Is Gatorade Gluten Free

  • Gatorade is a widely popular energy drink used by athletes.
  • It is produced by PepsiCo and available in more than 80 nations.
  • This sports-themed drink is not made from any gluten-containing ingredients.
  • Even though Gatorade may be considered gluten free because of the absence of glutinous ingredients, its status is not tested. 

Is Gatorade gluten free? Every athlete who reads this article is asking this question right now. Not a lot of people know what Gatorade really is, and in this article we will touch on all the different items relating to this popular drink.

During practice sessions, as well as actual matches, every athlete loses electrolytes and fluids. These are the effects of heat during physically strenuous activities, and they can make you ill. So is there a solution to this problem? Why, of course, there is! And it’s called Gatorade.

Gatorade is an energy drink, designed to replenish electrolytes and carbs in your body. At the same time, it hydrates the body. And, you don’t really need to be a pro athlete to be hooked to this drink. But, the question on everyones mind is Gatorade gluten free?

There’s no way to give a straight answer to this. This drink is made from ingredients that are gluten free. However, the label of the product does not mention anything about its gluten free status. So, if you are severely sensitive to gluten, Gatorade may not be a good fit for you. 

Is Gatorade Gluten Free?

Gatorade is hugely popular, not only among sportsmen but also among children or even non-athletic people who spend a lot of time on their feet all day.

The company produces many other products. But, when we say “Gatorade”, we mean its most famous item, i.e., Original Gatorade Thirst Quencher.  

This line of sports drinks is their signature product, available in different flavours. And, this sports drink, which is “born in the lab”, can be categorized as a product with no gluten content.

This means that the formulation of this beverage does not use any glutinous cereal like wheat, barley, or rye. 

As a result, people believe that it is gluten free. However, there are other factors that determine whether a product can be called gluten free or not. And, even though Gatorade is not made from glutinous ingredients, the beverage has not been tested to prove its status.  

In addition, cross-contamination is a possibility. This means that during the time of manufacturing or processing the drink, it is possible for its ingredients to be exposed to gluten. As a result, there may be gluten traces found in the beverage. 

Many people with gluten intolerance or celiac have reported that the consumption of Gatorade has not triggered allergic reactions. However, if you are severely allergic to gluten, then you can experience some discomfort. 

Watch out for symptoms like headaches, frequent urination, or backache, which might indicate that your body is not happy with this beverage. You can try a small amount of the drink to test how it affects you. You can also speak to your doctor to discuss if Gatorade is a suitable sports drink for you. 

What is Cross-Contamination?

Many food items that are made from non-gluten ingredients often end up with traces of gluten. This is because of cross-contamination. As a result, these products may contain more than the permissible limit of gluten in them. 

But what is cross-contamination, and how does it change the gluten free status of a food item or a beverage? A product may come in contact with gluten-rich products during the time of processing or storage.

It is also possible that its naturally gluten free ingredients have been exposed to gluten.

As a result, the final product can contain very small amounts of gluten. Cross-contamination usually happens as a result of shared facilities, i.e., when the product and its ingredients are processed in the same facilities as a gluten-rich product. 

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It can hamper the gluten status of a food item or beverage that’s made with gluten free ingredients and should otherwise be naturally gluten free.

A product can be called gluten free if the amount of gluten in it is less than 20 ppm. Gatorade hasn’t undergone a test to determine its gluten content.

What are Sports Drinks?

is gatorade gluten free
via Patrick McDermott / Stringer / Getty Images

So, you know that Gatorade is a popular sports drink. But what kind of beverages can be categorized as a sports drink? All sports drinks do the same thing that Gatorade does: restore electrolytes in the body and keep you hydrated. They may contain carbs, as well as vitamins, caffeine, or protein.

Athletes use these because they lose much of their body fluids and electrolytes in the form of sweat while training or during a game. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These substances help with the regulation of the levels of body fluids.  

A Little Bit about Gatorade 

When we talk about sports drinks, the first name that pops in our head is usually Gatorade. As mentioned earlier, it is made from non-glutinous ingredients. Still, it is not labelled as a gluten free drink as it has not undergone any testing process to determine that the possible gluten content in the drink, resulting from cross-contamination, is below the permissible limit of 20 ppm. 

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This drink is a product of the world-class beverage brand, PepsiCo. It’s no wonder that this energy drink is trusted across the world, not only by athletes but also by youngsters and people who are always active.

This beverage is manufactured without glutinous ingredients like wheat, barley, and rye. But, it’s always a good idea to check the list of ingredients to know more about the product.  

