Get schooled on the history of Gatorade

A trip down memory lane for the sports drink you don’t know the flavors of but call them by their color

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Tiaran Vokes

Gatorade, an alternative to water when doing physical activities in the heat.

Tiaran Vokes, Staff Writer

If you look around at a sports event, you’ll see players and spectators drinking Gatorade. But where did this drink come from and when? Why are these people drinking Gatorade, and are there benefits from drinking this popular sports drink? What’s the most popular flavor? These are the questions I ask myself and maybe even you do the same when you see people drinking the popular sports drink, so it’s time to find out the answers.

 

To answer the first question about Gatorade, it was created in 1965 by a group of scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The group of scientists was led by a man named Robert Cade and other members included Dana Shires, Harry James Free, and Alejandro de Quesada. The reason why these scientists were working on a sports drink was because the head coach, Ray Graves wanted to see if there was a way to replace the body fluids that were being lost during the football games and training. In the early stages of the drink, it consisted of a mixture of water, sodium, sugar, potassium, phosphate, and lemon juice. The original two flavors were lemon-lime and orange. Ten football players tested these two flavored versions during practices and games in 1965 and the tests were deemed successful. Why was it deemed successful though? Apparently, the answer to that is because it allowed the team to play better. The football team accredited Gatorade as a contributor to winning their first Orange Bowl win, and because of this Gatorade started gaining popular attraction. In 1969, Robert Cade made an agreement with Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. to make Gatorade a commercial product and in the same year Gatorade was made the official sports drink of the National Football League, which is why Gatorade is so popular now. The next question to ask is if there’s any benefits from drinking Gatorade? As I did some research, I came across a website healthline.com and found a medically reviewed article titled “Gatorade: Is It Good For You?” According to the article, there are benefits to drinking Gatorade as long as you are drinking it while doing physical activities. While exercising or participating in physical activities our bodies lose electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Electrolytes help our bodies maintain ionic balance and with the help of sports drinks like Gatorade we are able to replace them to keep that balance and to not get worn out while participating in physical activities. The University of California at Berkeley reported that sports drinks may be better than water for children and athletes who engage in prolonged activities outside in the heat to improve performance.

 

Now let’s get down to business; when did Gatorade start adding new flavors and what‘s the most popular flavor of Gatorade? It wasn’t until the late 1990s when Gatorade started adding new flavors for the popular sports drink. New flavors included Watermelon, Cherry Rush, and Strawberry Kiwi. So what is the most popular flavor? The only way to tell is by looking up the top selling flavor of Gatorade, and according to sportsdrinksusa.com the top selling flavor is…..Lemon-Lime. Number two goes to Glacier Freeze and number 3 goes to Cool Blue Gatorade. That was a shock to me, I thought glacier freeze would be the top selling flavor  because it’s the one I hear about most. I asked some of my friends what their favorite flavors of Gatorade were and they said Lemon-Lime, Glacier Freeze, Grape, and Cool Blue.

 

So, in conclusion, Gatorade does not come from alligators but instead was a beverage formulated to help University of Florida football players to perform better when training and playing games.

photo caption: Gatorade, an alternative to water when doing physical activities in the heat. Photo provided by Tiaran