Since its creation in 1965 at the University of Florida, Gatorade has been used by athletes to quench their thirst and refuel their bodies. Through extensive research, Gatorade and the Gatorade Sport Science Institute have created and recreated a variety of sports drinks that help athletes maintain peak performance. Gatorade is now an extremely popular beverage that is the official sports drink of many organizations, including the NBA, PGA and MLB.
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At its most basic level, Gatorade is designed to quickly rehydrate the body during strenuous exercise. Gatorade is designed to not only provide the water that is needed to rehydrate the body, but also to deliver this water in way that the body prefers. The combination of electrolytes and carbohydrates that are found in Gatorade positively affects the rate at which the body absorbs the fluid.
As people sweat, they lose more than just water--they also lose electrolytes, most notably sodium. The human body is designed to maintain a delicate balance of electrolytes. With the loss of electrolytes through sweat, the body stops working optimally. One example of this is the cramping that many athletes suffer from when they don't properly rehydrate their bodies. Gatorade is designed to deliver the electrolytes athletes need.
In addition to the replacement of lost water, there is also a need to replace fuel lost through activity. The fuel source needed for the majority of activities is carbohydrates. Research conducted by Dr. Robert Cade found that the optimal source for carbohydrate replenishment was a combination of glucose and fructose. The reason for the addition of carbohydrates is actually twofold: in addition to providing a source for energy, carbs also sweeten the drink, making it much more palatable.