Besides gluten, Gatorade’s list of ingredients is also free from the seven other major allergens:

  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Tree nut
  • Peanut 

It also does not contain lupin, celery, mollusc, sesame, and mustard, either. This means that even if you’re allergic to any of these items or groups, you will not experience side effects by drinking Gatorade.

Ingredients and Nutrients in Gatorade

Your favourite sports drink, Gatorade, has a water base, along with the following ingredients: 

  1. Salt
  2. Sugar
  3. Citric acid
  4. Sodium citrate
  5. Dextrose
  1. Monopotassium Phosphate
  2. Glycerol Ester Of Rosin
  3. Gum Arabic
  4. Natural flavouring agent

Every bottle of Gatorade Thirst Quencher contains 140 calories. It is a carb-rich drink with 36 grams of carbohydrates in each bottle, along with 270 mg of sodium and 75 mg of potassium. Altogether, Gatorade can energize you almost instantly after you drink it. 

Gatorade Flavors

is gatorade gluten free
via Dan Gentile/Thrillist

The Original Gatorade Thirst Quencher comes in a variety of flavours. You can find some classic fruit flavours like Green Apple, Grape, Melon, Orange, Strawberry, Tangerine, and Tropical Mango.

You can also find variants with refreshing mixes of two or more fruits, like the Lime Cucumber, Strawberry Lemonade, Strawberry Watermelon, Watermelon Citrus, and, of course, Fruit Punch. 

Other popular choices are Lemon Lime and Citrus Cooler. Don’t miss the deliciously refreshing Arctic Blitz, Blue Cherry, Cool Blue, Fruit Punch Berry, Glacier Cherry, and Glacier Freeze.

All of these flavours come from natural ingredients. That means you have another reason to call this a healthy beverage!

Homemade Gatorade Drink Recipes

Still not satisfied with all the Gatorade flavours? Well, there’s always the chance to stir up a fancy mocktail, with Gatorade as the main ingredient! Let’s take a look at some delicious mocktail recipes with Gatorade as the base!

a) Strawberry-Lemon Energizer

This is a refreshing and simple drink to get you energized in no time!

Ingredients:

  1. Gatorade (Strawberry) – 24 ounces 
  2. Lemon – ½ (Juiced)
  3. Ice cubes (Optional)
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Instructions: 

  1. In a mason jar, add all the ingredients and stir well. 

That’s it! Your drink is ready, and you can sip on to it on the go! 

b) Gatorade Margarita

This is a classic favourite – with the Gatorade twist. Check it out! 

Ingredients:

  1. Sanding sugar (Blue) – ¼ cup
  2. Kosher salt – ¼ cup
  3. Gatorade (Cool Blue) – 20 ounce
  4. Limeade concentrate – 1 cup (thawed) 
  5. Tequila – 1 cup
  6. Blue curacao – ⅓ cup
  7. Orange slices – To garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a pitcher, add the Gatorade, limeade concentrate, blue curacao, and tequila. Stir well.
  2. In a dish, mix the sugar and the salt together. 
  3. Take 4-6 glasses and wet their rims. Dip them in the mixture of sugar and salt so that their rims are coated in this mixture. 
  4. Fill the glasses with ice. 
  5. Now, pour your margarita into the glasses. 
  6. Garnish with orange slices.     

Your drink is ready. Enjoy the unique kick of the alcohol-and-energy drink mix!

c) Independence Punch Mocktail

This pretty mocktail can be a hit at any party. Just leave it in a glass dispenser, and watch it vanish!

Ingredients:

  1. Ice Cubes
  2. Diet 7UP
  3. Gatorade Frost
  4. Cranberry Juice

Instructions:

  1. Take equal parts of cranberry juice, Gatorade, and Diet 7UP. 
  2. Add the ice cubes in a glass dispenser.  
  3. Now, pour the cranberry juice over the ice. 
  4. Next, gently pour the Gatorade on the ice to ensure that you create a distinct blue layer on top of the red layer of cranberry juice. Avoid pouring the Gatorade into the cranberry juice directly to prevent mixing.   
  5. Then, pour the Diet 7UP into the jar following the same method you did for the Gatorade. 

At the time of selecting the cranberry juice, ensure that it has a high level of sugar, making it dense. Because of the varying levels of sugar in the three types of drinks, the denser ones will settle at the bottom, creating three beautiful layers of separate colors.

d) Blue Hawaii Mocktail

This drink is packed with the deliciousness of fruits. You won’t regret trying this one! 

