As more and more people are making a commitment to health and fitness, the popularity of sports drinks is growing too. The original and most famous sports drink is, of course, Gatorade. Is Gatorade OK for vegans to drink to rehydrate after a workout? We took a closer look to find out.
What are Sports Drinks?
What makes a drink a “sports drink” anyway? According to WebMD, sports drinks are used to replace your body’s water and electrolytes that are lost when you sweat during exercise. Electrolytes are substances such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium that help regulate your body’s fluid levels. Sports drinks also often contain carbohydrates (usually sugars), and sometimes other ingredients like protein, vitamins, and caffeine.
The Story of Gatorade
The history of Gatorade goes back to 1965, according to the official Gatorade website. That year, a University of Florida coach asked a team of doctors to help solve the problem of heat-related illness in athletes. The researchers found that athletes lose fluids, electrolytes, and carbs through sweat. Using that information they formulated a sports drink and named it Gatorade (for the University of Florida Gators).
Is Gatorade Vegan?
Gatorade sports drinks contain many ingredients that are useful to the body after a workout, but is Gatorade vegan? In the years since the original beverage was created, Gatorade has expanded its product line to include other products like shakes, powders, and sports bars. Some of these products have proteins that are derived from milk. But when you look at just the traditional sports drinks, Gatorade says that they don’t add meat or dairy derivatives to their products. However, they cannot confirm or deny if the sugars they use in their drinks are filtered with bone char. They get their sugar from various sources and say that they don’t have the complete filtration information to share with consumers.
It is encouraging for vegans to know that Gatorade sports drinks are certified Kosher, meaning that their filtration processes don’t transfer any materials like bone char into the final product. The PETA website does list regular “Gatorade” as vegan on its list of vegan beverages. Given this information, many vegans will feel confident drinking Gatorade. But if you’re not 100% sure, are there sports drink options that are truly vegan?
Vegan Sports Drinks
Here are some sports drinks that are clearly labeled as vegan:
NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink: These drinks are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan. They are made with organic coconut water and natural sea salt.
True Nopal Cactus Water: This drink contains naturally-occurring electrolytes, antioxidants, and minerals. It’s vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and Kosher.
LyteShow Electrolyte Concentrate for Rapid Rehydration: An all-natural electrolyte replacing liquid concentrate, LyteShow is non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free.
Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Powder: Just add this powder to water to make a vegan sports drink. It’s certified vegan, gluten-free, and caffeine-free.
Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix: A powder you add to water to make an all-natural sports drink. It’s vegan, Kosher, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
Make Your Own Vegan Sports Drink
It’s easy to make your own homemade vegan sports drink once you know what ingredients contain electrolytes. Many nutrition experts report that coconut water is the best source for naturally-occurring electrolytes. You can add some citrus juice, ginger, sea salt, and agave to coconut water for a well-flavored and balanced sports drink. Here’s a super-easy recipe from the food website Epicurious. And here’s an easy DIY sports drink recipe video from the Meat Free Athlete YouTube channel:
How do you rehydrate after a workout? Let us know, we want to hear from you!