Where Are We Getting Our Advice?

“Proper nutrition and hydration are key ingredients in helping your clients get the most out of their workouts. Keep in mind that since every person is different, exact needs will vary. However, here are some general guidelines…” began an article which I received in my inbox today.

This newsletter is one I receive from IDEA, which I am a member of. IDEA is a a large professional fitness directory.

Guess who they’re affiliated with?

Good old Gatorade, and in today’s newsletter, the subject line is “Nutrition Tips from Gatorade”.

If that doesn’t set the stage for what’s to come, I don’t know what does!

Then, we are given three tips:

  • Start on the Right Foot: Make sure clients start workouts well hydrated and fueled
  • Check-in During Workouts: Ensure your clients are hydrating as they sweat
  • Make Recovery a Priority: Consuming protein and hydrating adequately are pivotal following a workout

Generally speaking, this advice isn’t too far fetched, but if you read between the lines, there is a subtle suggestion to just how those clients might become fueled before, hydrated during and adequately stocked on protein afterward, in the forms of Gatorade’s powdered electrolyte product, ‘thirst quenching beverage’ and a post workout banana, glass of chocolate milk and low fat yogurt, as per the infographic which accompanies this post.

It gets worse.

Not only are we as consumers being given this sage advice, but professionals are too; Gatorade has an institute.

Per wikipedia, The Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) was established in 1985 and is headquartered in Barrington, Illinois. Its goal is to “share current information and expand knowledge on sports nutrition and exercise science that enhance the performance and well-being of athletes.

Oh, one more thing; I almost forgot to mention that Gatorade is manufactured by PepsiCo, one of the sponsors of the USDA.

As much as it might be nice to believe that when we see another high performing, pro athlete downing a bottle of this chartreuse liquid that we, too need this as a great source of electrolyte replacement, we’ve got to take the high road and sift through the information, where it’s coming from and who benefits when we heed the advice given.

A great article on Livestrong breaks down not only the ingredients, but what they do:

Brominated Vegetable Oil

BMV or brominated vegetable oil is added to certain beverages that contain citrus oils. BMV helps prevent the oils from rising to the surface. It also ensures the stability of the flavor mixture. It is derived from soybean.


Some sugar free varieties of Gatorade contain sucralose, a non-calorie artificial sweetener. Sucralose is added simply to enhance flavor and provide sweetness. Sucralose is sold as Splenda.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

The high fructose corn syrup in Gatorade is a combination of two to three carbohydrates. The high fructose corn syrup contributes glucose, sucrose and fructose to the sports drink. Each is added according to results of scientific data to ensure fluid absorption, energy delivery and desirable taste.

Citric Acid

Citric acid is added for flavor and to act as a preservative.

Natural Flavors

Natural and artificial flavors are added to enhance the flavor that cannot be supplied if fruit juice or certain spices were to be used.


Salt, also known as potassium chloride, is used to enhance taste. It is present in Gatorade to help regulate fluid balance in the body.

Sodium Citrate

Sodium citrate is added to Gatorade to enhance flavor and maintain the stability of active ingredients.

Monopotassium Phosphate

Monopotassium phosphate is added as a source of phosphate and has been approved by the FDA as a heart healthy food.

Glycerol Ester of Wood Rosin

Glycerol ester of wood rosin is used in products that contain citric oils. It prevents the oils from floating to the surface of beverages. It is harvested from the stumps of pine and purified to beverage grade gum. The National Institute of Public Health has declared glycerol ester of wood rosin safe for human consumption.

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors are listed in the ingredients as various dyes or a color with a number. According to Gatorade.com, the colors in Gatorade are present to help consumers differentiate the different flavors. Colors and dyes used in Gatorade are suitable for human consumption as directed by the FDA. The least amount of dye is used to achieve the desired color.

What a brilliant business model!

Fund research geared to demonstrate that a high carb diet (not just high carb, but high refined carb, with corn syrup, no less) is one that is indicated for performance amongst athletes, send out messages to the masses and voila!

Don’t forget the age old advice that everything in moderation is the way to go, including the addictive legal drug, sugar, and you’re ensuring repeat consumers, too.

Add to that the idea that when experts, medical doctors, functional medicine practitioners, elite coaches and the like present topics on the body being fat adapted and all its health benefits, they can be ostracized and ousted from professional circles and networks they may have once had a home in.

Let’s go back about a century.

Maybe there was no ironman racing (there were marathons) but one thing’s for sure; people worked a lot harder from a physical perspective and they weren’t eating items in packages.

Forget about what you feel you believe in, be it Paleo, or Vegan or Gluten free.. and ask yourself if you’re eating food. Did it grow where you live?  Did it run or swim where you live?  How many steps did it take for it to get onto your plate?  How colorful is it?

This is what food is all about.

Whether you’re trying to perform as an athlete, an executive, a busy mom or a human being, we all just need food.

So…eat food. And move!