Ingredients:

  1. Ice cubes
  2. Pineapple juice – 1 cup
  3. Limeade – 1 cup 
  4. Gatorade (Blue) – 1 cup 
  5. Maraschino cherries – 2 (optional, for garnishing)
  6. Pineapple slices – 2 (optional, for garnishing)

Instructions:

  1. Take two glasses and fill them with the ice cubes. 
  2. Add half a cup of Gatorade in each glass.
  3. Similarly, add half a cup of the limeade into each glass. Carefully pour it on the ice instead of the Gatorade. It’s a good idea to pour the limeade into the glass on the back of a spoon so that its impact is reduced and it doesn’t mix with the Gatorade. 
  4. Once again, gently pour half a cup of the pineapple juice into each glass.

It’s ready to serve. Interestingly, the end result is going to be a green drink! You can garnish each glass with cherries and pineapple slices.

Gatorade History

How much do you know about the world’s go-to energy drink? Gatorade was manufactured for the first time in the year 1965. Interestingly, it was developed at the University of Florida when the university coaches went to the science department, requesting a hydrating beverage. 

During the summer of 1965, the university’s assistant coach reached out to the physicians. He requested them to investigate why the players were regularly suffering from sickness and lethargy in the heat.

This led a team of four scientists, H. James Free, Dana Shires, Alejandro de Quesada, and Robert Cade, to discover two elements responsible for this condition.  

They realized that the heat was causing the players to sweat. And, as a result, they were losing electrolytes and body fluids, which were not getting replenished. In addition, there was no replacement of the carbohydrates being burnt by their bodies for energy. 

After the discovery, the team of scientists went on to create a drink rich in carbs and electrolytes, to replace the nutrients that the athletes were losing. Thus, the Gatorade came into being.

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Here’s a bit of trivia for you; its name is inspired by the varsity football team, Florida Gators! The product helped the team win back-to-back games, including the 1966 Orange Bowl. 

Currently, PepsiCo is responsible for manufacturing and distributing this beverage. It is available in over 80 nations. In fact, Gatorade generates the fourth highest annual sales for PepsiCo.

Gatorade is also responsible for 75% of the market share of America in the category of sports drinks.  

Over 70 Div-I college teams, participating in interuniversity games, use Gatorade as their primary sports drink. It is also the official beverage of major tournaments in the US, including Major League Baseball and Soccer, NBA, and PGA. 

Other Gluten Free Gatorade Products

Besides the Original Gatorade Thirst Quencher, this brand also manufactures a number of other products, many of which are free from gluten ingredients.

The most talked-about product by Gatorade, after the Thirst Quencher, is the Endurance Formula, which was launched in 2005. It has much higher levels of sodium, and other electrolytes lost with sweat. 

Other products by Gatorade include protein shakes and powder, as well as energy bars and chews. Most of these are also made using gluten free ingredients, except for a few flavours of the products.

Needless to say, you need to look at the labels of the Gatorade products at the time of purchase. This should actually become a common habit for you if you’re gluten intolerant.

Gluten Free Alternatives of Gatorade

Gatorade totally dominates the world of energy drinks for athletes. There’s no denying that. But, there are other brands of sports drink, as well, which you can try. Check out the best gluten free alternatives of Gatorade:

  1. Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Drink Mix: This electrolyte supplement comes in a powdered form. You get five fruity flavours, including a matcha green tea and lemon variant. And, it’s labelled gluten free. 
  2. BodyArmor: It has energy drinks in three different forms. And all of them are labelled gluten free. They are available in various flavours. Most of the products of BodyArmor have a coconut water base.
  3. Nuun Electrolyte Water Enhancer: This gluten free energy drink comes in the form of tablets to be mixed with water. They are super-easy to carry around, and you find them in many delicious flavours.   
  4. Powerade: A product of the Coca-Cola Co., Powerade, in the US, is labelled as a gluten free drink, with less than 20 ppm of gluten content. In Canada, Berry Blitz is the only no-gluten flavour of Powerade.

It is best to test these drinks in small amounts to check if they are all a perfect match for you. There are many other energy drinks made from non-gluten ingredients, like Gatorade.

These include Accelerade, Propel Electrolyte Water, R.W. Knudsen, and G2, another product by PepsiCo. However, these, too, are not tested to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.  

Conclusion

So, now you know that Gatorade is made from gluten free ingredients. However, it is not possible to say, with surety, that the beverage does not contain traces of gluten because of possible cross-contamination.

The products in this beverage line do not go through any test to prove that they have less than 20 ppm of gluten in them. 

So, if you enjoy an occasional sip of Gatorade, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor first. You can also try to test it by consuming a small amount to see how your body reacts to it.

If they trigger allergic reactions, then it is best to shift to other gluten free energy drinks available in the market. 

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.

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