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What is Gatorade®?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gatorade®, or Gatorade® G as the product was re-branded as in early 2009, is a popular sports drink invented in 1965 by a team of researchers at the University of Florida. The drink is named in honor of the University's Florida Gators athletic teams. It was developed by university researchers after the assistant coach asked the research team to help figure out a way to help athletes cope with the hot weather. When research revealed that the athletes were losing electrolytes and important fluids as well as carbohydrates through sweating, Gatorade® was formulated to replace the lost nutrients.

Carbohydrates are biomolecules that transport and store energy in the body. Electroyltes are salts and minerals needed to be replenished in the body. Interestingly, the Florida Gators started improving in their wins overall after the teams began drinking the Gatorade® at games. Other university sports teams started ordering Gatorade® and by 1983, the product was the National Football League's (NFL) official sports drink. It later became the official drink of many professional sports groups.

In 1998, the Gatorade® Sports Science Institute was formed in Barrington, Illinois to continue research in the area of electrolyte and carbohydrate loss in athletes. The Gatorade® In-Car Drinking System was developed in 2001 to successfully help racecar drivers stay properly hydrated during races in high temperatures. Also in 2001, the Gatorade® Performance Series drink, energy bar and shake were launched. In 2005, Gatorade® Endurance products were created to especially address the electrolyte needs of endurance athletes such as runners.

The Gatorade® Endurance Formula sports drink has a high sodium level as needed by endurance athletes, but most other varieties of Gatorade® are low in sodium. Sodium in one type of electrolyte lost through sweat -- potassium, magnesium and calcium are others. Gatorade®, or Gatorade® G, contains varying amount of electrolytes depending on the particular drink line. Many of the sports drinks contain vitamins and most have corn syrup as a carbohydrate. Gatorade&re; flavors are natural and include the original, lemon lime, as well as orange, Fruit Punch and grape varieties.

One Gatorade® product line, Propel Fit, is artificially sweetened. It was first launched in 2000 and calcium was added to the line in 2006. The crisp and light Rain flavor of Gatorade® was brought out in 2006 with the name later changed to No Excuses in 2009. Gatorade® 2, or G2, a successful low calorie version of Gatorade®, was introduced in 2007 in blended flavors such as Blueberry-Pomegranate and Strawberry-Kiwi.

The Gatorade® Tiger sports drink was created in 2008 for golf pro Tiger Woods. Woods chose Cool Fusion/Lemon Lime, Red Drive/Cherry and Quiet Storm/Grape for the product's flavor options. In the 2009 re-branding of at least six Gatorade® product lines, the Tiger drink was renamed Focus. Theanine, an amino acid found in tea thought to improve mental concentration, was added to the drink. Tiger Woods continued to endorse the new Gatorade® Focus line.

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