There seems to be some debate about whether or not gatorade sports drinks are gluten-free. Gatorade thirst quenchers are not made with gluten-derived ingredients, but of course the answer to whether or not gatorade is actually gluten-free is a little ambiguous.
There are a lot of folks in Facebook groups that are adamantly convinced that gatorade contains gluten, others say they drink it without issues.
I am not sure if there ever was a time when gatorade was actually made with gluten, but as of today, gatorade sports drinks are not made with any gluten-derived ingredients.
So why the debate? Why are so many people utterly convinced that gatorade is made with gluten?
Ingredients in Gatorade
Best I can tell, the debate stems from one particular ingredient. Here's what I found in Gatorade Thirst Quencher - Fruit Punch Flavor, which is similar to the ingredients in other flavors as well:
WATER, SUGAR, DEXTROSE, CITRIC ACID, SALT, SODIUM CITRATE, MONOPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, NATURAL FLAVOR, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, RED 40, CARAMEL COLOR
That modified food starch is probably the main ingredient causing trouble here but rest assured, gatorade states none of these ingredients are derived from wheat.
So does that mean gatorade is safe to drink?
Not Made with Gluten Containing Ingredients
While gatorade is not made with any gluten-derived or gluten-containing ingredients, the makers of gatorade do not verify that their products are gluten-free, which is why they are not labeled gluten-free.
Here's what the makers of Gatorade have to say about it:
"None of the ingredients in Gatorade ready-to-drink, Gatorade mix (bulk and sticks), G2 products, Recover Protein Shakes, Recover Protein Powders, Prime Energy Chews, and Gatorade Endurance products are derived from grains or flours that have been linked to gluten sensitivity.
While these products are not formulated using gluten-containing ingredients, they have NOT been tested to be gluten-free. There is a possibility the ingredients were exposed to/stored next to gluten-containing foods during processing."
Safe or Not
While Gatorade might be okay for someone with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity to drink, the above statement from gatorade does give some people pause.
Certainly, you don't have to consume only products specifically labeled gluten-free, but the ambiguous nature of statements like this is frustrating.
Ultimately, even though there are no gluten-containing ingredients, there is still no way of knowing just how much gluten could be in any given bottle of Gatorade because the company is not validating the products. According to their statement, if you drink gatorade you are assuming some potential risk for gluten consumption.
Just how much risk? Unfortunately, no one really knows for sure. This could just be Gatorade covering their liability all the while knowing the potential risk for cross-contact is low. Or the risk could actually be quite prevalent and you really should take that into consideration. We just don't know!
Would I love it if gatorade were labeled gluten-free? Yes, that would be great! Unfortunately, gatorade does not seem interested in pursuing that option. So for now the choice is one you'll have to make.
Is 'no gluten ingredients' good enough for you? Or will you seek out other gluten-free thirst quenching alternatives?
Gluten-Free Performance Drinks
If you have decided to steer clear of Gatorade, here are some alternatives that are labeled gluten-free:
- Vital Proteins Vital Performance Recover Drink
- BODYARMOR Sports Drink Sports Beverage
- PacificHealth Accelerade All Natural Sport Hydration Drink Mix
- Vita Coco Coconut Water
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is the personal opinion of the author and is not medical or nutritional advice. Please consult a doctor or medical professional before making changes to your diet or regarding any health related decisions. Ingredient information was accurate at the time of posting but should always be verified by the consumer by checking the product ingredient label for the most up to date information.