The Chemistry of Gatorade

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Introduction
Gatorade is a sport’s drink that was originally created for athletes, though it is now drank by many non-athletes.  It was created by Dr. Robert Cade and Dr. Dana Shires at the University of Florida. Its purpose is to not only rehydrate, but to replace the carbohydrates, salts, vitamins, and minerals lost in perspiration.  I chose Gatorade because it is one of my favorite drinks. Being in Conditioning, having a lot of caffeinated drinks is bad for me.  Therefore, I prefer Gatorade.
Composition of ...
Filtered Water
    • Simply water that has been filtered of impurities
Brominated Vegetable Oil
    • This prevents citrus oils from rising to the surface. Also maintains stability of flavor mixture.
Sucralose
    • Some sugar-free varieties of Gatorade contain this. It also enhances flavor and sweetness. Sucralose is sold commercially as Splenda.
Citric Acid
    • Added for flavor and acts as a preservative.
Natural Flavors
    • Natural and Artificial flavors add flavors that could not be added if fruit juice were used.
Salt
    • Enhances flavor and helps regulate fluids in the body
Sodium Citrate
    • Enhances flavor and maintains stability of active ingredients
Mono-potassium Phosphate
    • A source of phosphate. Approved by the FDA as a heart healthy food.
Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin
    • Used to keep oils from floating to surface. Declared by The National Institute of Public Health as safe for human consumption.
Artificial Colors
    • Used to help the consumer differentiate between flavors.  The least amount of dye possible is used.
Sucrose-Dextrose Blend
    • Used to provide energy to the athlete.  It is now in the place of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Functionally, it does the same thing.  However, Gatorade states that the taste of the new blend is preferred in taste tests.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Sucralose
    • C12H19Cl3O8
    • Sucralose is the same as Sucrose, except 3 of the OH- ions have been replaced with Cl-. The human body has no enzymes to digest sucralose, and it is therefore non-caloric.  It is also approximately 600 times sweeter than normal table sugar. It is not naturally occuring.
Citric Acid
    • C6H8O7
    • Citric Acid is a weak, organic acid that is commonly used as a preservative and to add sour flavors to drinks.  It is naturally found in many acidic fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes.

Background Research

Gatorade is made primarily for athletes, and functions as an electrolyte replacement beverage.  It was created by Dr. Robert Cade and Dr. Dana Shires at the University of Florida. Its purpose is to not only rehydrate, but to replace the carbohydrates, salts, vitamins, and minerals lost in perspiration.  It is a mixture of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and water.  It contains 6 mL of carbohydrates per 100 mL of solution, making it a 6% carbohydrate beverage.  This concentration is found to taste best and moves through the stomach the easiest.  It is the most efficient.  Gatorade is currently produced by Pepsi-Co Inc.

Resources
  • Composition of Gatorade and purpose of ingredients

  • Information about Sucrose-Dextrose blend vs. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Citric Acid information


About the Author

RJ Hallsted is a senior at Billings Senior High.  He plans to intern at his church next year and is excited for summer.
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