Fade away the Gatorade

Susie DeRoss, Editor-in-Chief

At Joliet West, students are provided with several beverage options at lunch.  There’s water, milk, juice, SoBe Lifewater, and Gatorade.  They all seem to be decent drink choices; not the most nutritious brands but definitely not the least.  There is one drink that should be eliminated as an option at lunch, though: Gatorade.

Gatorade was originally made in 1965 for University of Florida football players.  The drink’s main components are water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.  The drink was the start of the billion-dollar sports drink industry that exists today.  Gatorade, along with other drinks, can be great beverages, for athletes.

The carbohydrates in the drink provide athletes with extra energy, and the electrolytes help their process of sweating.  However, unless you are performing physical activity, these two ingredients can be considered bad for you.  The carbohydrates are really only empty calories that most people do not need.  The electrolytes are similar.  Electrolytes are actually salts, and the main salt in Gatorade and other sports drinks is sodium.  The average person consumes too much sodium in a given day, and sports drinks are not helping with that.  The percent daily value of sodium in sports drinks can actually exceed that of a can of soda.

The drink is definitely not all bad.  As mentioned earlier, it can be very beneficial for athletes, but it should still be taken away as an option at lunch.  During the day, most Joliet West students have a physical education class and it’s not uncommon for students to work hard, burn calories, and sweat.  Water can do the exact same job as Gatorade though, so students who need to stay hydrated should turn to water before sports drinks because they don’t necessarily need the extra carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Gatorade does not have to be completely eliminated from the school.  There are vending machines by the gyms that already contain sports drinks and Gatorade should just be added into those.  This would keep the drink available for athletes after school when the vending machines are turned on before practices.  This is a small step in providing students with good nutrition, but it can still make a difference.