Disadvantages of Drinking Gatorade

Gatorade is a sports drink that claims to benefit athletic performance, and professional athletes promote the beverage. While Gatorade may offer advantages in some circumstances, such as fueling endurance activities, Gatorade isn't an optimal sports beverage and can prove detrimental to your health in some ways. The rest of your diet will also have an effect on whether Gatorade is appropriate for your not.

Some of Gatorade's effects may be detrimental to your goals. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Erosion and Tooth Decay

Gatorade's high sugar content may make it detrimental for your overall health. Each 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade contains 34 grams of sugar, which is nearly 2.5 times the amount in a 1/2 cup serving of ice cream. In addition, Gatorade contains citric acid. According to the American Dental Association, both sugar and citric acid can promote tooth decay and erosion of your teeth.

Reduced Testosterone

Although Gatorade is purported to enhance athletic performance, some features of the drink can actually be counterproductive for athletes. One factor is the high sugar content; a study performed at the Massachusetts General Hospital found that consuming a large dose of sugar reduced testosterone production. According to research published in the June 2009 edition of the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism," higher testosterone levels improved endurance, muscle size and strength, in a group of older men, so it's possible that reducing your testosterone production through overconsumption of sugar could hinder your athletic ability.

Upset Stomach

Although carbohydrates can be helpful for promoting energy, certain types, such as sugar, may be disadvantageous. Consuming too much sugar during or before exercise may result in an upset stomach, which can hinder your performance.

Fatigue

Athletic activity can be tiring, and drinking a sugar-laden drink such as Gatorade may actually make you feel more tired. This is because sugar causes an initial increase in blood sugar levels that is followed by a dramatic reduction, which can make you feel fatigued. Complex carbohydrates, found in whole grain products and certain nutrition bars and drinks, are preferable because they provide sustained energy and don't cause large fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Weight Management

Drinking Gatorade may impair your ability to manage your weight, as it is calorie dense, with 130 per 12 ounce serving. Additionally, Gatorade contains no fiber, which can help suppress appetite. Gatorade also has a high glycemic index rating, as it contains sugars but no protein or fat. According to a study from the June 2011 edition of "Journal of Nutrition," consuming high-glycemic foods can impair your weight loss efforts. Additionally, the fact that Gatorade is a liquid can also be detrimental, as high-calorie liquids are less filling than solid food.

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