An Ingredient to Avoid in Sports Drinks

Mj 618_348_sports drink cuts harmful ingredient
Tony Cordoza / Getty Images

Soon you won’t have to guzzle flame retardant in your Gatorade. In January, parent company PepsiCo pledged to ditch the toxic ingredient brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from the drink. BVO, which contains bromine, an ingredient used to keep couches and carpets from catching fire, is added to beverages like Gatorade, Powerade, Mountain Dew, and some citrus sodas to protect flavor. But research shows that BVO accumulates in fatty tissues and may cause serious health problems. “For people who frequently consume one or two liters of a drink with BVO, there’s a real risk of organ damage,” says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Drinking smaller amounts may not have any ill effect, but it’s impossible to know for sure.” Jacobson says that even though the FDA deems BVO safe, not enough testing has been done on the ingredient, which is not approved for use in Europe and is banned in Japan. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid BVO-containing beverages, since the FDA requires drinkmakers to list it on labels.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!