponatremia usually occurs from drinking too much water, it is also likely to occur if a person drinks too much Gatorade. Many athletes feel re-hydrating with Gatorade is a good idea, and so more is better, but in reality, drinking Gatorade excessively could be dangerous.

High Blood Pressure

A 32-oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 800 mg of sodium, which is 33 percent of the daily recommended dose. Consuming too much Gatorade may lead to high blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that excess salt in the diet can cause high blood pressure and other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

High Blood Sugar

There are 56 g of sugar in a regular Gatorade bottle. Although restoring sugar levels lost during exercise is mainly a good idea, taking too much sugar can lead to high blood sugar, which can be very dangerous. Since every person’s physiology and tendency is different from others, there is really no standard amount of sugar that can be considered too much to consume for all people. For instance, some people like diabetics may get high blood sugar from drinking even half a bottle of Gatorade, while it may take several bottles to cause high blood sugar in others.

Tom Brendon

Tom Brendon has completed his nutrition undergrad in the UK and received his Master's degree from Canada in health education and specializes in human health and pediatrics. He began his career as a writer for Nutritionline in 2014 and Authority Health in 2016. He has considerable research experience and currently writes nutrition and health articles for general readership. He enjoys outdoor activities, snowboarding and spending quality time with family and friends.

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