Gatorade is a sport drink targeted toward athletes, but you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from drinking it. Gatorade was developed to combat the loss of fluids and electrolytes from perspiration. It is advertised as a thirst quencher as well as an effective beverage to rehydrate the body. It comes in a variety of sizes and flavors. A low-calorie version, called G2, also is available.
Any type of physical activity, such as cleaning, exercising or just walking, depletes the body of energy. Regardless of perspiration, the body loses some of its resources from being active. The amount of resources lost and the rate at which they are depleted depend on the duration and intensity of the physical exertion as well as the temperature. Although water may quench your thirst and replace lost bodily fluid, it does not sufficiently rehydrate the body after extended periods of exercise or exertion because it does not restore lost electrolytes. Electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are required for cells and organs in the body to function properly and to help the kidneys maintain a proper fluid balance in the body. .
Drinking Gatorade intermittently during periods of activity has been found to significantly increase endurance. In a study published in the April 2009 issue of "Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism," researchers found that drinking Gatorade during prolonged cycling in the heat preserved leg muscles, which increased the endurance of cyclists during five trial runs, compared to a group that drank only water. Researchers concluded that the sodium concentration in Gatorade was specifically responsible for these results.
Electrolytes are not just lost from sweat. Vomiting and diarrhea cause the body to lose significant amounts of fluids and can severely deplete the body of electrolytes. Repetitive instances of vomiting and diarrhea may occur with stomach flu. The stomach flu is a viral illness that typically lasts a week. According to a study reported at the 2005 meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology and summarized on the Fox News website, Gatorade is effective as an electrolyte beverage in rehydrating and treating diarrhea for children suffering from the stomach flu. It also is effective for adults with flu. Like Pedialyte, Gatorade contains significant amounts of the electrolytes sodium and potassium.
Despite its positive qualities, drinking too much Gatorade can be bad for your health. One of the main reasons is its sugar content. According to the American Heart Association, women should not consume more than 24 grams of sugar per day. Men are recommended not to exceed 36 grams daily. However, a 16 ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 28 grams of sugar. The acidity in Gatorade also is associated with dental erosion. Enamel and root surfaces of teeth were most damaged by Gatorade, compared to some energy drinks, coca-cola and apple juice, according to a study published by "Nutrition Research" in May 2008 in which the surfaces of healthy molar teeth were exposed to these different drinks for 25 hours and then evaluated.