Whenever I see the Gatorade marketing slogan “Is it in you?” I have an overwhelming urge to scream, “NO!” Energy and sports drinks are some of the most unhealthy things you can drink, but these companies trick health enthusiasts with claims of “all natural energy boosts” and “electrolytes.” While there are indeed B vitamins and electrolytes in some of these drinks, they’re usually hidden beneath a long list of toxic additives. But thanks to a petition posted on Change.org by fifteen-year-old Sarah Kavanagh, PepsiCola is removing one of its harmful ingredients, brominated vegetable oil.
Never heard of it? It’s a flame retardant used as an emulsifier in sports and soft drinks to keep the water and flavoring oils from separating. It’s banned in Japan and the EU due to its pesky penchant for causing such health problems as reproductive and organ cancers, autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, fertility issues and birth defects, behavioral problems in children, and schizophrenia, to name a few. But though PepsiCola is removing BVO from Gatorade, there are dozens of other soft drinks out there that are swimming with this stuff. Be sure to read labels – or just avoid them altogether. They’re nothing but empty calories and sugar anyway.
And don’t think this makes Gatorade the perfect sports drink. It’s still jam packed with sugars – two kinds, actually, sucrose and dextrose (another name for glucose) – as well as neurologically harmful artificial colors (made from petroleum, yumm!) and wood.
Wait, what? Wood?
Yep. The second to last ingredient in Gatorade (right before BVO) is Ester of Rosin. Which is essentially processed pine sap, and it’s used as another emulsifier. There’s not a lot of research out on it but I’ve read a few accounts of people who are allergic to evergreens having a reaction to this ingredient. So… My advice? Skip the Gatorade and grab some coconut water instead. You’ll get all the electrolytes and none of the additives. Or wood.