Gatorade is a sports drink marketed to both professional athletes and people who make strenuous exercise a part of their lifestyle. Gatorade's nutrition facts label boasts two important electrolytes -- sodium and potassium -- vital to keeping body fluids in balance. However, Gatorade also contains sugar, which makes up the sum total of its carbohydrate count.
Gatorade sports drinks have been around for an impressive half-century. In 1965, researchers developed a scientifically formulated beverage for the University of Florida Gators football team designed to replenish the body fluids and electrolytes players lost during the course of a strenuous game. The manufacturers of Gatorade produce three beverage lines: the original G Series, the G Series Pro created for professional athletes and G Natural, which is made with natural ingredients, such as sea salt and natural sweeteners. The G Series includes beverages with nutrient contents tailored to specific athletic needs, including those to prime your body before physical activity, replenish your body during your workout and help you recover post-exercise.
Gatorade and Sugar
A single 8-oz. serving of original Gatorade -- now called Gatorade Perform 02 -- contains 50 calories and gives you 14 g of sugar. As noted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, there's no daily reference value established for sugar; the sugar content in original Gatorade goes toward its total carbohydrate content of 14 g, or 6 percent of your Daily Value, or DV. The same serving of Gatorade also contains 110 mg of sodium and 30 mg of potassium, which give you 5 and 1 percent of your DV, respectively. The Gatorade Prime 01 beverage contains the most sugar -- 23 g per 118 mL pouch -- for a total of 100 calories. An 8-oz. serving of Gatorade Recover 03 contains 6 g of sugar and a total of 60 calories.
If the amount of sugar in Gatorade is your primary concern, the manufacturer also offers a lower-calorie version of the original beverage, which gives you the same amount of sodium and potassium but only 20 calories per 8-oz. serving. A serving of low-calorie Gatorade Perform 02 contains only 5g of sugar, or 2 percent of your DV from carbohydrates.
About Nutrition Facts Labels
The nutrition facts labels on your beverages tell you everything you need to know about Gatorade and similar sports drinks. The FDA advises paying close attention to the serving size listed on the label so you'll know exactly how much sugar and other nutrients you're consuming at one time. The "% Daily Value" tells you, at a glance, if your sports drink is high or low in specific nutrients. According to the FDA, a simple way to interpret this column is to remember that a DV of 5 percent of less is considered low, and a DV of 20 percent or more is considered high. DV percentages are based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories.
Sports Drinks Tips
The carbohydrates in Gatorade -- in this case, sugar -- can give you more energy, and its potassium and sodium can help maintain electrolyte balance. However, according to MayoClinic.Com, if your workout lasts less than an hour, hydrating with plain water is a better option. Drink 2 to 3 cups of water prior to exercising, and a cup every 15 to 20 minutes while you engage in physical activity. After your workout, drink another 2 to 3 cups of water for every pound of weight you lost during exercise, advises MayoClinic.Com. Keep in mind that you must drink enough water to replenish the amount of fluid you lose during the course of the day -- and even more on hot, muggy days.