Gatorade: Don’t Drink the Gatorade

Gatorade, full of sugar and salt and other sweat-replenishing ingredients, wasn't designed for rest days. The Manning brothers agree with this: If they catch you cracking open a bottle without working out first, they may force you to run speed drills right there in the glow of the vending machine. Same goes for defensive end J.J. Watt, who makes his point by wordlessly upending said vending machine with a single shove. 

All three of these players appear in the surprisingly on-target Gatorade ads — more like public service announcements — that are part of their  "Sweat It to Get It" campaign. The videos are funny and guaranteed to make the rounds in all your social feeds, but, beyond the promise of virality these videos are spot-on from a sports nutritionist's perspective, delivering an important message about the misuse of sports drinks.

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"Excess sodium intake can be a problem for individuals with, or at high risk for hypertension or kidney disease, or with diabetes," says Lauren Antonucci, a board-certified sports nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Energy. Antonucci works with Gatorade Sports Science Institute for athletic events like the New York City marathon to help educate athletes on best practices in sports nutrition and hydration. While the high sodium content of Gatorade is problematic for sedentary individuals, it can be beneficial to those participating in sweaty, high-intensity workouts. "For athletes and athletic individuals, we don't generally have to be concerned with sodium intake and, on the contrary, work hard to ensure adequate sodium intake before, during and after exercise to maintain hydration status or help replace fluids lost to sweat," she says.

The same thing goes for Gatorade's 21 grams of sugar per serving. Antonucci explains that for athletes, "we again want these individual to take in carbs (from sugar), before, during and after exercise, in order to maintain energy level, focus and reaction time." But, if your biggest plan for the day is a Netflix marathon, stick to water. "For those who are overweight and not active, they really need to reduce their overall sugar intake from all sources, including beverages," says Antonucci.


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